“Tom I wanted to stop you really quick,” Alex Mathers— one of the best (and most creative) writers on Medium — said.
“I read your introvert article yesterday, and I wanted to tell you that I’m an INFJ as well.”
In an instant, a slew of lock combinations in my mind simultaneously busted open.
Just last year I met a fellow HuffPo contributor who was an INFJ. She reached out over Twitter (such an INFJ thing to do).
When I wrote my article about introverts the other day, I had a ton of people commenting saying that they, too, are INFJ’s.
Heck, even J.K. Rowling is an INFJ.
WHAT IS IT WITH US?
To research my theory further — that many INFJ’s and P’s are drawn to being writers — I went to the internet.
Popular INFJ Writers
According to Book Riot, a couple popular INFJ + INFP writers are:
Plato, Mary Wollstonecraft, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dante Alighieri, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Agatha Christie, Charlotte Brontë, J.K. Rowling, Carl Jung, and Leo Tolstoy.
Popular INFP Writers
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Albert Camus, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, Virginia Woolf, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, A.A. Milne, Franz Kafka, Edgar Allan Poe, John Milton, William Blake, Hans Christian Anderson, William Shakespeare, Homer, and George R.R. Martin.
Why Do We Like Writing?
With my theory (somewhat) proven, I‘m now ready to take to Medium and think out loud for a couple minutes as to why this phenomenon happens.
Let’s dive right in, going through each letter in the INFJ + P personality type..
“I” - Intoverted | We Like Staying Inside
It seems that introverts in general make for great writers (duh, we just want to sit inside with our computers all day anyway #screwsociety).
Extroverts like to be around people, hence sitting in front of a computer for hours on end probably doesn’t sound like the most fulfilling activity.
Conversely, introverts don’t take to external stimuli all that well.
Translation: We burn out more easily when we interact with the world.
It’s through sitting back and reflecting on what we see that we recharge, and I think that’s what really makes introverts good writing candidates.
“N” — Intuitive | We Like Thinking About Ideas
While the other three variables (IFJ + P) in the Myers-Briggs test focus on how we interact with the world around us, the second spot focuses on how we see the world.
Those with the intuitive trait are visionaries. We focus much more on the ideas behind things, not what’s right in front of us.
The “O” people (Observers) do not. They simply focus on what’s right in front of them, and are more interested in facts, etc.
While Observers can make good writers, those with the intuitive trait are already wrestling with some of life’s biggest issues. That’s what the best writers do.
That’s how J.K. Rowling came up with Harry Potter — an epic story about growing up, friendship, love, and death.
It seems the “N” trait holders of the world are like Ferraris on the page, just waiting to be let loose so they can spill their thoughts for hours on end.
To put it another way, there’s a lot going on in our heads. We need to get it all out on paper.
In conclusion, many Intuitive types might feel a certain “detachment” from the world — as if it will never understand what they’re truly feeling. What better way to feel heard than to write about it?
“F” — Feeling | We Like Telling People How We Feel
GUYS, this is the most important part of this article. No other section of the Myers-Briggs scale influences whether someone will be a writer more than this.
In short, “Feelers” want to spill their guts onto a page. They aren’t afraid to be open and honest about what’s going on inside them.
On the other hand, “Thinkers,” are much more reserved and don’t show their feelings so easily.
Both sides of the spectrum feel things just as much, but one is just more open with showing other people than the other. That’s why us “Feelers” are so ready to let everyone know what’s going on inside.
“J” and “P” — Judging vs. Prospecting
This last section doesn’t really have that much to do with writing. That’s why so many great writers are either INFJ or INFP.
People with the J trait try to plan everything. They value contingency plans and checklists.
Those with the P trait like to have things open and flexible. They want to consider all the options, and aren’t so quick to jump at a specific schedule.
If anything, those with the J trait are going to have their butt in the chair for a specified amount of time AT a specified time, while those with the P trait will have their butt in the chair too, but they just don’t need to know when.
Why We Choose To Be Writers
Let’s put our research together, shall we?
The “INF” of our personalities do so much to draw us to writing, but no two traits are more important than the “NF.”
We’re bursting with ideas and love thinking about abstract concepts. We don’t always live in the present, either. Instead our minds are way off into oblivion, thinking about the ramifications of basically everything.
We love to think. If you’ve ever seen Doctor Strange, we’re kind of like those magicians that can hop from dimension to dimension. We are not on one level plane. We like to inhabit many, and with all of this ideological ammunition, we need to share it. What better way than writing?
Hence the “Feeling” trait. Because we have that, we’ve developed hairpin trigger fingers that allow us to spout off 3,000 words about our deepest darkest secrets and hit publish for the world to see.
Well, maybe not our deepest AND darkest secrets, but they’re still pretty heavy.
That’s what makes us such great writers. We love thinking, analyzing, and theorizing. We love sharing our thoughts equally as much.
And because we’re introverts, not extroverts, we’d much rather tell everyone our thoughts through the veil of the internet than a loud conversation amongst many different people.
Because then we might get harsh feedback, and that hurts our “Feeling” selves a little bit too much..