Personality Cafe banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am very frustrated right now because I've just entered college and I am leaping into a college level English class on rhetoric and argument, and as expected I have to adjust to writing papers. However this isn't about that, this is about writing in general.

I noticed INFPs in particular, and in fact people in general, derive satisfaction from writing. If not the act of writing, they enjoy the product of thought. I on the other hand, have noticed that I derive no satisfaction at any point when I am writing. During the process I am a wreck because I have high standards for my writing and nothing I put down ever seems to properly describe my thoughts or more importantly someone else's thoughts, so I proceed at a painful grind. It takes me at least half again as long as any other person I know to write the same amount of material. After the process I feel like I have expelled something that I can only hope doesn't offend, and if I don't regret writing the entire thing, I regret the mishaps in flow and logic littered throughout it. Everything I write feels like rambling and something no one else would really want to read.

The worse part is that I feel completely alone. No one I have ever met seems to have the same problem, and I can't describe the feeling without devolving into a whirling pool of whine. I get told that I write very well, but I feel like I am absolutely terrible at it, whether I am writing for "pleasure" or for exercise. I have no idea how to get around it and I feel like I absolutely cannot write to the standards that I'll have to in order to succeed in college.

I do apologize because this is purely an exercise in narcissism. I just got back from talking to my best friend who couldn't help or relate and I wanted to cry. I realized that I haven't posted here in a while so hey, why not pop by and reinforce the stereotype of melodramatic INFPs at the same time! ...I'll probably apologize for this in earnest later.

(Also, how horrible is it that "alone" is considered too common a word for a tag.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
First of all, I noted your gender and your avatar, and then gave my computer a slight, firm nod on instinct. Good show.

I felt this way about my personal writing for a long time. I've always written my journals on index cards so I could throw them away afterwards. The same thing goes for songs, poems, anything that reveals a little bit of my soul as a writer. It all goes into the garbage can. I've also agonized over very simple literary analyses because I feel that I need to get exactly what the author was saying at it's most deep and wide and then communicate my thoughts precisely. Thirdly, I pain myself over argument-based writing, and never seem to think I have enough evidence to support my opinion.

I definitely second-guess myself when it comes to writing. I do this constantly. Perhaps my feelings are slightly different than yours, but the theme is the same. You are not alone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,347 Posts
Without question, even our best and brightest writers on here re-word sentences obsessively, scrap entire threads/posts/sheets of paper and start over (or give up entirely :p). A lot of it, but not all, relates to confidence.

Second, University-style writing is often about following some sort of format and thoroughly explaining what you mean (avoid being cryptic). Unfortunately for INFP writers, we can be either be incredibly vague, or just simply ramble. Wait till you see the inconsistency with grading as some teachers deeply appreciate how unique and diverse we can be (usually teachers in the Arts), while others are like "huh? F- !!! " Either way, it can be quite the challenge to figure out what writing style our professor prefers.

Since you just entered college, you may want to consider visiting your professor during office hours so he/she can get you up to speed as to what they are looking for in terms of writing. Mention the challenges of transitioning to University level writing (tons of people have this problem) and I imagine you'll get some pointers -- p.s. More-so though, I bet they'll hold a soft spot for you when they see your work in the future :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Hey, I relate to you. I've written over 500 pages of stuff (that is a start on 3 novellas and poetry) and I hate it all so much I can barely stand even going back to reread it, let alone finish it. It has to be perfect and convey whatever feeling it is I'm trying to conjur up properly.

I think about why this is quite often, and I think it is because when we think about what we would like to write in our mind there are certain emotions and feelings connected to what we are writing. In our head, it may sound like it is the right way of putting it but once it is down on paper it is kind of like the ownership or relation to the work has gone somewhere else. Eh, even this is hard for me to explain. Its the same thing with conversation. Something may sound right in our mind but as we speak those thoughts they end up being interpreted by other people and won't carry the same meaning. I hate bringing up something important just to have someone look at me confused.

Outside of personal writing, I worry so much over grammar, flow etc etc that it is a horrid experience too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Are you a perfectionist? If other people (including teachers) like your writing, then maybe you just need to relax a bit? There are many good writers who are never satisfied with their writing because of their own crazy standards.

On the other hand, it's possible that writing just isn't your thing. People have different ways of expressing their thoughts and feelings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
I don't have experience in college writing because my degree consisted on memorising vast amounts of information and very little critical thinking, so I haven't got a clue how to write essays at that level, but I can relate to how you feel about your writing.

I used to think that writing was sometimes like labour, you forgot how painful the whole process had been when you had your little baby on paper :tongue:.

Writing is supposed to come naturally to us, but it's sometimes hard work. I remember I sometimes used to get extra marks because even though I didn't fill in my exam papers with all the information that was expected for a top mark (I've never been able to be too thorough or remember too much detail) the writing was so good and clear the lecturers gave me extra marks. I bet it's the same with you, you are convinced your writing is rubbish because you have very high standards and to produce something good you have to sit down and put a lot of effort into it, but the results I bet are really good.

That internal voice that tells you.."oooh this whole paper is just a rambling, who would want to read this.." really needs to be put in the cupboard under the stairs!. Most of us have it, i can't tell you how to deal with it, only that perhaps it could make friends with my own voice and they could both piss off? :tongue:. A friend of mine told me the other day that I should hurry up and write a book and I immediately thought..no way, who would want to hear my ramblings!!.

Be more confident, you are good at it, believe in yourself, and if you don't enjoy the process, at least focus on the results. Think that when the pain is over you will have a little baby in your arms!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
460 Posts
I write only when I want to write. If someone tells me I have to write, it immediately makes the experience it less desirable and open to avoidance.

I hate being told what subject to write about and when to have written it by. I understand why I feel this way, and I'm working on it if only so that I can open myself up and write about a variety more things than I currently do (which is nothing because I haven't written in months).

In any case, when I feel like my creativity is lacking, my writing seems awful. I'm not too cryptic, but I am overly elaborate and even the most irrelevant points in whatever I'm writing tend to get excessive explanation which they don't need. When I'm not in the right mood, I find it very, very difficult to balance my exposition.

To be honest, I prefer the thinking to the actual writing. Or at least, this is what I've noticed recently. I really enjoy sitting and thinking about something. Typing it out, I don't feel the same way, but it's sometimes required to let my mind rest. When it becomes written, it's no longer jumping about in my mind because it's been "released".

Anyway, yeah. I wanted to be a writer a short while ago, and now I just want to think. If writing comes to me in the future, I am not opposed to it. I'm seeing where the wind takes me. I understand that this may not be a particularly good piece of advice because you are in school and in that sort of structured and routine environment and you can't really just "sit by" unless you don't mind grades going down. I've always hated that kind of environment, but I hope you can find a way to make it work for you.

All I can really say is that a lot of the above advice is very useful and I would echo a lot of what's been stated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
724 Posts
i went through the first couple of years of college churning out papers 20 minutes before class started. i almost always got a high grade, and generally some sort of comment scrawled on the top- exemplary! concise!

that was when i didn't care too much. it was also at a time in my life when i had a blog that i wrote in all the time. i've been trying to back that mass of (sometimes interesting) redundancy up, and so far it is a 278 page word document, it's only the first 16 months, and i'm only just recently nearing the 2/3 mark. reading back over it has been fascinating, though; i was so good at expressing things as they were. my words were what was happening/ what i was feeling/ what i was trying to express, and now when i write i feel as if my words are only describing whatever it is that i'm trying to say.

as others have said, breaking away from perfectionism is probably key here. i think that the best thing that you can do right now is attempt to put your thoughts about people not wanting to read what you write out of your mind. for school, just write at first- don't worry about trying to make it perfect; in fact, don't allow yourself to make any corrections until the second time around when you re-read your paper. sometimes that allow for more of a "flow" to develop.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PWarren

·
Registered
Joined
·
557 Posts
I have a love hate relationship with writing. When I'm writing for pleasure, I have to remember to play. Playing with the words and ideas is what makes it fun! Take risks! Be ok with making mistakes! I don't always enjoy writing, but when I most enjoy it it's because I'm letting myself go wild without judging. I love writing here. I love writing letters. I love journaling when I'm really excited about something.

As for college, I couldn't handle profs grading my writing. I chose a major that felt less personal, one in which writing is creating feature function matrices and coding websites.

One thing I've been doing that inspires my writing is reading wordsmith's word of the day. My vocabulary, especially very specific meanings can be a weakness of mine. Working on words as tools. This helps a lot!

And of course, read authors you love. It never fails that I pick up Virginia Woolf and am flooded with writing ideas. Right now I am obsessed by the idea that one needs to not be attached to outcome to truly use intuition. So, peppered throughout literature I find all these references to this need for detachment that I never noticed before because I wasn't reading with that on my mind. Mrs. Dalloway is filledwith references to this I found when rereading a bit of it recently. Rereading favorites can be wonderfully illuminating and inspire me to write.

Staring at a blank page with no ideas in my head is never fun. When I'm trying to write and don't feel inspiration, I may look up writing exercises and see if anything sparks me, but more likely, I do something else, something completely different and come back to it later.

My kids are into the band aid and the dog needs let out, so here is a sample of my unedited rambling :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,060 Posts
I used to write a lot and enjoy it but now, I feel like my writing style is so bad and some what amateur that I don't do it anymore. I have many ideas in my head that I would like to write but they never come out on paper like I want them too so I don't do it anymore. I just don't feel like it is up to the level that I want it to be, it sounds so childish to me and stuff that I can't bring myself to write and when I read again over stuff that I have written I feel so embarrassed for myself. I haven't re-read an essay in many years become of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Don't let it get you down, we've all been there. Part of it is our innate tendency to be perfectionists, especially when it comes to something that we care about. I doubt your writing is as bad as you say, but I also know how difficult it can be as an INFP to cut yourself some slack. Everyone has given some very nice suggestions so far, and I hope I can offer one more that might help you as well. For me the most important step with college writing (and writing in general) was to alter the way I viewed my written assignments. I realized that part of the issue was I expected myself to create and turn in a perfect finished product. This is what led to my frustration because nothing will ever be "perfect" for me. So I started to think of assignments in a different light. Instead of looking at the paper I turned in as the final product, I looked at it as another "draft" that I could come back to and keep working on. Don't think of your grade as the final marker of your ability, more like a note from your editor. I started writing papers with the intention of coming back to them and changing/re-writing them after I turned them in and got my grades. This took so much of the pressure off of me because my writing didn't need to be absolute perfection--it was only a step along the way. I think if you look at writing from this perspective it might reduce some of that pressure you feel and help with your anxiety over being "perfect" all the time. And remember that is how ALL writers accomplish their work. No one creates a masterpiece in one sitting; we have to let our work grow and evolve with us until we are satisfied. Elizabeth Bishop used to keep finished poems up on her wall for years at a time waiting to find one word that she was missing that would complete the piece. Sometimes we forget that because all we see is the finished product and we think we have to write at that level on our first try. Anyway, this approach was helpful for me, I hope it can help you too! Don't give up! You can do it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
569 Posts
I do understand what you're talking about, but I can only relate in terms of essay's or assignments for school. When i'm writing poetry, or even on personality cafe, the words just seem to flow out of my mind effortlessly, it's as if my feelings/thoughts are momentarily disconnected from my brain and I have gone on auto pilot. When I write for pleasure I don't worry whether it sounds good or not, I do it because once I write down my thoughts and feelings about something, I have gotten a huge burden off my chest. It's almost like I need to write in order to stay sane.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thank you all sincerely for your encouragement, advice, and understanding. I slept on it and read these first thing in the morning, and I think I can give a good effort towards writing my paper now. I do envision other people writing great pieces on their first try and have never written a paper completely before giving in and refining it. I have a feeling that is holding me back and making my papers worse in the end.

I will try my hardest to silence that voice and write what I think first before polishing it, and treat it as a draft rather than a complete piece.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
Well, it doesn't count for -all- INFPs.
Most will say that music takes too much brain power but writing is ez-mode.
Quite the opposite for me, though. Maybe you'd like to do art? Comics? Graphic Designing? Etc

If you like writing, my advice would be just not caring about what you write at first, just free-write then edit what you want, and at the extreme, delete it and make a new one.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top