On November 1, I tromped gleefully into the corn maze that is NaNoWriMo, equipped only with a romance beat sheet from Jami Gold.
Knocking out over 2000 words per day, I was having a blast. The characters sprang to life, the setting became more vivid in my mind, the backstory began to fill itself in, and even my prose came out fairly tight and neat. I enjoyed diving into the motivations and thought processes of the main characters.
Then, in true introvert overthinking fashion, I started to wonder why things were going so well. Did being an INFJ in the Myers-Briggs personality type system contribute to my insights into my characters? (Short answer: Yes.) Reading up on INFJs started a chain reaction of insights that did not help the short-term progress on my novel, but contributed enormously to my long-term personal growth. And personal growth, for me, really is the highest and noblest purpose of NaNoWriMo.
Five days into the maze of words I’d mapped out for myself, clicking through articles on INFJs was like being distracted by the same misdirections, multiple choices, dead-ends and mud that plague real-life corn maze explorers.
Reaching a dead-end in a corn maze can be fun: there might be a viewing platform, a sign with a joke on it, or a moment of quietude among the vegetation. I understood why a recent interaction with someone bothered me so much; I found a more workable approach to building trust; and I decided to reconsider a connection with a former date.
All of these developments will contribute to better, more authentic relationships with others…just as the characters in my novel are striving for better quality connections themselves.
Seven days in, it’s time to put an X on this part of the corn maze and find my way back to the main path. Word count: 16,269. Everything I want to review about INFJs will still be there after I make my way to the exit.