Every craft has its lessons, no matter how short-lived.
If you’re an INFP, there’s a good chance you love art. You love making things. You enjoy trying every new creative technique. But maybe you ask yourself, “Why can’t I stick with any of my creative hobbies?”
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the arts. Since I was a little girl, I gravitated toward hobbies that let me express myself. Drawing, painting, writing, jewelry-making, knitting, sewing — anything creative, I tried it.
But, most of these hobbies didn’t stick. I loved them, got really into them, and eventually my interest waned. I moved on to the next one.
This bugged me because I loved those hobbies. I just couldn’t seem to stay interested in them.
When I found out I’m an INFP, one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, things clicked. Other people like me are highly creative, passionate, thoughtful, and artistic. And as INFPs, we often struggle to keep those artistic passions going.
Why Do INFPs Struggle With Persistence?
We INFPs often run into this problem: we run from interest to interest, career to career, idea to idea. Why is it so hard for us to stick with anything? Lots of creative people, regardless of their personality type, feel this to some extent, but for us INFPs, it’s practically an epidemic.
There’s a reason we struggle. INFPs have two traits that cause this.
Our Introverted Feeling (Fi) pushes us to seek new emotions and interesting experiences. Due to Fi, we judge opportunities by the way they make us feel, not how practical they are.
Think about this: Your friend is going to a glass-blowing class. She shows you the brochure, and it looks amazing. Yet, the class costs a hundred bucks and happens on a Tuesday night when you’re supposed to hang with other friends.
But won’t it feel spectacular when you have beautiful glass-blown ornaments made by your own hands to show for it? Don’t you want to go for it? This is our Fi at play, judging things by how they make us feel.
There’s a second trait involved as well, our Extraverted Intuition (Ne). INFPs are so open to new ideas and possibilities because our Ne loves them.
Ne makes us want to go out and hunt for alternatives, second opinions, different perspectives. It keeps us searching for new solutions, methods, and routes.
The problem is: Ne often causes us to become dissatisfied with our choices. We see all the other things we could do, or we want to find out all the other things we could do. This perpetual hunt for alternatives makes it hard for us to stick with our choices.
So together, our Fi and Ne traits are what make us so adventurous. But they also lead us INFPs into chasing down new creative interests and leaving behind old ones.
How Can We Manage Our Creativity?
Managing the impulse to dart from craft to craft and medium to medium can be hard for the artistic INFP. But over the years, I’ve found some ways to fight my flighty instincts and channel them in positive ways.
Create a Schedule
Putting my hobbies on a schedule helps me to make my interest more steady and stable — and less impulsive and overwhelming.
Making yourself commit to a schedule will help you sustain interest, and ultimately, keep you coming back to your hobby. Pick a realistic, flexible, regular routine. For example, you could declare, “I will spend one hour composing poetry every week.” Make sure it’s a goal you can achieve and have fun with.
There are other ways of committing to an external schedule to give you the pressure you need to thrive. You could:
- Sign up for a weekly class so you can learn and practice
- Get a friend to join you regularly
- Attach it to another commitment — like composing your novel every day on your morning bus ride
- Post your recent accomplishments on a blog or social media so followers can keep you accountable
- Start a club around your hobby that meets frequently
Of course, you should never force a schedule on yourself if it doesn’t work for you, but signing up for commitments helps stabilize your interest and keeps you coming back for more.
Limit Your Investment
When I say limit your investment, I mean both emotionally and financially. As an INFP, I love flinging myself headlong into interests. Spending hours learning about a new interest and dedicating myself fully to it are both things I’m familiar with.
But investing all that passion up front makes it harder to sustain interest later. That’s why creating a schedule encourages me to take things slower. I pour all my energy out over a longer period.
It’s also a good idea to limit your investment financially.
I know the fun of going out and buying a whole new set of supplies — but throwing hundreds of dollars into a hobby you may not stick with sets you up for disappointment and regret later.
Dip your toes in slowly. Start with basic affordable equipment and upgrade as you learn what you’re doing and whether you want to make a big investment.
Give Yourself Permission to Walk Away and Come Back
The most important advice I can give you is to let yourself walk away. Don’t force yourself to stick around.
Once you’ve taken a break, you’ll very likely find your interest regrowing. A little distance will rekindle your curiosity. You’ll find it easier to re-cultivate your creativity.
Let your passions ebb and flow. Throw yourself into new hobbies and back into old ones. Try cycling interests. I often switch back and forth between mediums so I never grow restless, but continue advancing my skills.
Appreciate What You’ve Learned
After I lose interest in a hobby, I usually feel regret. I have a leftover stack of supplies I hide in my closet and feel guilty about. I’ll use those calligraphy pens again someday, right?
Sometimes I feel like the time I spent on my hobby was a waste or that I never should have bought so many tools and supplies I wouldn’t use. But I’ve learned to see the bright side as well. For all those interests, whether I’ve kept them or moved on, I’ve learned something. Skills, virtues, or just knowledge — there’s always a takeaway.
When I was a teen, jewelry making was my thing. Now, I haven’t made a bracelet in years. But I still own pliers, wire, jump rings, and more, and I use them frequently.
My experience with jewelry making taught me how to repair other jewelry, and that’s a skill I use all the time. I’ve fixed precious bangles of my own and those belonging to my friends and family.
That’s not the only thing I’ve gotten from my creative pursuits. Knitting brought me closer to my grandma, who knitted prolifically. Waiting for my watercolor paintings to dry taught me patience.
Every craft has its lessons, and learning those lessons and carrying them with you will make you stronger.
You may never make pottery again, but try to appreciate the careful touch it taught you. You don’t need to sew garments anymore to remember how to fix a button or a popped seam. And take the focus and persistence that your fling with embroidery gave you into everything you do.
INFP, I hope these tips give you some ideas to focus your creativity. And I hope all of us keep trying new things and discovering new wonders. Tell me, how do you keep the love of a new hobby alive? Do you have any tricks for sustaining interest in your art? Let me know in the comments!