Writing is not for the faint of heart. It takes hard work, dedication, a thick skin, and perseverance. Submitting that first piece of work is like standing naked on the stage of American Idol for all the world to judge.
We know, intellectually, constructive criticism and rejection will be part of the creative writing process, yet we are often unprepared. In addition, juggling everyday responsibilities and establishing a solid writing schedule amid time constraints can lead to disorganization, resulting in sabotaging the very success as writers we seek.
Sabotaging ourselves is easy. With its many disguises, it insidiously creeps up in the form of revisions, platform building, tutorials, tally counting, and discouragement, to name a few.
If you have ever found yourself doing any of the following, you might be sabotaging your writing success and perhaps it’s time to reevaluate.
- Obsessing over a story or chapter–Revising to the point you can’t seem to move forward.
- Obsessing over a rejection or critique–Taking it personally rather than learning from the experience
- Obsessing over another’s numbers – Number of stories or novels published; the number of Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest followers they have compared to you. As a result, you spend more time on social network sites than writing.
- Obsessing over learning rather than doing – Reading or attending every how-to-write-the –best-novel book, class or seminar without ever translating the knowledge into a story or novel.
- Obsessing over time – Constant complaining over not enough time, schedule interruptions; lack of planning, no set schedule, timetable or goal.
- Obsessing over a blank page – Writer’s block or missing muse.
- Obsessing over the negative rather than the positive – Allowing discouragement, resentment, and anger to sap your creative energy.
Each one of us has chosen our path in life and defined our own success. However, to achieve our dreams and goals we must recognize the obstacles in our path, including the ones we often place ourselves.
Patterns of sabotage can lead to talented writers throwing their hands up in frustration or never seeing their dreams come to fruition. However, once recognized these patterns can be changed and success is but a keystroke away.
What do you think? Do writers sabotage themselves? Have you? I’d love to hear your comments.
“…Finally… never quit. That is all the secret of success. Never quit! Quitting, I like to believe, has not been a striking characteristic of our family, and it is not tolerated in our college.
If you can’t win the scholarship, fight it out to the end of the examination.
If you can’t win your race, at least finish—somewhere.
If your boat can’t win, at least keep pulling on your oar, even if your eye glazes and the taste of blood comes into your throat with every heave.
If you cannot make your five yards in football, keep bucking the line -never let up—if you can’t see, or hear, keep plugging ahead! Never quit! If you forget all else I have said, remember these two words, through all your life…”
John D. Swain novelist and screenwriter; The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood (Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University)