5 Things Writers Need to Let Go of in Order to Be Successful
Being a writer is not the easiest job in the world – but it’s also not the most difficult one either. Or, in any case, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Every job has its highs and lows, but when you write for a living, if you become so dissatisfied and discouraged that you are unable to make the words go, then you have a problem. No one will tell you to be at your work post at 9 AM, and no one will tell you to leave work at 5 PM and be done for the day. When you are a writer, you have to do this yourself, which means that you have to be your own boss. In addition, when you are writing for a living and have to find a way to make those words go (otherwise, you are not making a living), then you need to be your own personal motivator or life coach. The problem is if a writer is unable to achieve a state where they can write, nothing and no one will make them do it, not a boss and not a life coach. It appears that we are starting with the bad news – when you are a writer, you are on your own. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to be on your own, or that you have to deal with being a writer without help. For that reason, we have gathered some insights below which might help you move forward.
1. Having it easy
As previously mentioned, any job can be both easy and difficult. If you are waiting for the day when you will get up in the morning, go through your morning rituals, and have a day of pleasurable, easy writing, then we can save you some time and tell you that you will probably never get it – and if you do, it will not last. It’s just not possible. And if you go down to your local coffee shop and talk to the barista, he or she will probably share a certain amount of difficulties they face on a daily basis as well. Many writers stress over the fact that they don’t have it easy when they write, thinking that unless it’s easy as breathing, you are doing it wrong. What you are doing wrong is keeping that ideal image in your mind, waiting for that perfect writing day despite living through days of writing chaos. So, let that image go. Try to enjoy the chaos, laugh at the difficulties, the ironies, and try to remain calm and patient throughout. And remember that you need to reach your 5 o’clock too and be done for the day. Like any other job, it has working hours. Set your own hours and keep to them. It will help with remaining calm.
2. Direct results
So you have finally finished the first draft of your novel, story, or article. Now what? You realize that the rest of the process of publishing what you have written – be it via a publishing house, in a magazine, or online, is yet to come, which means that a certain amount of time will need to pass before anyone reads what you’ve written who isn’t a friend or a family member. Don’t fret. Learn how it’s done. There is plenty of information online that can help you with the process. There is also editing to be done. A myriad of other things too, especially if you are going to self-publish. Don’t be discouraged by the lack of momentary results – and momentary financial compensations. Another difficulty of being a writer is that you might sell the story months, even years after you’ve written it. Unless there are editors waiting at your door – and even then, you will wait. So be patient and learn what you have to do. Direct results are rare.
3. Perfect first draft – of anything and everything
Right, so you wrote the final word of your first draft on Monday and want it published by Tuesday. And hey, with the power of self-publishing e-books online, you can do it. Or if not on Tuesday, then within a week for sure. And you can do it – if your first draft is a masterpiece. Otherwise, it’s not recommended. Read through what you’ve written. It’s really tough to read through your own work without itching to edit it, but do your best. First, is it readable? Second, is it comprehensible? Third, is it enjoyable, entertaining, insightful, or interesting? No? Then go back and edit until you feel confident enough to at least share it with a friend or a family member. Perfection rarely occurs on the first try. You have to edit your work and work your craft until you don’t need to edit so much. Just tweak a little the details, improve the style, choose better words. Proofread. Just because your first draft is not perfect it doesn’t mean that you are not a writer, or that you’re bad at it. It just means that you have to work on it, and when you’re a writer, you will have to work on it throughout your career.
4. Getting discouraged by rejections
If you think that only writers and other artists have to worry about rejections, you’d be wrong. Every person can get rejected in the course of their jobs. Only in their case, rejection means getting fired, or not getting a job they had applied for. You should never allow yourself to stop writing or stop doing what you are doing because of a rejection. Give yourself time to think the situation through, or simply rest for a day. And then get back up on that horse (or in your case, the chair in front your computer) and start again. On the other hand, you need to remember that the world doesn’t owe you anything. It doesn’t owe you acceptance letters, nor does it owe you rejections. Both things happen because of an alchemy of reasons which you might never get to know. So when it happens, try to let it go and move forward. Procrastinating, feeling sorry for yourself and think how other people with other jobs have it easy will not get you anywhere, and it certainly won’t get you where you want to be.
5. Waiting for the perfect moment or situation
Are you waiting for that particular writers’ conference where that particular agent/editor/other important person will be present so that you can pitch your book? Are you waiting for that perfect moment in the day to start writing? Are you waiting for the perfect moment where you will do your job as a writer and feel magical while doing it? Then you’re wasting your time. Stop waiting. Look for the right agent all the time, not when they attend conferences. Send out submissions to every publishing house or a magazine that is viable to accept to read your work. Write every day, even if you are not writing at the same hour. Just keep moving forward and don’t wait for the perfect moment. If you want to be successful, you have to work towards your success, not wait to do things at the right moment, because the right moment might never come to pass.