Why do most writers fail?
Well, consider yourself as a writer for a moment and recollect those times when things were tough.
In such instances, it was your limiting beliefs that were holding you back from success, as they do for any writer.
Writing is very much a head craft, and like all such skills, it can be very easy for you to feel weighed down by your own limiting thoughts and forget that moving forward doesn’t come naturally.
But by zeroing in on your limiting beliefs and reframing how you view your writing journey, you’ll be much more equipped to conquer your obstacles, and you’ll be leagues ahead of all of those would-be writers who are still limiting their own great achievements.
Below are 21 unhelpful beliefs that help answer the ‘why do most writers fail?’ question, and which could be holding you back from true success as a writer, along with some tips on how you can deal with them.
1. I don’t know how to write.
If you know how to read and you know how to speak, then you know how to put words on a page, and that’s Step One when it comes to writing, but improving often starts with building up your understanding of the fundamentals. Read material similar to the type of writing you’ll be doing and keep a list of what you like about it. Once you begin to determine what about the writing speaks to your interest and personal goals, you’ll be better equipped to practice and master those techniques in your own writing.
2. My writing is terrible.
Writing is a skill, and just like any skill, it takes practice to get better at it. It can help to have other people read it—maybe some friends or family members or fellow writers. Ask them what was unclear. Ask them where they need more information. Feedback helps you understand what areas to work on, and once you have those goals in mind, you can move forward.
3. My grammar’s bad.
Even the best writers use word processors to act as their personal line editors. There are also programmes like Grammarly you can install on your internet browser that will quietly alert you to potential grammar errors as you type. At the end of the day, though, these are just tools to help you with something you are just going to have to improve on your own. Critical reading is a great way to improve your writing composition, and studying the makeup of works in your chosen medium is always a good idea. You will find that when it comes down to it, good writing uses a combination of standard writing conventions and personal style.
4. Only creative people write; I’m not creative enough to do it.
People tend to think of writers as sleep-deprived, incisive geniuses barricaded in their offices and cranking out pages and pages of wizarding adventures, epic power battles, or angst-ridden vampire stories. These are only a fraction of the world’s writers. All kinds of people write. Good writers aren’t born, they’re made—through practice, and they contribute to every aspect of our society, from technical reports to social media updates. Once you invest in developing the skill of assembling words and sentences, that skill can be applied to the expression of just about any form of rhetoric you can imagine.
5. I’ve had enough criticism to tell me this is not for me.
This is just one of many excuses that conveniently exempt a writer from writing. There will always be critics. The best writers in the business accept it and find a way to be happy with the work they produce. Criticisms have tremendous power to show you weaknesses in your work you weren’t aware of before, which can help you improve by leaps and bounds. Once you know the right areas to target, you can chart the best path forward to strengthening your writing.
6. I have nothing interesting to say.
You have a perspective. And what’s more, you have a perspective that no one else has, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Until you know for sure there is a person out there to match you in every aspect, this limiting belief is moot. There will always be something new or different you can add on a topic: the trick is discovering what those topics are.
7. I have too many ideas.
The best way to get yourself out of this rut is to narrow down those ideas into something manageable that you can say things about. Think about the goals for your piece of writing and determine which of your many ideas can best help you achieve those goals. From there, picking an idea becomes a question of relevance and personal preference; the more unique ideas will likely hold the most promise for a unique and compelling piece of work. But don’t ever throw out your extra ideas! Recycle them for later use or share them with your fellow writers.
8. I can’t think of anything to say on the subject.
If you’re stuck trying to come up with an angle for a subject, the best idea may be to change the subject. This doesn’t have to require switching topics entirely, so it can still be possible to arrive at a successful piece of work that addresses the thing you want to address. But exploring subject areas that are related but not identical can open you up to exploring new perspectives, and thus help you tease out what you have to say about an idea.
9. I don’t have interesting enough experiences to write.
Famed short story author Flannery O’Connor said, “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.” Regardless of the kinds of experiences you have behind you, and regardless of whether or not you think they’re dramatic or eventful enough to pull from, there is a story in each of them. And as a writer it’s up to you to find that story and make it work for you. No one else can access your experience better than you can.
10. I don’t know enough on the subject to write about it.
Few writers do! If you don’t feel like you know enough to write about something, there’s only one way to change that: research it. If you feel overwhelmed about the prospect, however, it could be that you’ve just selected the wrong subject to write about. Part of being a good writer is weighing your resources—time included—and determining which of those you can afford to spend on what. Don’t make more work for yourself than you need to.
11. Writing requires inspiration.
Consider the following Faulkner quote: “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.” You’re short-changing the writing skill if you limit it as only practicable when visited by an inspirational phenomenon. If you want to write well, you have to go looking for those avenues of inspiration that make your ideas bloom. Writing can be inspired by a number of things: research, opinions, reactions, explanations, description, discovery—you just have to go out and find what it is that brings those words to mind.
12. No one will want to read it.
To become your best self in the writing world, you can’t only write for others. Write to fill a need. Write to prove a point. Write to satisfy your own desire to yell into the void, but don’t spend too much of your writing time trying to decide what your readers want; that’s for them to decide. The best you can do is to produce your finest work and place it in front of them.
13. It will never be published anyway.
Having a goal to be published is not a bad goal, but it should not be what drives your writing forward. Be it passion, determination, or professional compulsion, find other fuel to drive your writing forward, because if you’re constantly worried about getting published, your writing will fold before your very eyes. Let your goals be oriented towards completing and polishing a solid, well-written piece of work. The other steps will follow.
14. The world doesn’t need more writers.
The world could always use more writers! If you let yourself be limited by who else is out there or what they’re up to, your writing will never be able to get off the ground the way it should. There isn’t another writer in the world who’s exactly like you. Therefore, there is always room for you to become a writer and feed your words to the masses.
15. So many writers fail.
So many writers succeed. And so many of those writers who fail succeed later on. Fear of failing is such an easy trap to fall into, but just imagine how many writers’ famous works were preceded by unknown pieces that flopped. You have to be willing to commit to your writing. Otherwise you can’t really expect it to reward you in spades.
16. I can’t compete with the better writers out there.
Not everything is a competition you have to win outright. Remember, the most basic step to becoming a better writer is practice. Chances are most advanced writers were once at your level. If you must compete, compete against your own past works and challenge yourself to produce better and better work.
17. I don’t need to edit my work.
Everyone needs to edit their work, because no one, not even the best writers in the business, gets it right the first time. Each time you revisit your work you have the potential to see it from a different angle and edit it accordingly. Writing knowing that you’ll be revisiting the work sometime in the future frees you up to write without worrying too much about what you’re getting wrong, allowing your first draft to be a true creativity draft that simply lays out your ideas. Good writers use their first several tries to get it out and their last several revisions to get it right.
18. It’s finished; there’s no more editing to be done.
Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” The same is true for writing. Eventually you reach a point where you believe your piece is good enough to share, but it’s probably safe to assume there might always be something that could still be improved. Viewing your writing as an ever-evolving work in progress every step of the way will drive you to strive for the best product you can possibly produce.
19. An editor will work out all the kinks in my manuscript.
You need to be your writing’s greatest proponent, its fiercest defender, and biggest fan. That means that by the time it reaches your editor’s desk, it needs to be as flawless as you can make it. Your editor’s job is to offer a new perspective and suggest new improvements you yourself might not have seen, but for your editor to do their job and for the two of you to produce the best piece possible, he or she needs to receive your best work.
20. I don’t have the time to write every day.
How successful you are in writing is almost completely up to you. Very few people actually have a convenient period of time prepped and ready to be filled with writing practice, but if you truly want to be the best writer you can be, you will need to carve out the time. That may require giving up pieces of other things, or perhaps whole activities all together. But just like any skill, those that put more into it will get more out of it. If you really feel strapped, perhaps try writing first thing in the morning. Even five minutes a day can help to train your brain to get into the writing attitude on a daily basis. It will open you up to thinking more creatively, will help you formulate and articulate ideas better, and may even yield some of your most influential material.
21. Writing doesn’t pay enough.
Ask yourself why you’re writing. If you have hopes of becoming a better writer, it’s likely not just about the pay check. Focus on improving your skills. As you do so, your writing will have greater and greater earning potentials. In the mean time, let your enthusiasm for writing be the thing that propels you forward.
Image credit: Pixabay[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]