Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sometimes It's Alright To Be A Quitter

If you've been looking over what you did, or didn't do, in your writing world this past year, you might be feeling a little bit down.

Some questions you are asking yourself could be:  Why the heck didn't more of my stuff sell? Why is my rejection pile so much higher than the acceptance stack? Why don't I have more readers for my blog? Why do my contest submissions seldom place? Why do I continue writing?

Instead of giving up, let's take a look at today's poster, one by one. The poster urges us to quit these five things. And to do it 'right now!'

1.  Trying to please everyone:  Our hearts want to please all but our heads know this is an impossibility. There is no way we can reach all people in a completely positive way. Writers have opinions and they come through in our stories, essays and poems. Not all people are going to agree with you opinion. So be it. Of course, there are those who do not agree and are completely rude about it. Feel sorry for them, then move on. Instead of pleasing all readers, make sure what you write pleases you.

2.  Fearing change:  It's a human failing to fear change. It's so much easier to stay in our comfort zone. It's a warm, cozy nest of our own making and we like it. Make an effort to try something different, to change your method of some phase of your writing. You could be surprised that it is actually an okay thing, that you've learned something new. We grow as writers when we make some changes and try new things.

3.  Living in the past:  Older writers are probably the guilty ones here. I have done it this way for decades and it works for me. Maybe so, but perhaps you can also learn new ways to please new and younger readers. The past is comfortable, the future (or changing your ways) is rather scary at times. We've been in the 21st century for a full sixteen years now. Make sure you're in it.

4.  Putting yourself down:  Of all people, writers are ones who must build themselves up, not put themselves down. A writer has to sell him/herself to editors and to readers. Toot your own horn; don't tell others why you are not such a good writer. The more you put yourself down to others, the more you've going to believe it yourself. We try to encourage our writer friends and that's fine. Now, it's time to encourage yourself. Give yourself a pep talk every day.

5.  Overthinking:  Maybe we spend too much time doing this when we should go with our gut feeling or first thoughts. Especially on a first draft. Let the words flow and do the thinking part when you start revising and editing what you've written. We can dig ourselves into a hole if we 'overthink' a simple situation.

These five things cannot be changed overnight. Work on them a little at a time. Maybe choose one of the five and work on it for a month, then try another. Trying to do it all at once can be pretty overwhelming and then we might throw up our hands and use that awful word again--quit!

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