Wednesday, November 12, 2014

10 Things to Say to a Writer Who’s on the Ledge

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Writing often feels like a solitary pursuit. Truthfully, it’s the successful writers who know better than to try to go it alone. Writing in a vacuum is not a good idea—for a lot of reasons. It’s easy to lose perspective and either believe what you’re writing is perfect, or worse, that it’s junk. Having others who share the same struggles make us stronger.

Not to mention the fact that they can talk us down when we’re standing on a writing ledge. That’s what I want to share today.


10 Thing to Say to a Writer Who’s on the Ledge

1. Success has nothing to do with perfection. So often we try to make our writing perfect. It’s fine to shoot for excellence, but perfect is never going to happen. Quit beating yourself up for not reaching it.

Every writer's journey is different.
2. Every writer’s journey is different. Writers are masters a comparison. We try to judge our own worth by what others have or have not accomplished. We need to look within, not without when measuring our success.

3. Quit being so hard on yourself. We are our own worst critics. We allow the negative voices in our heads free reign. It’s time to replace those harsh words with kind ones.

4. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. All writers struggle with fear—fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of success. The key is to fight. Don’t give up, don’t give in.

5. Nothing lasts forever. This is even true for writers. There are good days, bad days, great days, and days when we want to give up. Remember that the ups and downs will happen, and this too shall pass.

6. It takes as long as it takes. So often we want success to be a part of a formula. The truth is, like I said on #2, every writer’s journey is different.

Sometimes you have to write through the junk
to get to the jewels.
7.  Sometimes you have to write through the junk to get to the jewels. We all want our writing path to be a continuous, unbroken line of improvement. The truth is far from that. There will be days, weeks, and even months where it’s more of a two steps forward and three steps back.

8. Failure is an option. More often than not it’s also the shortest path to success. Learn from your mistakes, isn’t just a cliché, it’s a truth. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail, learn what you can and keep moving forward.

9. Writing is a journey, not a destination. When we get started on the writing road, we mistake milestones for destinations. It’s easy to think there’ll be a time when we’ve arrived. Truthfully, that never happens. Each achievement is just a gateway to the next part of our writing journey.

10. Nobody writes a perfect first draft. The genius of writing comes in the rewriting. Don’t let a mediocre start keep you from finishing strong.

These are some of the things that my writing buddies have said to me when I was standing on a metaphorical ledge, about to jump. I’d love to know what you’d add to the list.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES


13 comments:

  1. This was very encouraging for me Edie. I've been working on my book for two years now. My life is very busy with full time work and family. But ...I love to write. It's just finding the concentrated time to invest in writing my book. A blog post is easier as it's shorter and I get feedback. But I do think a book takes time and I guess I'm afraid nobody will read it. I am on the ledge and I so appreciate what you wrote today.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debbie, I'm so glad this was encouraging! It's easy to beat ourselves up when our writing life doesn't look like anyone else's. Thanks so much for sharing your heart! Blessings, E

      Delete
  2. Since I'm way behind on my NaNoWrMo word count, I feel the ledge calling. Thanks for the encouragement!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, I scheduled several social media updates today with posts to encourage nanowrimo writers. I'm glad I was able to help. Blessings, E

      Delete
  3. Love this list! I will keep it and be sure to use it often...! I especially believe #7. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eva, thank you! BTW, I LOVE your blog and your tagline - writing from the intersection of oops, yikes, and awe is genius! (here's the link if you haven't read her blog: http://evanatiello.com) Blessings, E

      Delete
  4. Edie, I'm thankful for the times we've pulled each other from the ledge. :-) And Eva Natiello, I agree--your tagline is pure genius!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vonda, definitely too numerous to count. So cool the way gave us someone to walk with on this wiring journey! Hugs, E

      Delete
  5. Terrific post, Edie! I often feel I live most of my life on that ledge and many of your points hit on exactly why I'm out there. Thanks for the help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jerusha, I'm glad to help! Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

      Delete
  6. What a list, Edie! If I can get #3 under control, I think all the others will be manageable. I'm so hard on myself, I can't succeed at any of them. I need to set my expectations aside and listen to God. His voice is more gentle than the ones in my head.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sherry, we all struggle with #3. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

      Delete
  7. Great post and so true. This writing business is as much about perseverance as anything else. Persevering when you feel you're treading water both in your work and your career. Admitting the possibility of failure is a huge one. It enables us to release ego and let wisdom roll in

    ReplyDelete