Friday, March 17, 2017

You Might Have Commitment Issues as a Writer If…

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Choosing to be a writer can be a daunting prospect. It involves courage, creativity, and yes, commitment. When we’re unwilling to make that commitment, we can destine ourselves to failure before we’ve had a chance to succeed.

This post isn’t meant to beat anyone up, but rather to make us aware of some of the things holding us back on our writing journey.

You Might Have Commitment Issues as a Writer If…
1. You’re unwilling to write on a schedule. Notice I didn’t say write every day or write every morning. There are some who other commitments in addition to writing that make scheduling a daily writing time unreasonable. HOWEVER, we can all make a commitment to certain times during the week to write.

2. You’re unwilling to spend time writing. This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how creative writers can be when it comes to thinking up reasons not to write. Beyond that, you’ll find writing groups and gathers populated with scores of people who want to be writers, but have reasons why they can’t right now. The truth is we all have reasons in our lives not to take the time to write. It all boils down to priorities. We make time for the things that are most important.

3. You’re unwilling to invest in learning how to write. Talent is great, but that alone won’t get any of us to the top, or even very far above the bottom. We have to learn how to apply the talent we’ve been given. That means reading books and blogs as well as attending classes and conferences.

4. You’re unwilling or defensive about being critiqued. I’m still not the best about enjoying a good critique, but I’ve learned how to accept it. I thank the person critiquing me, and even if I don’t agree, I look it over and try to take what I can from it. Especially with in-person critiques I’ve learned that being defensive and trying to explain or justify is counterproductive.

5. You’re unwilling to join a writers group. There are those in the industry who disagree with me, but not many. I’ve found that for me, and the hundreds of writers I’ve worked with, that we’re all stronger together. We need others to encourage us along the way. We also need the perspective of those who’ve experienced what we’re going through.

6. You’re refuse to spend time reading. Our business is that of writing. How can we have perspective on the industry if we refuse to read what’s being written? Books are a valuable way to learn and polish our own writing.

7. You’re unwilling to learn the business of writing. There’s more to writing than just putting words on paper. We need to learn the language of the publishing industry. We need to learn the etiquette of the publishing industry. We need to learn the marketing and social media side of the business, and how things work.

8. You’re unwilling to be patient. Writing is a craft. It’s not something learned overnight. We often come into this business with something we’ve written and expect it to be publishable. That’s just not reasonable. A concert pianist can’t expect to be performance-ready before his first lesson, and neither can a writer.

9. You’re unwilling to submit your work. Yes we want to write with excellence. We need to do the best we can right now, but not let perfectionism get in the way of submission. There are two truths in this industry we each need to embrace:
  • No matter how hard we try, we’ll never be perfect.
  • No matter how much we revise the piece we’re working on now, the next one will be better.

10. You think everything you write is publishable. There are going to be some things we write that just don’t fit the market—any market. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad. It could be the wrong time or place for such a piece. We need to know when to move on to the next thing.  

11. You’re unwilling to accept advice. I don’t think we should accept every single piece of advice we receive. Likewise though, I don’t think we should ignore every single piece of advice we receive. When someone

12. You’re unwilling to stop looking at yourself as the exception to the rule. There are certain ways that things are done or not done in the publishing industry. There are also exceptions to almost every single instance. But there’s a reason they’re called exceptions. It’s because those specific set of circumstances rarely happen that way. It’s fine to dream and hoped, but we also have to be diligent, disciplined and do our part to make our dreams come true.

13. You look at every other writer as competition. There is plenty of work to be done. Especially as believers who write, God has room for each of us. We need to celebrate the successes of one another, share what we’re learning, and never gloat when things go well.

I’m sure this list could go on and on and on. I’m at the end for me, but I’d love to hear what you’d add. Be sure to leave your thoughts in comments section below.

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

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5 comments:

  1. Great advice, Edie. I've been guilty of most of these at least once over the years. They have to be overcome if we're to have any success as writers and in any other endeavor God calls us to.
    Blessings.

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  2. A hearty amen to #2. I've stopped saying "I don't have time." It's a lie. I have time for what I find important. I had to take responsibility for my life and not cede control to the ambiguous "time." It's not a matter of "having time," it's priorities, like you said.

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  3. Thank you Edie for this list. Number 6 is one of my biggest pet peeves: just like you wouldn't trust a chef who does eat his/her own food, you would not trust a writer who doesn't read (and I met so many!).

    If I have to add something to this great list, it will be this: You are unwilling to keep writing despite the many rejections you receive.

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  4. None of these apply to me. Okay, I may be having some trouble with a couple of them lately. #1 and #2 might be plaguing me a little. ;O) It's easy for any of us to allow inflammation of the excuse gland to keep us from our appointed tasks. The cure is to quickly forgive ourselves and get back on task. Thanks, Edie, for reminding me I need to do what I'm called to do.

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