Thursday, May 12, 2016

Become a Resilient Writer by Remembering These 15 Things

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

There is only one constant in the publishing industry—constant change.

As soon as we think we’ve hit on the formula for success, the variables shift and we’re back to square one. It can set us up for a life of frustration if we’re not ready for it. 

That’s what today’s post is about. I want you to have the tools and resources you need to set yourself up for success in an uncertain environment.

Remember these 15 Things
1. These sudden shifts are an opportunity, instead of a liability. For example, if the bottom drops out of the genre you’re writing with traditional publishers, look at the opportunities with smaller houses or self publishing.

2. We can use setbacks as a chance to deepen our knowledge of that particular subject. Early on in my career I had a Bible study rejected simply because I had no platform. I took that as an opportunity to earn to grow my online platform.

When faced with rejection, turn it upside down.
3. When faced with rejection, turn it upside down. When I first started as a freelance writer, I knew that if I received a certain number of rejections every month, then I get a certain number of acceptances. So I made my goal each month to reach a specific number of rejections.

4. Rejoice when others are successful. Sometimes that’s hard to do when things aren’t going our way, but when we can move past being resentful of another’s success, we’re able to cultivate contentment and resiliency.

5. We cannot give weight to those negative voices in our heads and survive. We say things to ourselves that we wouldn’t allow someone to say to our worst enemies. All writers have those negative whispers. The successful ones know to ignore them.

6. Promote others who write the same things as you. It sounds counterintuitive, but I’ve built my platform by promoting others ahead of myself.

Comparison is a deadly trap to be avoided at all costs.
7. Comparison is a deadly trap to be avoided at all costs. There are always going to be people ahead of us, behind us, and right beside us. We all have different gifts and God has a different—special—plan for us all. Comparison isn’t accurate and it can be deadly.

8. There truly is plenty of work to go around. We work for a big God and He has plans for this gift He’s given us.

9. Talent will often provide the push to begin writing, but it won’t fuel the journey. Talent is a wonderful thing, but it’s not a necessary thing. Persistence is what carries you through the tough times.

10. Never stop learning. This publishing thing we’re all doing is a journey. There isn’t an end destination. Every level we achieve just leads to another climb ahead. And those climbs can’t be done without additional knowledge.

We cannot do this alone. (This is my critique group. We
meet every week for several hours.)
11. We cannot do this alone. We all need friends and colleagues on this writing journey. They give us perspective, encouragement and the occasional kick-in-the-pants we all need.

12. Remember the WHY to get through the HOW. When difficult times come, it’s the why that will carry us through. Write down why you write. Post it above your desk and let it remind you why you’re here.

13. We’re not responsible for the results, only the work. We can’t guarantee ourselves publication at any particular time or with any particular company. What we can do is write with excellence. If we do that, publication will follow.  

14. We live in one of the best times ever to be a writer. It’s easy to look at all the changes and general chaos as nothing but negative. The truth is though, we can reach more people through our words than ever before. And anyone who wants to reach the world through words needs a writer to help them.

15. Prayer changes things. As Bob Hostetler and Lucinda Secrest McDowell have reminded us in previous posts, always pray before you write.

These are the things I’ve found that have made me a resilient writer. What would you add to the list? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


“Talent will often provide the push to begin writing, but it won’t fuel the journey” – @EdieMelson (Click toTweet)


  1. Great thoughts, Edie! My initial reaction when I read your title was to think, "Fifteen?! I have trouble remembering even a third that many. How will I ever remember fifteen?" But as I read the list, I realized that not all of them will be weaknesses for every writer. Some of us struggle with some but not with others. But even if we focused on only one or two of those points, it would revolutionize and revitalize our writing ministries. Thanks for sharing these.

  2. Edie, I love this reminder. Thanks so much. I needed these reminders. The ones that resignate with me the most are numbers 5 and 7. I constantly fight negativity from others, but also from myself. And the comparison thing, well, it's also on-going. You're right-it can be deadly and crippling. Thank you. Love you!

  3. Edie, thanks so much for showing how best to set ourselves up for success when things seem to change constantly. What I'm gravitating to the most right now is realizing I'm not responsible for the results, I'm responsible to do the work.

  4. You should have titled this "The 15 Commandments for Indie Writers." Great post.

  5. Number 15. It's so true, and I constantly have to remind myself to pray for inspiration and the right words before I write. Great post

  6. I agree with Carole McKee! Wonderful post, Edie. Pinned & shared. :)

  7. Excellent post, much thanks for reminding us authors!

  8. Great list, Edie! Thank you for your excellent advice for all of us!