If you’re like I was at the beginning of my career, you have huge dreams.
Maybe you secretly—or not so secretly—want to:
- Write a book and see it published
- Make a living doing what you love
- Communicate your worldview to the widest audience you can
Sadly, the bigger the dream, the greater your frustration when day after day passes without success.
Know what I mean?
How long have you put off your dream?
You can blame it on a lack of time or you can blame it on writer’s block.
But when it comes down to it, you know those aren’t real reasons.
They’re just excuses. And they don’t hold water.
Because you always find the time to do what you really want to do, don’t you?
You don’t miss your favorite TV shows and movies.
You go out with your friends.
You make it to that concert or party.
But when it comes time to sit at the keyboard and accomplish your real dream, fear, discouragement, and insecurity all too often creep in.
Each leads to procrastination, which keeps you from succeeding.
And when you do finally plant yourself in front of the computer monitor, that blankety-blank cursor just sits there daring you to put something, anything on the screen. In staccato time with its exasperating blink, it taunts, “You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good, baby, you’re no good. I’m gonna say it again…”
That’s when you say, “No, you don’t have to say it again,” and you quit.
But if you don’t find a way to soldier on, you’re going to have to live with something much more painful:
Wondering what might have been.
There has come a time during the writing of every one of my more than 185 published books—usually while slogging through the marathon of the middle—when I wanted nothing more than to quit.
But I’d never have forgiven myself.
So I’m not letting you quit either.
6 Alternatives to Giving Up
1—Tell your inner critic to take a hike.
You have no idea how good or bad your writing is until you find an expert who’ll tell you the truth. Then force yourself to listen, and don’t be defensive. You’re likely to be bad before you become good, as is true with any new skill.
Yes, writing is a skill. The more time you put into it, the better you’ll get. Study the craft, hone your editorial eye, read great writing to learn what makes it great. Then write! The best remedy for discouragement is action.
3—Avoid being so desperate to be discovered that you’re resistant to input.
For every story you read about an overnight success, there are 100,000 writers who earn their chops the old-fashioned way.
4—Develop a thick skin.
Every piece of published writing is a duet between an editor and a writer, not a solo. No one likes to be edited, but every writer enjoys being published. Lick your wounds in private, then make the changes the editor suggests and watch your sales grow. You don’t have to agree with every change, but you do have to learn to work together.
5—Recognize tightening as an opportunity, not a handicap.
So an editor has chopped your manuscript from 300 pages to 145. Rather than lamenting the loss, welcome the opportunity to write more tight scenes to make it even richer.
6—Keep your eye on the prize.
There’s a reason writing appeals to you. Don’t give up just because you’ve discovered it takes more time and effort than you expected. If it were easy, anyone could do it. The rewards are worth it.
When discouragement attacks, remember your purpose. Remember your passion. Remember the future you’ve dreamed of.
Welcome to the road less traveled.
Will you join me on the journey? Tell me what step you’ll take toward your dream this week.