We writers have a lot of enemies. I’m sure you’ve met them in person many times over. They slowly sneak up on you and plant little seeds (Soul Suckers is what I call them) into your brain. Then, you go into a spiraling depression. Or you run into a cave or dig a hole in the ground. It may take you weeks or months to climb out of that dark, damp pit.
So, what am I talking about exactly? A writer’s enemy can come in many forms. Why do they exist? That’s like asking us why we breathe air. It’s really all part of life. What we writers must do is decide what path is best for us and if we should move on with our lives. Do we really want to hand over so much power to this dastardly fiend or fiends?
WHAT IS A WRITER’S WORST ENEMY AND WHAT ARE THEY?
1.) YOUR FEARS – Believe it or not folks, fear plays a huge role in shaping how we write. If you fear rejection, then you’ll never take risks in life. If you fear that your work’s not good enough, you may actually believe it. If you cannot defeat this enemy my friend, you probably shouldn’t be in this business. You could always try basket weaving…just saying.
2.) DOUBT & CONSTANT WORRYING – Second biggest enemy of all! If you’re having doubts about this career path, then maybe you shouldn’t do it. However, doubt happens often, more so than you think. You don’t lack the confidence in your work, so you’re always going back and forth, whether you shouldn’t write this scene or if your characters are not fully developed. You hate your word choice, your style, and your plot. Listen, if you don’t kick doubt in the butt you’ll never feel that you’re good enough.
3.) FRIENDS/FAMILY – Yes, I said the two big F words. In earlier posts, I’ve mentioned that friends/family can be supportive in your work and may be the glue that holds you together. However, that’s not always the case. Not everyone in your inner circle will be there for you. Some of them will in fact think you’re insane for going into this path. They will plant those Soul Sucking seeds into your brain and they will begin to grow the more you listen to them. A writer’s life is a lonely life. No one is going to understand your concept, plot, story, or your characters, except YOU! No one is going to have your back 100% of the time. In fact, most people will have your back for less than 1% while the other 99% is up to you encouraging yourself.
4.) PROCRASTINATION – You knew it was coming, didn’t you? Yes folks…this could’ve been in fact #1, seeing as this is the biggest problem with a lot of wannabe writers. But it’s still important! I’m guilty of this myself. Let’s face it. Writing isn’t always fun. I love to write, but it will always be a chore to do. Whoever said writing was exciting is either lying or just delusional. Really? Writing is exciting! How about editing? Hell no! We always make up excuses as to why we can’t write: we gotta walk the dog, gotta pay those bills, check those emails, talk to those friends we never hang out with, go out to the gym, and so on and so on. We always find time to do something else, besides what we’re supposed to be doing… which is to sit down and just write that best-selling manuscript from twenty years ago.
5.) OTHER WRITERS – Yep! Last one on the list is other writers. In a perfect society, we’d like to think that other writers would be willing to help and encourage us…but that’s not the world we live it. That’s not the case here. Getting feedback from other writers at a writer’s group is useless. Sometimes it’s best to just hire the damn editor and get it over with. But what about the saying that other writers can help in giving you good, positive feedback. Nope. I’m sorry, but other writers don’t really care about your manuscript. Keep telling them your story is gold and how you’ll sell millions of copies. They’ll just laugh right in your face. It’s a fact that many of these other writers want to make it big and have their book become the next bestseller.
What you should be focusing on is whether you like your book or not…whether your readers are going to understand the story and the character’s motives. Whether the plot is something worth telling. No other writer can tell you that. You need to tell yourself if this story is going to pay off or not. You’re the one writing it! Pride in your work is important. Just don’t be so deluded into thinking your story is going to be the next NY’s #1 bestseller’s list. I’ve been to many writers’ group/clubs before (online and offline), and I’ve never been so confused as to how to fix something. Most often constructive criticism is very mixed in groups. One writer will like this scene and another will not. Writers really aren’t readers, they’re writers. And they’re going to think like how writers would think. You’ll be so discouraged you won’t even want to finish that accursed book! So, just don’t go to other writers for help…but that’s just my opinion.
HOW DO YOU KICK THESE BAD BOYS DOWN?
- BELIEVE IN YOURSELF & YOUR DREAMS. If you don’t believe you’ll make it, you probably won’t. Easier said than done, right?
- STOP WORRYING ALL THE TIME. If you just tell yourself “I’m only human. No one’s going to be perfect” you should be fine.
- GO OUTSIDE & GET SOME FRESH AIR. You may need to just take a break. Take a stroll around the neighborhood and get some exercise. It’s a proven fact that writers who have poor health and don’t take care of themselves often suffer more from depression, including difficulties with writing (such as writer’s block).
- PUT HEADPHONES ON & TURN THAT MUSIC UP. Yes, listen to some of your favorite soundtracks while ignoring those people around you, who say you’ll never amount to anything. Just remember not to put the music too high now…your hearing is still precious.
- GET INSPIRATION FROM THOSE BEFORE YOU. Read up on some of your favorite classical authors in history and learn about their lives. A lot of them didn’t succeed the first time. Many of them were rejected so many times they lost count, but did they give up? No way! They wouldn’t be considered Greats of their Time if they didn’t have to struggle, now would they?