October 13, 2017
This post was originally dubbed “10 Reasons You Won’t Achieve Your Writing Goals.” But, I wanted to get your attention so I changed it. Now that I have your attention, there are ten whopping reasons your writing may stink. And if it stinks, you won’t achieve your writing goals!
Confession: At some time in my long career, I also suffered from one or more of these. Truth? I’m sure I suffered from all ten in the past. I had to utilize the remedies here before I saw consistent writing success.
What are those 10 reasons?
- You won’t read. In fact, you rarely read newspapers, books, magazines, blogs (including those written by agents, or publishers), and other material related to writing, industry dynamics, your genre (i.e., writing for children, Christian fiction), etc. And, to you, a long social media post is akin to reading a Harry Potter-sized book. So, when people post to Facebook or other social media groups, you do one of two things, either you: 1) ignore anything that appears long, or 2) you skim through the post and don’t click on the related article link. Collectively, those sketchy reading habits are undermining your writing goals. You’re missing valuable information that can help you grow and thrive as a writer. Remedy: Start reading more, beginning today.
- You write for yourself, not for your readers. A journal or diary is written to benefit the writer. An article, devotional, blog post, social media message, book, etc., is written to benefit readers. Remedy: Remember, it’s not all about you. Make sure your work offers intrinsic benefits for intended readers.
- You believe a first draft = a finished project. Every writing project requires revision. How much depends on the quality of the first draft. When your first draft masquerades as a finished project you risk it being rejected by magazine and book publishers. Worse, you risk losing a lot of $$$ in self-publishing because poorly written books simply don’t sell. Remedy: Bite the bullet – revise. Don’t rush the process. Rather, spend as much time on revision as needed.
- You skip editing. Related to #3, you don’t revise your work. That’s either because you believe your first draft is perfect, dislike others’ opinions (#5), or just refuse to be diligent. Remedy: As Nike contends, “Just Do It.” Need help? Ask friends, family, critique group members, or other professionals to read your work and provide feedback (see remedy # 6). Then begin editing your work to address those comments.
- You are overly sensitive to others’ opinions. Did my title offend you? If so, I apologize. Once you get to know me, you’ll realize that I am the Queen of Encouragement. I have your best interests in mind. Know that when most people read your work and provide feedback they also have your best interests in mind. Remedy: Develop a tougher skin. Try looking at your work through their eyes and revise accordingly.
- You are a lone wolf writer. Being connected to other writers offers many benefits, including ready access to information, inspiration, encouragement, and referrals. It may also afford you opportunities to learn about new writing opportunities that are perfect for your work-in-progress. When you are a lone wolf writer you miss out all of these benefits – and more. Remedy: connect with writers through traditional or online writing groups. Join organizations specific to your genre, expertise, or interest. Attend writing workshops and/or conferences. Attend readings and other free or fee-based events at your local library. Connect, connect, connect!
- You have writer’s envy. Another writer’s success is proof that scribes can succeed in achieving goals. Yet, your skin crawls when others succeed. Because you are a hornet’s nest of envy, you can’t benefit from any shared wisdom. You can’t applaud their achievement. And you can’t focus long enough to complete your project because your mind is filled with envious, competitive thoughts. (Wow, that had a hornet’s sting to it!) Remedy: Realize another writer’s success is proof that being published is possible. YOUR TIME WILL COME! So, work out your envy, self-esteem and self-confidence. Learn to celebrate others. And, please, get help if you simply can’t do this alone.
- You don’t help other writers. You are selfish with your knowledge and resources. Why? One overriding reason is linked to #7. Another is because you see every writer as a competitor. That’s a shame because there are a lot of people who could use your help. Plus, keep in mind, the law of reaping and sowing applies to publishing as well as other areas of life. When you fail to help others, others will fail to help you. Remedy: Stop looking at everything through competition-colored spectacles. Other writers need you, and vice versa! Make a commitment to help other scribes – and stick to it.
- You think self-publishing = “Do What You Want.” The rules of great writing and meeting audiences’ felt needs apply equally to traditional publishing and self-publishing. Just because you’re an “indie” author does not mean you can ignore these AND sell books. Remedy: Follow the preceding remedies. Also, learn as much as you can about self-publishing, including the cost to produce a well-written, well-designed, and well-marketed book.
- You know it all. But. You. Really. Don’t. Remedy: Get over yourself. Check out the remedies above and apply them – ASAP!
I topped this list off with 10 reasons because these are pretty brutal. Any more would probably stunt your creativity. And, that’s not my goal.
My goal is to inspire you to be the best writer you can be. Again, my writing projects reeked in the past because of these factors. If I overcame stinking thinking and funky habits you can too! Indeed, if you adopt the remedies above you will see drastic improvement in your creativity, knowledge, discipline, connections, and craft. Plus, your writing won’t boast a stench that keeps other scribes and industry representatives away. Best yet? You will achieve your writing goals – over and over again.
Lisa A. Crayton is an award-winning freelance writer, multi-published author, conference speaker…and more. She loves helping writers, and challenging them to achieve their goals and dreams! Connect with her on Facebook.