Success is a hell of a lot easier when you have support

People need definitions to make sense of things. Jobs and hobbies are no different. We cage them behind glass panels to look at (admire?) with neat labels. If you work in accounting, you spin math. If you nurse, you’re a giver. Tennis players are athletes. Chess makes you smart.

So what about us? You know, the whisperers of words, hoping to find another person on the planet that supports our calling?

Writers, by nature, are misunderstood. You know it. And we get it.

Hobby writers are romantics, swept into clouds. People pull you back toward their reality. “Logically, it’ll never work. You’re not Hemingway and, even if you were, the written word is dead.”

If writing is your career choice, consider hospitalization. The infection is too deep, too sour. Friends and family wait for your failure, hoping that bills pile up too fast and you’ll get a real job to support yourself. Or you’ll be starving artist. When people ask about you and how you’re doing, your loved ones have a hell of a time saying you’re doing well because, in their minds, you’re not. You’re a faux-pas.

It gets even worse when we talk about genres. Erotica writers? Closet kinks, of course. Horror writers obviously murder people and store them in the dank basements, hidden in rusty deep freezers. It’s a wonder people don’t pick up on how many of us use pseudonyms. Nobody likes being judged.

But here’s the thing.

It’s bad enough we fear our own failure. Repeated questions from everyone around us really fucking suck. They make it worse. That’s why it’s so important to seek out backup – people who understand you and what you do. So you’re not alone in that glass viewing box. The other freaks and geeks are there with you, celebrating just how badass you are for seeing how everyone else looks at you and making the leap to write anyway.

We’re a community of bifocal and suspender wearing bookworms who share a dream – a passion – to see it through. And sometimes we falter. That’s why we need each other.

I sure-as-shit can’t do this alone. That’s the main reason we work together through 24/7 social media groups, unlimited emails and the occasional phone conversation.

What I’ve learned through this all-access style is writers live many different lives. I know grandmas who write sexy-as-fuck fiction. And divorcees who are ready to clear their lungs of the smoke and fire, to breathe again. I’ve met teenagers who fill the rest of us with hope because they’re writing now, instead of waiting years to gain the experience some asshat teacher said they needed.

Regardless of who you are or what you want to write, somebody in our harem will get you. And being successful is a hell of a lot easier when you have support. While some people in your life probably don’t understand your choices, your writing family certainly does.

It’s nice to feel at home somewhere. Just make sure you don’t put your feet on the new furniture. We’d like to keep it a while.


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The Writing Process: Get Sh*t Done

You know what they say about excuses? They fucking suck. Yet we still use them.

Maybe we’re guilt-driven, time-exhausted dreamers who – as much as we don’t want to admit it – put everything outside of our writing careers first. Who has time to sit down and write when the house hasn’t been vacuumed in a week?

You. If you’re taking your craft seriously, that is.

Or maybe other issues prevent you from committing.

“I’m so emotionally drained I can’t tap into the feelings I need to write this.”

“I only write when the mood strikes. I haven’t felt it in a few days.”

“After working all day, I feel guilty taking time away from the kids.”

“I work 60 hours a week to pay the mortgage, fuck it all if you think I can handle anything else right now.”

Sound familiar?

Everyone has a reason to put down the pen. Trust me. I never imagined I would add ‘counselor’ to my workload, but I’m here and doing it.

Excuses don’t matter. You’re not the exception to the rule, so let’s cut the crap.

Schedules are required

If you want your writing to get better, you need to set aside writing time every day.

We don’t like saying ‘no’ to anyone, especially not our boss, kids or spouse. It’s a problem though, because overbooking yourself leaves zero time to write. If you schedule a regular time to write each day, you’re dedicating yourself to getting better, further – and getting the hell out of the bad habit of telling everyone yes all the time.

Plus, an hour during lunch or thirty minutes before bed for writing helps prevent writing burnout. Force yourself to quit after time’s up (ask me about the sweet spot), so you come back excited to begin again. If you’re outside of your allotted writing time, jot down lingering ideas in your journal or notebook. You’ll have plenty of ideas to come back to on days when writing a sentence feels impossible.

It isn’t easy

Every day is not a great writing day. In fact, I think every first draft is shit. So why are we especially hard on ourselves when words stick?

Lower your standards. Perfectionism is ugly and unattainable – it’s also divine self-sabotage. Stop it. It sets up a nasty combination of inadequacy and editing ourselves before we write a single word.

Instead, realize writing and editing are two different processes coming from two different parts of your brain. Tell your story like you’re talking to a friend. Once the entire piece is done, you’ll shine it up, but until then it doesn’t do you any good to over-analyze.

If your creativity is stupefied, play with words. Write about what’s stopping you in the moment. Write out the frustration, damn it. Your day’s writing might not be a part of a bigger project. So what? You’re still writing. Fight the urge to give up.

If you’re pissed a certain character is talking to you out of turn, follow him anyway.

The most important quality a writer can have is comfort in their own skin. This takes confidence. And confidence comes from practice. Writing regularly gives you both.



Want tolearn more about writing like YOU? I’m polishing a new product that will teach you exactly that. Join our subscriber list (upper right-hand corner) to hear more about it and get a discount when it’s released. I’ll also let you know when the *new* cell phone app is available.