The true enemies of your writing success live within you. They might manifest externally, but they are born within and must be overcome. You must tend to these inner weeds lest they take the garden. But worry not, we’re here to help you do just that!
If you’re not making progress quite as quick as you’d like, then there’s every chance some of these enemies of success have taken root! Before we begin, it’s important to understand one thing; success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s usually the result of consistent effort and good habits. Luckily, there are things you can do to speed it along, yet there are also things you can do to impede your progress. If you’re not making the progress you’d like to be, then perhaps some of these are hampering you on your journey to becoming a successful writer.
So what are they and how can we overcome them?
Just because you’re busy, doesn’t mean you’re working. Sitting at your desk and putting a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door doesn’t move you closer to your goals, and if behind that closed door you spend your time checking Facebook or watching cat videos (we’ve all done it) then you could actually be getting further away from them!
There are several things you can do to help with the distractions in your life. One that I’ve adopted lately is The Pomodoro Technique. This basically involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and working in intervals with short 3-5 minute breaks in between followed by a break of 30 minutes after four intervals. There are plenty of smartphone apps to help with this also. The main aim here is to integrate the habit of working uninterrupted while having enough breaks to maintain your focus in the long run.
Secondly, remove temptation during this time. Shut off electronic distractions and schedule interruption-free time to write. Take any steps you’re able to minimize your risk of going off task. I use a smartphone app where I’m rewarded for not picking up my phone. There are several like this, but the message to take home is this; you have to get serious about your work. Be hard on yourself. Turn everything else off and get to work.
Lack of Passion
If you can’t seem to put the work in or chalk up the hours necessary to make progress, then maybe your heart just isn’t in it. Try working on a different story, implementing a different writing style (try switching POV) or even writing in a different genre or form.
Take a break away from writing and assess your goals. Think about the reasons why you write. What made you start writing in the first place? Maybe you had passion once, but you strayed from that path in pursuit of something else? Put your projects aside and make some mental space so that you might remember what you used to love about writing.
Fear is a natural and sometimes useful part of our lives, but it can sometimes be detrimental to our success. The fear of failure is ubiquitous. We’ve all felt it at some point or another, even the most successful of us. It’s ok to feel fear. The important thing is to act anyway. Afraid of failure? Accept it. It’s inevitable. The fact that you’re failing means you’re on the right path. Afraid of what people will think? Don’t be. People spend far less time thinking about us than we might be led to believe. Some people will like your work, some won’t. Don’t let fear stand in your way. Instead, fear a life in which you don’t live your passion. So pick up your pen and scribble your way to success! As always, keep writing, keep learning and build a better book.
Peter Turley is a writer, editor, blogger and podcaster living in the North West of England where he grew up. He reads, writes and edits fantasy fiction and co-hosts www.thebookeditorshow.com with Clark Chamberlain. Follow him on Twitter @PDTurley