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Five Things Writers Should Stop Doing Immediately

Stop Standing in Your Own Way

By D. Gabrielle JensenPublished 4 years ago 3 min read

Every writer, especially early in their career, meets with the same challenges. We all go through the same heartaches and follow the same paths to the final “The End.” But on that path, we all make mistakes that cause our journey to be more difficult. I want to lay down some cold, hard truths for you here. As writers, I want to share with you five things we all need to stop. Immediately.

Stop … Fearing failure. This is not limited to publishing a book or writing for a magazine. This is about hiding yourself away, and not doing that anymore. This is about putting great ideas on paper and tucking them into a drawer. This is about holding back when putting yourself on the page. Be authentic and nothing you do can be called a true failure.

Instead, set yourself up with a supportive but honest tribe who build you up and cheer you on. Find other artists who know what it is to be afraid of sharing themselves. Share with one another and work to help everyone in the tribe achieve their goals.

Stop … Holding yourself to standards you don’t hold for other people. Allow yourself the grace to learn from mistakes. Allow yourself the time to create what you want to create. NaNoWriMo is a great motivator but don’t expect what you complete in that time to be perfect, or even finished.

Take stock of what you are capable of completing and compare that to your goals. If you are physically only able to put five hundred words on paper each day, either because you write by hand or sneak in five minutes of writing while your kids are in the bath, maybe NaNoWriMo, with a minimum goal of 1667 words per day, isn’t the right choice for you. But at a consistent 500 words every day, you can feasibly finish a draft in a year, with a comfortable cushion for the days you struggle. Keep your goals reasonable.

Stop … Comparing yourself to others. This piggybacks off the previous point. Understand that what you create is yours. The only people you need to compete with are who you were yesterday and who you want to be tomorrow.

It is not important that your friend or your writing hero (who might be the same person and that’s okay!) produces six books every year. What is important is that you finish what makes you feel comfortable. If their pace inspires you to work faster, that’s fine, but don’t sacrifice quality in the attempt to work faster.

Stop … Confusing critique and criticism. Especially in your own work. Especially when self-talking about your own work. Critique is constructive. Critique is productive. Critique is helpful. Criticism tears you down without building back up. Criticism will come from the outside at every turn; don’t look for it inside.

Remember, you will be bored by your work by the time it is ready to release into the world. You will hate it. You will think it is the biggest, steamingest pile of garbage to ever be written on paper. That is because you have spent a hundred hours with it, toiling over the minute details, striving to make it perfect. A reader, seeing it for the first time, doesn’t have that same perspective. Critique but don’t criticize.

Stop … Ignoring your own advice. Whatever encouragement, advice, words of wisdom you offer to peers or students, follow it. Listen to it. Accept it as the truth you expect someone else to accept. Because you deserve to hear every word of encouragement you offer someone else. You are good enough. You are strong enough. You are enough.


About the Creator

D. Gabrielle Jensen

Author of the Fia Drake Soul Hunter trilogy

Search writerdgabrielle on TikTok, Instagram, and Patreon

I love coffee, conversation, cities, and cats, music, urban decay, macro photography, and humans.

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