Promises Writers Should Make to Themselves in Order to Succeed
To be a successful writer, you need to identify and get rid of those pesky writing habits that are holding you back. Here are some commitments you can make to yourself to boost your creative confidence and deepen your passion for writing.
1. I will learn how to accept feedback gracefully.
One of the best ways to become a better writer is to go out and seek constructive feedback on your work. Unless you're writing personal diary entries that will never see the light of day, you can expect that at some point, your written words will have an audience. The sooner you get comfortable with receiving feedback on your work, the sooner you’ll start making progress towards your writing goals.
2. I promise myself I will use my time wisely, even when I don’t feel like writing.
Procrastination, doubt and fear are just a few of the occupational hazards of being a writer. But when you hit the wall and you think you can’t write another word, that's a sign that you need to temporarily redirect your mental energy. Fortunately, there are plenty of useful tasks that you can work on that will still advance your writing career.
Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.— Jane Yolen
3. I will immerse myself in the world of writing.
Being a successful writer means stepping out of your comfort zone and connecting with other freelance writers, entrepreneurs and bloggers. Don’t forget to add magazine editors and book publishers to your network. If you work from home and don’t have as many face to face opportunities to meet other writers, make sure that you're busy cultivating a strong online community.
4. I will be open to trying new things.
One of the easiest ways to try out new writing styles or break old habits is to make small changes that eventually add up to big shifts in the way you do things. Making drastic changes quickly may pay off in the short-term, but if you can’t see yourself maintaining a new writing habit over the long-term, you’ll end up right back where you started.
Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.— William Faulkner
5. I will feed my creative spirit.
To achieve your writing goals, find fun and relaxing ways to stay motivated and energized about your writing career. Listen to motivational or self-improvement tapes. Read the biographies of writers you admire. Attend free lectures and seminars in the community. Volunteer to help out at a local charity. We live in a world full of so many negative influences, from heartbreaking tales of pain and suffering on the nightly news to advertisements on TV telling you that you’re not good enough, smart, enough, skinny enough or rich enough. As writer, it’s crucial that you find ways to stay positive if you want to keep producing new material.
6. I promise to be kind to myself.
It’s important to keep your Inner Critic in check if you want to be a successful writer. There's no point in getting down on yourself for past mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up if you set a goal but you can’t quite reach it. If you decided that you were going to write 2,000 words every day but you ended up skipping a day here or there, it's not the end of the world. It's a sign that you might need to reassess your goals and priorities.
As you hone your craft, stretch your writing muscles, and take risks, don't waste your time comparing yourself to so-called “better” writers. Jealously is a useless emotion; it wastes valuable creative energy. Instead of being envious of other writers, examine what they're doing that has led to their writing achievements. Use their writing success as a source of inspiration instead of an excuse to feel sorry for yourself. It’s not always easy to get the Inner Critic to settle down but addressing negative self-talk and worry before it gets out of hand will help you feel like a confident and capable writer.
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© 2016 Sadie Holloway