This is the first of a five blog series focusing on the ways writers self-sabotage themselves in trying to meet their writing goals.
As a side note: The list of five is not presented in any particular order. I think they are all equally important.
Because this is an easy one for any of us to fall into, I am starting with Focusing on Negativity.
When we are pounding away at the keyboard, whether with our fingers or our head, doing everything on God’s green earth to create an amazing best-seller, it can feel we are in a competition or even a war against all the forces that exist in the writing and publishing world. All we want to do is to release our precious creation into the universe of readers and for it to be received with enthusiastic cheers, applause, a choir of singing angels, and 5 star reviews! Simple, right? If only!
Instead we are often met by new disheartening challenges that can drive us down into the gloomy muck of negativity. It is quick work to get caught up in all the things for which we have no control.
Companies we work with, such as Amazon, Kindle, Smashwords, Facebook, Instagram, or whomever have suddenly changed the rules, policies, payments or their fees. Editors, Publishers, Reviewers, or Readers, etc., are giving us push back on this newest darling. Maybe our sales are not taking flight. Or maybe it’s our comparison with “the OTHERS” that is driving us to drink. The competition. They’re doing great. Making amazing sales, getting stellar reviews, and you cannot stop seeing their #1 best seller EVERYWHERE.
So, what do we do about it? Complain, of course. It’s human nature to shout from the mountaintop about the injustices thrust upon us. We may even go as far as to complain on social media, our blog, or website about the unfair treatment of certain companies, people, or about the “no talent’ writers who are doing undeservingly well.
Does this help you reach your goals? Absolutely, not.
This reactive behavior over things ypu cannot change only serves to lower energy and motivation.
All these negative things that we focus on will only send us spiraling farther down the rabbit hole of despair. Before you know it you have given up writing for a year and spend your days watching Netflix, covered in Cheetos dust.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Positive action is what we need in order to prevail these darker times.
1. Be Aware – stay alert to the signs and symptoms that you are slipping into a state of negativity. The negative thought process is counterintuitive to meeting your positive writing goals. Absolutely nothing good comes out of wallowing in a self pitying state. It ONLY hurts you.
2. Start focusing on what you CAN do. Change your focus. First, and foremost, keep on writing. Find good tools to pull you away from the things dragging you down. Get motivated to do even better. Brainstorm some new storylines. Work on some ideas for a cool book cover for your next project. Read some inspirational quotes. Turn on some music and dance, jump, and sing at the top of your lungs.
3. Keep making plans to implement positive actions and keep shooting for your writing goals. Become a writing warrior. Take advice and watch how other successful writers are doing things. Be willing to tweak some of your own methods and you may be pleasantly surprised by the affect!
Because, at the end of the day, we cannot change what companies or other people do. No matter how much we cry or complain. And we don’t really want others to be less successful than they are. But we do want more for ourselves as writers. So, we have to expect more out of ourselves, instead of pushing the blame out elsewhere.
The only way we can do and be more is to work on our craft, our marketing, our book cover development, etc. Just keep improving every step of the way.
Our Amazon best seller rank may be 12,000,000 today. But that is not set in stone. Our next book may do ten times better and drag that first book up the rungs with it in the process!
Think of the race between the tortoise and the hare. The super successes that you see the first week of an author’s new book release do not reveal the dramatic drop that will eventually occur once the excitement dies down. The quiet little book that didn’t get much attention at first may rock the world six months down the road.
And if you are an indie publisher upset with the piddly royalties you get from your books, remember that Amazon and Kindle or Smashwords do not charge or give you a hassle to publish and distribute all the books you desire. It is all free and fairly easy to accomplish these days.
In summary, put your focus where it matters the most – on you and your best writing. Make a positive plan of action and never mind what you cannot control.