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Friday, May 23, 2014

8 Things That Will Derail Your Writing Goals the Fastest

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


8 Things That Will Derail Your Writing Goals the Fastest

Through the years I’ve discovered something about writing that I never expected. I always believed that to be a successful writer you had to  learn to write better, be diligent about networking and keep submitting. Those are all important, but it turns out the biggest things that affect my writing happen in my head.

By allowing all sorts of negative thoughts, emotions and habits creep into my mind I was defeating myself before I put the first word on the page. I’d like to share 8 things that will derail your writing goals the fastest, and invite you to learn from my mistakes.

1. Looking Back, instead of ahead. It’s easy to get lost in the past, rehearsing old mistakes instead of looking ahead. You can’t make much forward progress if you spend all your time looking in the rearview mirror.

2. Believing You’re not Good Enough. I have trouble looking at what I do and being satisfied. This is a business where you need to have confidence in yourself and in your calling to be a writer.

3. Comparing Yourself to Others. There are always going to be people out there who are more talented, who got the break you hoped for, who are further ahead on the writing journey. Learn right now that THEY are none of your concern. You need to focus on you, not others.

4. Spending Time Talking about Writing Instead of Writing. This is a tough one. It’s so much easier to spend time with writers, to read writing books and blogs, even attend writing events than it is to put your butt in the chair and pound out words.

5. Setting Goals with Strings Attached. Set your goals and go for them all out. Don’t set limits or conditions.

6. Negative Self Talk. I am way harder on myself than others are. I can rattle off about a million reasons that I’m not good enough, won’t be able to succeed, shouldn’t have the chances that come my way. I have to work hard not to defeat myself before I get started.

7. Not Returning to Writing after a Break. There are times when we have to step away from writing. The reasons can range from illness, to family commitments, to all sorts of things. And truthfully the longer I’m away from regular writing time, the harder it is to come back. But even that’s no excuse for putting in the time I need to move forward with my writing goals.

8. Expecting Talent to Get You Where You Want to Be. Raw talent is a good thing. BUT it’s not the best thing. The best things are discipline and an unwillingness to give up. Trust me, with writing, good things come to those who persevere.


These are some of the things that have kept me from moving forward with my writing career. I’ve learned—often the hard way—to avoid them at all cost. How about you? What has kept you from writing success? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the section below.

7 comments:

Ane Mulligan said...

Who boy, this is a good subject. I love books that are deep and filled with emotion. Authors like Gina Holmes, Katie Ganshert, and Deb Raney are so good they make me wish I could write like them. But I can't. I write like me. The stories I have inside me are different. They're lighter in nature, even though they have deep emotion, they're different.

I finally made peace with that, realizing God gave me the story ideas because He wanted them told and told be me. I realized that's cool. It would be a sad literary world if we all wrote alike. :)

Edie Melson said...

Ane, I'm like you. I love those books like Gina's, but they aren't what come out when I write. thanks for stopping by!

Michael Ehret said...

Get! Out! Of! My! Head!

Sheesh, Edie, #'s 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 nailed me. Particularly 1 and 7 (and, yes, they're connected).

Michael Ehret said...

There should be a 7 between "6" and "and" in my comment.

Michael Ehret said...

But couldn't I write like Stephen King or Dean Koontz just for a couple years? Of course, I'd want their platforms, too. And maybe King's beard and Koontz' dog. Oh, and could I also borrow their editors? Publicists? Heck, just let me have all of their "people" -- just for a couple years.

Edie Melson said...

It's truly scary isn't it? I mean how much all of us writers fight the same demons. Blessings, E

Tina Ann Forkner said...

Thanks for this post. It really hits close to home! No writing journey is the same. We have to keep going and be ourselves. These are good reminders.