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Friday, February 06, 2015

10 Things to Say to a Writer Who's on the Ledge

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 Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


10 Thing to say to a Writer Who's on the Ledge.
Writing often feels like a solitary pursuit. Truthfully, it’s the successful writers who know better than to try to go it alone. Writing in a vacuum is not a good idea—for a lot of reasons. It’s easy to lose perspective and either believe what you’re writing is perfect, or worse, that it’s junk. Having others who share the same struggles make us stronger.

Not to mention the fact that they can talk us down when we’re standing on a writing ledge. That’s what I want to share today.

1. Success has nothing to do with perfection. So often we try to make our writing perfect. It’s fine to shoot for excellence, but perfect is never going to happen. Quit beating yourself up for not reaching it.

2. Quit being so hard on yourself. We are our own worst critics. We allow the negative voices in our heads free reign. It’s time to replace those harsh words with kind ones.

3. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. All writers struggle with fear—fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of success. The key is to fight. Don’t give up, don’t give in.

Every writer's journey is different.
4. Every writer’s journey is different. Writers are masters a comparison. We try to judge our own worth by what others have or have not accomplished. We need to look within, not without when measuring our success.

5. Nothing lasts forever. This is even true for writers. There are good days, bad days, great days, and days when we want to give up. Remember that the ups and downs will happen, and this too shall pass.

6. It takes as long as it takes. So often we want success to be a part of a formula. The truth is, like I said on #2, every writer’s journey is different.

7. Failure is an option. More often than not it’s also the shortest path to success. Learn from your mistakes, isn’t just a cliché, it’s a truth. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail, learn what you can and keep moving forward.

Sometimes you have to write through the junk to
get to the jewels. -EdieMelson
8.  Sometimes you have to write through the junk to get to the jewels. We all want our writing path to be a continuous, unbroken line of improvement. The truth is far from that. There will be days, weeks, and even months where it’s more of a two steps forward and three steps back.

9. Writing is a journey, not a destination. When we get started on the writing road, we mistake milestones for destinations. It’s easy to think there’ll be a time when we’ve arrived. Truthfully, that never happens. Each achievement is just a gateway to the next part of our writing journey.

10. Nobody writes a perfect first draft. The genius of writing comes in the rewriting. Don’t let a mediocre start keep you from finishing strong.

These are some of the things that my writing buddies have said to me when I was standing on a metaphorical ledge, about to jump. I’d love to know what you’d add to the list.


  1. Excellent list, Edie! I think #1 is something we all need to remember. And then what defines success? I know sales do, but also, I believe lives changed is an even bigger success.

  2. I love this, Edie! Just what I needed to hear today. Thanks!

  3. Edie, great advice. When I was practicing medicine, one of my mentors, when talking about facial plastic surgery, used to remind us that "perfect is often the enemy of good." I've seen manuscripts that writers keep picking at, changing a word here, a phrase there, until there's nothing left of a very good original work.

    Thanks for sharing some excellent points.

  4. I talk to so many writers who obsess with perfection, timing, discouragement and fear of failure. These are such good points to remind us all of what really matters. Thank you.

  5. Great post, Edie. I've experienced some of this myself and authors need to remind themselves of this once in awhile! Thanks for sharing with us.

  6. So much truth here, Edie! That internal critic is a killer. =[ Recognizing its voice and its affect on you helps a lot.


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