It’s Time To Take Your Writing (And Yourself) Seriously

By on January 13, 2017
It’s Time To Take Your Writing (And Yourself) Seriously - Writer'

There are so many writers out there that keep their writing, and the fact that they love it, as a deep, dark shameful secret that they don’t want anyone to know about.

By pretending that we are not writers, or that writing is just a whimsical hobby of ours, we protect ourselves. If it doesn’t mean that much to us it doesn’t matter if we get rejected, it’s OK to go months without doing anything about it. Keep telling yourself that writing is just a side project, a fun and silly thing you do from time to time and soon you’ll start to believe it. If you convince yourself writing isn’t important then you don’t need to try at it. If you don’t try at it it doesn’t matter if you don’t succeed.

But really, in doing so we are not doing ourselves justice. Put us under oath or give us a lie detector test and most writers would say that writing is hugely important to them, in fact, given the chance it is all we want to do. Pretending not to be a writer or that your writing doesn’t matter to you is so much easier then putting yourself out there, being vulnerable and taking risks.

Since it’s the start of the new year why not make a promise to yourself to start taking your writing seriously? Admit that you care about it - tell people it’s your passion. The more you stand proudly and tell the world ‘ I am a writer, this is what I write,’ the more you’ll not only convince other people, but yourself too - and with that conviction comes determination and self-belief - two of the most important attributes any writer can have.

Once you have made that promise to yourself it’s time to act on it. If you are ready to take your writing seriously, do these 5 things.

1. Set goals and targets.

Without giving yourself goals it is easy to continue to put your writing on the back burner and never really get anywhere with it. Give yourself deadlines, create goals and set yourself challenges. Each time you pass one of these milestones you’ll feel so pleased, and seeing the fruits of your labour will only spur you on to do more.

2. Give yourself time.

It’s no good setting goals if you don’t give yourself time to do them. Make sure you set aside chunks of time to work on your writing. Remind yourself that it needs to take priority. You might get the urge to watch Netflix or go out drinking with your friends, but writing is all about discipline, and if you take it seriously then you have to make sacrifices.

3. Beat the resistance.

There is not a writer on the planet who doesn’t have times where they find the actual task of sitting down to write incredibly difficult. You may find yourself coming up with all sorts of weird and wonderful excuses why you need to do something other then write. Learn to understand what it is that is making you procrastinate. Remove any distractions. Acknowledge it, but understand it happens because writing is scary. Focus on how you feel after you’ve written something - that brilliant elated feeling that you are doing something truly meaningful and worthwhile. If you miss your targets or don’t hit your goals try to reassess, think about what you could do differently, try a different track.

Most importantly don’t beat yourself up about it too much. Simply get back to it and carry on.

4. Let your first draft get out before you hate it.

Everyone hates their first draft. Usually they are right to. However, getting your first draft down is more important then making it perfect. Let your first draft be a bit rubbish. If you constantly criticise or try to edit on the go you could soon become disheartened and then you’ll give up before you are done. Being self-critical can just be another way to try and stop ourselves from writing, or pretend that we don't care. Don't let yourself be the reason you stop.

5. Tell people.

Don’t let your writing be a secret. Tell people about it. Share it with anyone who is willing to read it. Get it out there. The sooner you begin to tell and show people that you are a writer, the sooner they’ll start thinking of you as one.

If you are a writer then be one. If writing is what makes you happy then write. Don’t be ashamed of your writing or your dreams. Now is the time to take your writing seriously, so do something about it, bite the bullet and see what you can achieve.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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