by Megan Haskell
It’s tempting . . .
I started out this month with that title on our Monthly Update, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. I couldn’t shake it.
All too often, we let our temptations take over. Take control. They undermine our motivation and encourage self-doubt. So I thought I’d take a couple minutes to look at a few of our worst temptations as writers.
. . . to allow distractions in our writing time.
Let’s start with the relatively innocuous temptations from social media, television, the phone, the internet, the laundry, or the mess on our desk. These are distractions that take away from our writing time. Okay, yes, maybe we do occasionally need to wear clean pants, but even the dishes can wait until we’ve gotten an hour of writing in. Seriously.
. . . to say we’re too tired.
Yes, I’m known to fall victim to this one. It’s been a long day. I’ve been up since 5:30 am and the girls are finally in bed. Do I really need to work tonight? Wouldn’t I rather just go to bed and read, or watch a mindless show for an hour?
No! Writing time is sacred time. For me, that time often comes at the end of the day. If I’m too tired one night, I’ll be too tired the next, and soon I’m falling down a rabbit hole looking at a crooked watch, asking where all the time has gone.
It was wasted with excuses.
Of course—caveat—it is important to get enough sleep and rest when our bodies are ill or injured. But words on the page are also important if you want to be an author. If those words must come at night, then we must push past the sleepy-dust, drink a cup of coffee, and get to work.
. . . to say we’re not good enough.
This one’s a doozy. When self-doubt rears its ugly head, we begin to ask ourselves why we even bother. You see that red pen from your editor, or the bad review on Amazon, or just re-read yesterday’s words and find them lacking, and you feel like you’ll never make it. Why would anyone possibly want to read your work?
Because no matter what you write, someone out there will be a fan. Give yourself the time and space to write that shitty first draft, then clean it up in post. Strive to constantly be learning, constantly improving, and your words will get better. They’ll come easier. But there’s always something new to work on. Don’t forget, writing is a lifelong vocation.
. . . to say it’s good enough.
Is it? If you haven’t met your goal for the day, is it good enough? If your dialogue feels clunky and out of character, but you don’t know how to fix it, is it good enough?
Or maybe, we need to keep pushing. As they like to say at the Southern California Writers’ Conference, “Aim for excellence. Settle only for exceptional. Your words are worth it.”
. . . to give up.
Why do we put ourselves through endless hours alone, typing words into a bright white screen, only to share the pages from our souls with people who might tear them to shreds? It would be so much easier to sit on the couch and watch tv or amuse ourselves with our own words. So much easier to just give up, and accept our fate as penniless creatives unknown to the world. Why do we push ourselves for seemingly little reward?
Because we have something to say. We have a story to tell, or wisdom to share. Financial success may be slow to arrive, but maybe, just maybe, it’s less important than the lives we touch.
We Are Writers.
Don’t let temptation get the best of you.
Legend has it, I was born with a book in my hands. Thirty-ish years later, I’m a stay-at-home-mom who prefers a good story over doing the dishes. Only now, I’m building my own fantasy worlds! I’m the Award-Winning author of the Amazon bestselling series, The Sanyare Chronicles, co-author of Aspiring to Author: A Guide for Your Publishing Career, and Program Director of O.C. Writers. You can find me on my website at www.meganhaskell.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
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