When it comes to writing (and a lot of things in life), attitude and perspective are everything. You can let the hard parts get to you, or you can choose to celebrate the good things. This is something that’s as true before you’re published as it is after. In reality, a lot in publishing is out of your control. You don’t get to decide if an agent or editor wants to read your work, likes what they’ve read, or wants to publish you. And if they do, in fact, want to do all of those things, you don’t get to control if people buy it, like it, or want more of your writing.
Basically, you get rejected A LOT, and it’s easy (and understandable) to let this rejection get to you. But that kind of negativity isn’t all that great for your writing. In fact, it can make you want to give up. This is why it’s so important to keep your head in a positive place, despite the rejection and downsides that come with writing.
With that in mind, here are six tips to help you keep your attitude and perspective as positive as possible while you write:
1) Remember why you started and why you write
I think we can all agree that when writing is going well, it can be a rush. It’s like reaching the top of a mountain, flying, and winning an Olympic event all at the same time. When everything fits into place and you’re firing on all cylinders, it can feel like writing is what you were born to do. I write for this feeling. It’s what I’m always chasing. Remembering this feeling is what keeps me going. Why you write may be different, but taking the time to remember why you write can shift your perspective.
Writing is a gift. Remembering why you started can help you to focus on why writing matters instead of why writing is hard.
2) Remember that you LOVE the story you’re writing
If you started writing a book, then I have to believe there is something in there that you love. Whether it’s a majority of the book or just the plot or main character, there’s a reason you wanted to write this story. Go back to that reason. Remember what’s working. Even if you feel like most of your book is a mess, it’s important to remember that you have good ideas and that there’s a reason this idea called to you. Go back to what you love about this story and use those areas to inspire you.
3) Don’t compare your writing to anyone else’s (especially your WIP to a published book)
It can be particularly discouraging to be going through a rough patch in your project while you’re reading a really good book. It’s easy to compare a well-done book to your not-so-well-done work-in-progress. But if you do that, you’re also probably going to feel pretty bad about yourself. It’s important to remember that every well-written, well-executed novel was once a hot mess. It took a lot of time and effort to make it good. Comparing your book to a finished or late-stage book isn’t a level playing field. Beyond that, every book has different elements and different needs. So comparing your book to anyone’s book, in-progress or not, isn’t an equal measuring stick. Your book is unique and it should be treated as such.
4) Don’t compare your writing life to anyone else’s
It can also be easy to look at how other writers work and compare your progress or writing life to theirs. But ultimately, there is no right way to write. Sure, there’s a basic process (brainstorm, draft, revise, edit, publish), but how you go about each of those steps is up to the writer. You need to figure out how you work best. What’s productive for others may not be right for you and it’s important not to feel like it should be. For example, I’m not someone who can write every day. If I do, I burn out. When I see that there are people who write every day, it doesn’t make me feel like I’m slacking for taking time off. It’s them doing what’s right for them, while I do what’s right for me.
5) Limit time you spend on the news, social media, and the internet
Sometimes too much input from outside sources can cloud your judgment. It can be hard not to compare yourself to others if you follow a bunch of writers on social media. And it can be hard to focus on what you’re writing if you have too many sources telling you what you’re supposed to be caring about. Maintaining a positive writing attitude is something you have to harness from within yourself. It’s insanely hard to listen to yourself if you’re competing with all the thoughts and opinions of the internet. I suggest limiting your intake of the news, social media, and the internet on a regular basis. Jump on once a day–enough to be informed and connect, but don’t get consumed by other people’s output. If you’re really in a negative place, I would suggest taking a sabbatical from these sources. Instead, fill what would be your online time with music, TV, art, or anything else that inspires you.
6) Write something else for fun
Take a time out from your WIP and write something just for fun. This is particularly helpful if remembering why you write is a little challenging. Writing something purely for fun can take the pressure off and help you organically come back to come back to your writing roots. And if you don’t know what to write about, hop on to Pinterest and do a search for writing prompts. You’ll get TONS to choose from!
As always, I hope this helps!
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Now it’s your turn: How do you maintain a positive writing outlook? Do you have any tips you can share? Tell me about it in the comments!