Peggy Bechko: 6 Things that Could be Keeping You from Writing Success

holding-backby Peggy Bechko

So, what holds you back? What keeps you from writing what you want to write, from getting it out there and being published? Recognizing what might be holding us back as writers could well be key in helping us to move forward.

You want to create worlds, right? Whole new places in space, time, and experience for readers to go. And readers, that’s the experience you’re in it for, right? Those new places, those new adventures.

Worthy goals to be sure.

The tripwires for the writer can be things like;

1. A writer can be so motivated, so in love with the process of writing and, indeed, perfecting the work in progress that that writer revises while writing each chapter, after writing sections of the novel, again when the novel is complete. Constantly revising, constantly second-guessing.

Now, I’m not saying revision and rewriting aren’t important elements of creating an outstanding novel. However, there comes a time when the writer has to step away from the keyboard, put down the pen and decide it’s as good as it’s going to get. That if it’s tinkered with further at that stage it’ll just begin to go down hill. Really, it’s like egg whites beaten too long. You can reach a peak – and then it just gets ‘watery’.

2. Then there’s the opposite. The writer who’s so excited, so juiced that he or she rushes to complete the book, doesn’t bother much with editing or even checking for typos and blasts through to publication.

Whoops.

3. Some writers are so delighted, so stroked, so awash in joy when getting a good review for their book that suddenly completing the next one doesn’t seem so important. Sort of like, hey, I done good! Wow, look at those words of praise. I don’t have to market, promote, work to get my work out before the reading public. It’s just going to happen. In fact, I don’t even have to push forward to complete my second because they’ll just be hanging on, panting to read it when it’s released. Any time will do.

Nope, not even close. Always be looking forward to your next project. Always be alert to promotional possibilities and follow through on them.

4. There are writers who want to make a splash, have a big impact, really rattle their readers. They can go too far, cross the line and end up alienating readers. Shock can be good, but too much can be off-putting and cost the writer readers. The good writer, while being true to the story being created, must keep the target audience in mind, the reader. Shake ‘em up, but don’t toss ‘em out.

5. Be sure to listen to your gut. Sometimes too much planning can get in the way of a good story. There needs to be a balance. What ‘feels’ right? Where is the story going? Just because one thing is planned doesn’t mean it can’t be changed for another. Being too rigid, fighting character and story created, can be a factor holding a writer back.

6. Don’t be the writer so focused on performance, turning just the right phrase, in just the right way, in just the right scene to the point where you’re so self-critical you ultimately decide you’re ‘just not good enough’. Writers evolve and change. Writing evolves and changes. So will you. Create, revise, move forward.

Oh, and trust your gut.