The Resolution to Begin All Resolutions: Fewer Cautionary Tales, More Awesomeness

This is the unfortunate-but-true wisdom of the writing community: Getting published is hard. Unless you have a big name, a big platform or a big stroke of luck, going the traditional route is nearly impossible. 


Credit: MarilynJane

Credit: MarilynJane

Right behind that nugget is this one: Indie and self-publishing is hard. Getting noticed is like catching lightning in a bottle. You’re joining a huge community of self-publishers and you have to practically jump through the computer screen and poke readers in the eyeballs to get noticed by anyone.

Other sad-but-true refrains we often hear on The Internets include:

Readers are more cynical.

Blog tours don’t work like they used to.

Word of mouth is key.

This other thing is key. Doing that thing is key.

Don’t do this. Do that.

Not that. This. 

Yeah, it’s all true, almost all the time. But I have to ask: Are you sick of hearing this yet?

CriticVs.Shakespeare copy

Let’s Try Something Else

Every writer wants to be read and we’re all keenly aware that the route to publishing is difficult. So, just for today, here are some notes of hope from around the Internet that you’ll find encouraging, instead of cautionary.

Life Lessons—It’s a Journey, Not a Destination | The Write Conversation.  This guest post by Reba J. Hoffman is a short, sweet little reminder about what happens when you don’t take time to savor the journey. Spoiler alert: Too much Spandex.

 Quotes About Writing and Overcoming Doubt | Positive Writer. Bryan Hutchinson’s Positive Writer is a treasure trove of—as its title suggests—positive, motivating, empowering lessons for writers in all genres and at every stage of the publishing journey. This particular post is a great balm for those of us who simply get tired while working hard at building a writing life. Anytime you wonder whether the difficulties you encounter mean you’re not cut out for this whole writing thing, head to Positive Writer for some great advice.

The Only Competition Freelance Writers Need to Worry About | Make A Living Writing. Professional freelance business writer and entrepreneur Carol Tice runs more than a blog – it’s a huge community of resources and experts ready to share what they know.  This post, in particular, is a bracing wave of clear-minded advice about the most productive way to think about your competition in the writing world. And while Carol and her contributing bloggers pull no punches when giving writers a dose of reality, their pragmatism is tempered with their successful experiences in the publishing world. And they’re pretty confident that you, too, can be successful, which is refreshing.

NaNoWriMo: On the Language of Losing | terribleminds. Chuck Wendig’s words on writing are not for the shrinking violets among us. If you’re easily offended by blue language, skip to the next entry; if you’re looking for something a bit salty and perfectly tuned to varying levels of writing frustration, terribleminds is your new online home. On the Language of Losing deals with the all-or-nothing mentality of many writers and NaNoWriMo participants, and basically knocks it unconscious. Need that sometimes? I do.

Writing for You | Positive Writer. With the help of guest blogger and author The Magic Violinist, this post can teach you how to overcome negative self-talk, premature perceptions of criticism, and the mid-novel panicky boredom we all feel at some point in the writing life.

Because Creativity

Here’s my theory: If we don’t constantly beat each other over the head with cautionary tales, and do-this-not-thats, like we’re playing Whack-a-Mole with our basic sense of competency, I think we’re going to make the literary world a much, much more interesting place.

Fear reduces our propensity for risk-taking. Being constantly told what our audiences want takes us out of touch with the freedom to be original, removes from us the ability to create an entirely new audience bound together by brand-new approaches, methodologies and ideas. Heck, as the English (and any other language) evolves, we’re being told what to say and what not to say.

Credit: meddygarnet,

Credit: meddygarnet,

Instead, Let’s Try a Positive Attitude

Well-meaning how-tos are fantastic (heck, this blog is composed mostly of those kinds of articles). But my suggestion is the next time you’re feeling some writer’s block, or some frustration, or you’re just a bit blah and casting about for ideas and inspiration, don’t go to the Internet. Or if you must go to the Internet (hi, this is me), bookmark some of the positive articles above, or your own favorite positive writing pieces and make those your first stop before you hit the forums and the how-tos.

What are some of the most positive writing pieces you’ve read recently? Share them in the comments!

  • Byron Edgington

    Always good stuff, Shanan, and worthwhile for anyone who uses ‘writer’ in their profile. I guess the bottom line is we’re either writers or not, and that counts whether we ever ‘sell’ a book or not. There’s a reason we sit at the damn word processor all day processing words, and I think it’s because we write, mostly, to figure out who we are. So keep putting it out there, and thanks again for plugging away along with the rest of us.

%d bloggers like this: