Survival Tips for Writers

This month has been crazy. I turned 29, received my first professional edits on a MS, and have been querying a new novel. And my husband is deployed.

Being a writer in the absolute best of times is difficult. A few months ago, my husband found a piece of paper that I had stashed in my writing notebook. It had a list of "pick-me-ups" I'd been jotting down to remind myself of the positives to chasing my dream. At first, I was a little embarrassed he'd found out I needed pick-me-ups and worse, that I'd written them down and kept them for later.

He, being the wonderful supporter that he is, read them thoughtfully and gave me an I-love-you-even-more smile. He gets me. Okay. Enough sappiness. :)

Today, I read back through them and decided I'd share. I know I'm not the only writer with tough days, and there's absolutely no shame is admitting that we have them. May they bless you as they have me.

  • Don't be critical of yourself or anyone else.
    • "If you don't have something nice to say, say nothing at all." This applies to yourself too. We can be our cruelest critic, but there's enough of those in the world. Don't join them. On the flip side, never criticize your fellow writers. They're struggling too, and they need your support. And guess what? One day you'll need theirs.
  • Reward yourself by creating something.
    • Maybe write a poem or short story to refocus and remind yourself why you love the art.
  • Give. 
    • Encouragement, hugs, shares, favorites, reviews, likes, and love to all those who enrich your life and even those who don't. Giving fills the heart with joy and helps us develop a habit of caring for others more than ourselves, which always brings fulfillment.
  • Love and never let go.
    • You love to write. Don't let negativity deter you. Never let go of your dream. It's a part of you, and it will carry you through all the adversity.
  • Don't wish. Dream.
    • There's a clear distinction between a wish and a dream. A wish you blow on a dandelion and pray some wish fairy picks it up and grants it. You don't really believe a wish will ever happen. A dream has to happen! It will not go away with one breath on a weed. It is consuming and relentless in its pursuit. 
  • Have a plan but be flexible.
    • Be willing to adapt. Your dream may not be handed to you on the shiny platter you'd hoped. It may take more than your best efforts, and it may take breaking a window when the door doesn't open in order to bust into the world. Whatever. It. Takes.
  • Failure is not a word.
    • There's only experience. Some good. Some bad. Both will make you stronger, wiser, and better for it.

Determination and hard work propels dreams. Keep on keeping on, friends. 

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