Monday, August 3, 2020

10 Commandments for the Writer

So you’re a writer, huh? Over the years, I have developed a set of rules to follow to help you keep your head in the game. Because if you know anything at all about writing, you know that it’s easy to STOP. And if you stop writing?

Well… you’re not being a very good writer. Today, I share with you the first commandment for writers.

Writer Commandment #1

The first rule of writing is this: Thou shalt have no comparisons of thyself to other writers. A story is a story.

Basically, you’re the only writer you need to worry about. Yes, studying the “greats” is a good way to learn the writing craft, but be careful to not compare your worst to their best. We all have to start somewhere.

The Comparison Trap

Keep your eyes on your own paper. The only person you should compare yourself against is the person you were yesterday.

I know it’s easy to read a book and say, “I wish I could write like that.” Or to see another writer’s success and say, “Wow. I wonder when it’s going to be my turn to get published.”

But that’s not healthy. Here’s why.

Comparing yourself to others takes your eyes off your own goals. If you want to reach your goals, if you have to keep your eye on the prize.

When you start comparing where you’re at to where others are at, it can make you feel bad about how you’re doing.

You can always find other writers who seem to be happier, faster, more productive, more successful, etc. When you fall into the comparison trap, you can become envious, have low self-confidence, or even get depressed.

When you look inward, you’ll be able to focus on yourself, your own writing, your own journey, and begin to see your own progress.

So how do you stop comparing yourself to the writer next door?

Learn how to Obey the First Rule of Writing

When you can get past not comparing yourself to other writers, your confidence will begin to soar. Follow these 7 tips to stop this bad habit before it begins.

  1. Work on your own craft.
  2. Accept where you are.
  3. Love your past.
  4. Be grateful for what you have.
  5. Progress, not perfection.
  6. Rewrite your own story.
  7. Turn comparison into inspiration.

Working on your own craft is one way to accept where you are. You’ll never reach your goals if you don’t learn the skills. So practice the writing craft to hone your skills.

Accept the fact that all writers are on the same journey. There is room for all of us. One publication doesn’t make you successful. And it definitely doesn’t guarantee a second one.

When you can love your past and find the power of seeing who you are and all you’ve experienced and learned, you will be much happier as you continue your writing journey.

Gratitude is so much more powerful than most people think. Being grateful for what you have invites more things into your life to be grateful for. This is one of the best ways to ward of the green monster of envy.

Your journey is all about progress, not perfection. Remember to enjoy the journey and to only compare yourself to where you’ve been. When you do that, you’ll see progress every single time. The journey is the reward. And when you reach “The End” it will be all the sweeter.

If the stories you’re telling yourself are that you’re not good enough or that you’ll never make it as a writer, then I invite you to rewrite those stories right now. Be sure to include feelings of strength, empowerment, confidence, optimism, hope, joy, and plenty of progress.

Lastly, you can always turn comparison into inspiration. Remember that other writers’ triumphs didn’t happen overnight. So don’t compare yourself in the beginning or middle stages to their amazing achievements. Let it inspire you! Remember that they had to start at the beginning too. It should be a great reminder for what’s possible for you too.

We all have to start somewhere, just not with a comparison. So give yourself a pep talk and be your own best cheerleader.

“Thou shalt have no comparisons of thyself to other writers.”

QUESTION: What's one accomplishment you've made as a writer? Let's share our collective progress in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...


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