I want to bring this up because it is my fervent hope that you’ll find your path to productivity, and joy, in your writing. A focus on the wrong aspects of work/life/ or whatever can keep you from that productivity.
I’ve seen this come up with writers in multiple ways, and I’ll mention a few so that when you see the warning signs you can start to change those thought patterns that’ll make you waste days on matters entirely outside of your control, so that you can reclaim that time FOR THE GOOD OF MAN!! Or for the good of your writing, or just to give you more time. 🙂
Please don’t get mad at me for the examples I use. I am in no way saying that these things are good, or that writers should never think about them. What makes me sad for writers is seeing people get VERY CAUGHT UP in some perceived wrong, and spend a lot of time just stressing over it, getting paranoid in other aspects, and letting it reduce their productivity drastically. That is unnecessary, and I quite simply don’t understand how people can live like that.
The pirating of books. A bad thing, of course! But don’t get so caught up in the wrong being done that you forget to write your next book. No matter how many pirating sites you personally take on, it is doubtful to affect your sales as much as producing your next book. If you’re that personally affronted by the topic, then spend whatever time on it you like, but please don’t be obsessed. And especially don’t spend a bunch of time spouting off about the wrong being done you on social media. It doesn’t look good on you, I promise.
A so-called “negative” review. I don’t believe any review is actually negative. It’s good of readers to take their time and leave a review for our products. Even a low-rating, if explained, can lead someone else to buy the book. But I digress here…the truth is that time spent worrying over reviews at all is time you could have spent writing your next book. And please, don’t let early reviews stop you from keeping at it. What do we need as writers, as storytellers? Let’s hear it, folks! MORE PRACTICE! Don’t give up because you’re not yet at the level you want to be. Neither am I. All I can do about that is keep on working and striving toward that glory I can see on the horizon. I don’t believe I’ll ever reach it — it’s like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So don’t worry over reviews, just keep on working toward what you want to be, and writing the stories you love — the ones you want to read but can’t find.
They stole my idea. *sigh* This is such a misplaced focus, and getting hung up here will cost you. Ideas are floating out there. I could spout off two lines right now that have probably been made into a story. And I could combine that with another two plot lines at random, and that story’s probably been done, too. Who cares? No one has ever written that story like you did, or like you will. It is ALL in the execution. Are your characters believable, or better yet, loveable? Are your scenes compelling? Dialogue rich with meaning? Surprises lurking around every corner? This is the stuff readers read for. They might see a couple of books with similarities in the description, and that might actually be a good thing, from their perspective. It’s never a happy moment when you finish a book on a theme that you found really compelling. I know that I read many books with strong similarities.
What do you gain by focusing on these things? And how much do you lose by allowing this misplaced focus to rob you of your hours?
If you notice yourself obsessing over something outside of your control, work to bring yourself back into the correct focus, which is on your goals, the part of this whole venture that is within your control.
Here’s one possible strategy: I find that in my worst times of doubt or of taking these strange obsessive side roads, if I can just progress in some small way on my goals by the end of each day, I call it a win. Making small amounts of progress toward your goals each and every day will add up fast. And checking in on those goals each day will help to ground you and keep you moving forward, feeling much more positive than in the days when you worried over that person who said something negative a week ago.
For a full list of Own Your Writing Career posts in the order they were written, visit my Writers page. I’ll be back with another Own Your Writing Career post next Thursday. Until then, happy writing!!
“Own Your Writing Career: Don’t Worry about Being Wronged — Just Write” copyright © 2015 by J.R. Pearse Nelson