I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly. —Edgar Rice Burroughs
A very interesting article arrived in my inbox – titled ‘Beat The Author Blues’ it talked about the things that might lead to author blues. Their list of common concerns included 1) Feeling devastated by a bad review, 2) I’m not a real author, 3) My writing isn’t good enough, 4) The task seems too big, and 5) I don’t know enough about a subject to write about it.
You can read it here: https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/2019/03/12/writers-doubt/
I am a strong believer in the concept of imposter syndrome
Imposter Syndrome is: “… the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.’ …
What rings true here is the example they use for definition – “…people suffering from impostor syndrome may be at increased risk of anxiety …”
Yep. This. So much this.
So as authors not only do we have reviews, and content, and self-doubt, but it’s acknowledged that all these things feed into a cycle of anxiety. I lost all of November, December and most of January to self-doubt and anxiety, and some days I hated the fact I couldn’t pull myself out of it. Of course, it all coincided with other things that were happening not to mention it was right over the madness of Christmas.
What helps me beat the blues?
Write. That always helps me. Just plugging away at words, and knowing that I can come back and edit them later, and add to them, and make them shiny.
Talk to other authors. I doubt there is one author out there who hasn’t at some pointed doubted their writing. I fully contend that doubt is vital to the writing process. It’s a great motivator, and it makes you question what you write and how you can tell your stories.
Step away from social media. I don’t need to explain this one.
Don’t write for the market. Don’t emulate other writers. Think about what YOU want to write, and write to your pace.
Forget process, forget three thousand words a day, forget writing from 9 until 3, forget all the routines that you use to write. Enjoy binge-watching a TV show, go shopping, go for walks, have a mini vacation… just always take a notebook, or the notepad add on your phone. Make notes, look for inspiration in the world around you.
Forget the business. Too often authors can be pulled down by the nitty-gritty of being a business person as well. Chill over the details for a while and focus on the writing.
But, maybe don’t forget the business. Yeah, I know that is contradictory, but sometimes a block can be because you know you have a tax deadline looming and you really don’t want to have to deal with finances, so you don’t deal with them, and then it worries you. Maybe you need to focus on the finances completely for a couple of days, and that might clear the blues?
Look for a story that you want to tell, and it will happen – after all, what are writers? We’re storytellers?
The more scared we are about our calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it —Stephen Pressfield
What kind of things do you do as authors to help break the blues?