Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Write Like Your Future Depends On It

Besides never starting, the only true way to never achieve your goals is to quit. Writers, like all other sorts of dreamers and artists, are often held down by self-doubt, procrastination, and mental blockages. Easily half of the writing-related posts I see on places like Facebook and Twitter are people saying how they lack motivation, self-esteem, or are held down by writers block. Sometimes, unfortunately, these factors become too much for some people, and they close the book on their writing careers for good. How can someone power through all this negativity and keep on writing? A simple answer is this: Write like your future depends on it. There are two reasons for this answer, 1) your future as a writer absolutely depends on it, and 2) your entire future just might depend on it someday.

This might sound a little insane, but stay with me for a second. How can your whole life depend on sitting in front of a computer and letting your imagination pour onto the page impact your future in a big enough way as to justify my above statement? Well, for one, if you're a writer who isn't at some point thinking about writing professionally, making it big, becoming a worldwide bestseller, going on book tours, inking movie deals, etc. then you're simply thinking too small. Dream a little. And if that is the end goal of writing career (which it should be, likelihood be damned), then think about that life a little bit more. You know what comes with publishing contracts? Deadlines. And it doesn't matter if you're Joe Nobody or Stephen King, if you continuously screw yourself on those deadlines then you're getting dropped faster than a hot potato, my friend. And to all the indie writers out there like myself, this applies to you too, you don't get let off from this because you have no company setting deadlines for you. If you don't have to answer to an agent or executive, then you still have to answer to your fan-base, who can sometimes be worse than any pushy publisher. Self-doubt, motivational dry-spells, and such will always be there, but if you let it slow you down too much then your future writing career is already dead even if you're still plugging away at the keyboard now. You've gotta keep going, for the sake of future you and their hopefully still present desire to write professionally. 

In short, your entire future depends on you writing because you want it to, or you should anyway. If you want to one day write professionally, traditionally or indie, then at the most basic level you want to write like your life depends on it. So, that begs the question, if you want to do that in the future, why in the hell aren't you doing that now? It's hard for a lot of us, myself included, to think this way when we seem so far off from the goal of professional, but it's time we fully rethink the act of writing. Sure, it might just be a hobby or side-job for you now, but you shouldn't be writing for where you're at now, you should be writing for where you hope to be. You want to be a bestseller? Write like one. You just want to make a living off your work? Write like you want it. Write like the successful writer you imagine yourself being, because that successful version of you has a lot of responsibilities to deal with, and if they screw it up they screw up their whole livelihood. So take on those writerly responsibilities now, for the sake of a better, more successful, and less stressed future you.

Self-doubt and writers block will always be there, no amount of writing or readership will ever really shake it out of you. You can't succumb to all that negativity, your future as a writer already depends on that. But you could help yourself away from that possibility by really writing like your future, your life, depends on it. For professional writers, quitting isn't an option. Writing is their income, their livelihood, their full-on career. Think of yourself in the exact same position, even if you only sell a copy or two in a month, if that. Think and act as if writing really was your career, and stalling, pausing, putting off deadlines, or anything like that would mean a missed paycheck, or worse. If you re-frame your thought process in that way, suddenly the self-doubt, lack of motivation, etc. all doesn't seem so hard to get through. There's no better motivation to keep moving forward to know you can't really go back, and it'll show in you and your work if you let it. If you want to move forward with your craft and your writing career goals, then write like your future already depends on it, otherwise there's a chance it never will.

And now it's time for the shameless plug at the end of the blog post! If you liked this post, check out my books on AMAZON (also available on B&N, Smashwords, iBooks, and Kobo).

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