A writing reality check from Gemma today! Lots of writers come to me, upset their writing and/or careers are not progressing as they want them to. Often, I find these writers’ woes are a question of perception than one of talent or time, so I was happy to hear Gemma’s idea for turning unhealthy expectations around. Thanks Gemma!
People have different perceptions of the writing world. Most of us think that being part of the writing industry is truly a great privilege: it can bring fame, honour, wealth and happiness. The reason many students aspire to become bestselling writers or authors is because of the prestige that it could bring them. Put simply, some new writers expect they can have every material thing and recognition they desire.
But disappointments are often the result of misplaced or unhealthy expectations. Many aspiring writers give up in the middle of their writing too soon because of frustrations and suffering they’ve met on their writing journey.
As we all know, expectation and reality are two different worlds. You cannot dwell only on expectations; however, focusing your mindset only on reality will also have a negative effect in your creativity and productivity as a writer, as it can limit your imagination. As with most things, it is about balance!
But how do you know you have unhealthy expectations? Check out these 4 warning signs:
1) You expect the writing world is The Promised Land.
Many successful and veteran writers know what it takes to be a professional and realise they are learning all the time. The real writing world is not The Promised Land: it’s full of stress, frustrations, rejections and anger as you start working for a writing piece. But even if you suffer with all that negative stuff, to be part of that world is a huge opportunity. You have to experience it, to fully understand the craft and vocation you are pursuing.
2) You expect there is a secret **to** writing.
Sorry to burst your bubble dream but the truth is there is NO secret or formula “to” great writing. Great writers are not special creatures or sorcerers who have magic knowledge or word skillz. Writers are ordinary people who have a strong passion for writing their ideas and thoughts on paper. Writers who succeed in this craft follow certain steps or tips that really work for them. They have their own strategies on how to make their words do what they want to do.
3) You expect people will pay for every piece of your writing.
A writer’s life is not always fair. In the writing industry, there will be times that your hard work won’t be recognized or appreciated. If you are a newbie writer, you are usually expected to have writing experience first, before a publisher, producer or agent will offer you a contract. Great writing does require sacrifice. Instead of dwelling on the idea you are being ripped off, think of it as “serving your apprenticeship”. You have to make some sort of significant sacrifices before you get the big break that you’ve been waiting for in the writing realm. All professional writers have in some way!
4) You expect something big will happen if you’re doing nothing.
Sounds obvious (and it is!), but if you want to become a successful writer you have to keep on writing. Do not just rely on fate or luck that you will get what you wish for without exerting any effort. Writing should be your top priority. No matter how many times you get rejected, do not give up. Keep on trying until you complete something. To be successful in this field takes a long time. You have to be patient and determined to reach your goal. You need to invest time, energy and talent on it so that in the future you can reap the hard work you sow.
So if you have recognised something in the above list, what can you do? My suggestion:
Stop expecting for more and just hope for the best!
Setting high expectations will not make you a better writer. In fact, it only leads you to a more stressful life.
Don’t ever forget that many writers struggle, just like you. These writers receive tons of rejections; they work very hard in writing and editing their written work over and over; and they get tired of researching too… BUT they never stop and give up. Why? Because they love writing and they are focusing on the best things that can happen in their career.
To have a happy and contented writing career, all you have to do is to expect less and hope for the best. Even if things don’t work out the way you want it, never forget the reason why you’re doing it. You love to write. You want to become a writer. Every little investment you put into this craft will be worth it because this is where your heart is.
Author Bio: Gemma Gaten is one of the uk essay writers in a writing company. She is also a student who is taking her master’s degree in Communication studies. You can follow her in twitter and add her in google+. Feel free to visit her blog and check out some of her work.
Timely and important information, Gemma, thank you. It really is a fine line between hope and reality, isn’t it?
Definitely true, Robyn! Happy new year 😀
Great post Gemma. Well spoken, with an attitude that will strike a young writer’s heart. That entitlement attitude is all too common. As Stephen King said in his book, The Dark Half:
“Only the ones just starting out – the kids – aren’t scared. The years go by and the words on the page don’t get any darker . . . but the white space sure does get whiter. Scared? You’d be crazier than you are if you weren’t.” –
Once most people stick through this job, they learn to be humble. The kids are the ones who are overconfident and cocky (I was too, at one point). I feel this is a great article to put those writers into a proper state of mind.
Thanks Adam and a great point / excerpt to illustrate!
Based on my 5 years of writing experience I can tell that there is no secret to write good content. The main thing is to just focus on things you are planning to showcase and try to explain it in layman’s term.