What Does Self-Sabotage Look Like?
Self-sabotage is the enemy of writers everywhere. Whilst it might seem like the odds are against you getting anywhere in this industry, there’s actually an even bigger obstacle we need to overcome … OURSELVES!
Self belief is so important as a writer. If we don’t believe in ourselves, we might as well not bother at all. I’m serious!
So here’s what self-sabotage looks like, plus how to avoid it … Ready? Let’s go!
1) Not asking for help
Lots of writers scorn stuff like blogging, social media, courses, groups, books or anything they believe is a ‘distraction’. They may say the ONLY thing that works is writing pages.
Others may reject help that is offered to them for different reasons. They may be too scared to let others see their writing. Alternatively they may believe erroneously the people offering help or compliments for their writing don’t really mean it.
However, it’s important to remember this industry is also built on relationships. Industry pros and other people DO NOT offer help or compliments unless they mean it. They are too busy otherwise!
FACT – screenwriters and novelists are much more likely to get ahead if they create and participate in community. Without these essential things, those pages may well just stay on your desktop forever. Oops! MORE: 6 Ways To Annoy The Crap Out Of People Online
2) Annoying others
From one end of the scale, we swing sharply to the other. Some writers believe THE ANSWER is out there and pursue it relentlessly (spoiler: there’s no such thing as ‘the answer’!).
Some try and tear down others in the mistaken belief it will ‘open up’ a spot for them. Others will beg, cheat and steal for their goals – either metaphorically or literally. Avoid this behaviour at all costs, in yourself and others!
3) Procrastinating over important things
Procrastination is defined in the dictionary as ‘the action of delaying or postponing something’. Many writers self-sabotage via procrastination. They may procrastinate by …
- Not writing at all
- Not letting others see their work
- Avoiding building contacts and community
- Believing it’s ‘all’ luck anyway
- Spending way too long on social media
- Spending too much time writing (see # 1 on this list)
- Not creating a career strategy
… and much, much more. Writers will often do ANYTHING rather than do what is necessary. This is the epitome of self-sabotage, so be warned!
4) Pushing people away
‘You know what I love to hear? People complaining all the time.’
Said no one EVER!
Writers endlessly whinging online don’t win friends. This industry is hard for everyone. That’s just a fact. Harsh but true.
However, there ARE people out there who want to help us.
Whilst we need to do our due diligence (# 1) and avoid being OTT (# 2), we are stronger together.
5) Refusing to do things unless you can do them perfectly
Perfectionism is the death of creativity. What’s more, there’s NO WAY any book, movie or TV show can be ‘perfect’. It’s literally impossible … and it’s not even desirable. Every writer evolves and every piece of writing is a marker on that journey.
So forget about perfection when it comes to writing (or indeed anything). It’s just not achievable.
6) Putting everyone’s needs before your own
Lots of would-be writers believe that it’s ‘selfish’ to pursue their own dreams. I spend a lot of time counselling parents about this in particular. They may say they feel they are ‘wasting’ time they could be spending with their kids or providing for them.
But think of it like this … you want your kids to pursue THEIR dreams, right? So don’t just tell them to do this, model it for them by pursuing your own.
Another POV on this kind of self-sabotage
Other writers worry about letting others down by seeming ‘too distant’. When my own writing began to take off, I worried about my Bang2writers. I knew I needed to take a step back from my social media platform but worried B2Wers would feel abandoned.
I ended up burning out as a result HARD!
It was the wake up call I needed to take my much-needed step back. I pruned back the social media platform and I installed appblockers on my phone. I stopped writing at weekends, prepared more blog posts and newsletter copy in advance, plus I scheduled more posts.
This made all the difference … and guess what??? My die-hard Bangers were all for this, plus my wider network didn’t even notice. Fancy that!
7) Constantly criticising yourself
Lots of writers are their own worst critics. They will tell themselves they’re talentless or that they have ‘no chance’, so shouldn’t really bother. They struggle with self doubt and let it take them over.
Yet any professional screenwriter and novelist can tell these writers that EVERYONE is a critic. The moment you release anything, people literally line up to tell you how crap it is.
So why do it to yourself as well??
Fact is, if you love your story, others WILL love it too. You have to keep going. You owe it to yourself and all your potential fans out there. MORE: Top 5 Ways To Crush Self Doubt Like A Boss
These tips are spot on and should provide some guidance to writers as they begin and continue with their writing. It’s hard work, but worth trying to succeed on your own terms.
Thanks Lucy! Just what I needed to give me a kick up the backside! My own cardinal sin is definitely #3.