Lies, Lies, Lies
Following my previous post about the lies writers tell themselves, I thought it would be good to do a follow up. This time I’m concentrating on the lies writers tell themselves about their CAREERS. Ready? Then let’s go …
1) ‘I’m running out of time’
Lots of Bang2writers fret about this very obvious lie. Now, if you’re on a deadline, that’s obviously different … But if you’re writing a spec screenplay or uncontracted novel?
You have all the time in the world. Seriously!
Don’t worry about what other writers are doing or how many birthdays you’ve had. Just concentrate on your writing and ensure your project is the best it can be. MORE: 3 Toxic Beliefs About Writing You Probably Believe
2) ‘I’m wasting my time’
Aaah, this one. Lots of writers get very despondent and believe they are wasting their time generally.
If writers truly believe this and are not happy writing, perhaps they should quit … BUT 9/10 writers don’t really believe this. It’s just the frustration talking, especially if they have not sold anything yet.
Sometimes this lie surfaces in a different way. Writers will believe the draft they’ve just written is ‘the one’ … so when they get (inevitable) notes, they believe they wasted their time writing the draft.
This is not true either, though. NO writing is ever wasted, because your last draft takes you towards your next one. It’s impossible to be a writer without writing! (Unfortunately).
3) ‘You need to tell me if I’m any good’
When I mentor writers, I get this one a lot … The B2Wer will plead with me to tell them if they have ‘what it takes’ in order to ‘make it’ as a writer.
I always refuse.
Not because I am not sympathetic; I remember feeling this way myself. I felt certain other, more experienced writers and editors could tell me whether I should just cut my losses.
Then I came across one such pro who told me these two pieces of utter gold …
‘Never, ever let someone else validate you.’
‘There should be no plan B … If you don’t believe in yourself, you might as well quit right now.’
Why is this gold dust? Because writing is DIFFICULT and if you look to everyone else to validate you, you will fall flat on your face. Also, never start anything with your foot out the door… that inevitably leads to failure. Ride or die!
4) ‘I’m not doing it right’
NEWSFLASH: there’s no ‘right’ way to gaining a foothold in the industry. There just isn’t.
Sure, there are obvious mistakes we can side-step, but ultimately we are in charge of our writing destinies.
5) ‘I’m being kept out’
Look, we live in a hierarchal world, so obviously the media is no different. Publishing, filmmaking, TV … yes, there’s all kinds of shitty systemic injustices that need addressing.
B2W would never downplay the need for inclusion of marginalised people in the industry either.
That disclaimer aside, all writers need to understand we come to our creative goals as individuals.
This means the only people we can rely on is ourselves.
The universal truth is, if you want to be a writer, you need to write. That might sound obvious – and it is! – but the number of non-writing writers I’ve met must be in the thousands by now.
Even if you do write all the time, you’re not home-free yet. You need goals and a strategy to get your projects written. You also need to find WHO your target audience is and WHY they would like yours.
Similarly, you need to network … and make submissions … and even more goals and strategies! Otherwise you’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. Sure, stuff might happen for you, but it will be more by accident than design.
So, if you feel you’re being kept out?
You need to work out what it is you need to do to make it happen for yourself.
I am willing to bet a million squid, plus tentacles, you will find a way of doing it. So go do it! I double-dare ya. MORE: This Is How You Create Your Writing Career