7 Ways Your Mindset Could Keep You from Becoming a Writer
It’s been estimated that approximately 200 million people in the US want to be authors, but of those only a handful go on to do it. And that’s true whether you want to publish a book, write blog posts, get into copy writing, write articles for a living, or just write that family memoir you’ve been talking about for years.
What is the difference between people who say they want to become a writer and those who actually do it? Mindset.
I talk to a lot of people who want to become writers, and one thing that always jumps out to me is the way people think about the process. There are three types of people who want to become writers.
· Those who love to talk about becoming a writer, but never move toward the goal.
· Those who truly have a desire to become a writer, but fear of failure holds them back.
· Those who want to become a writer, and take the necessary steps to achieve their goals.
If you dream of telling your story, or writing that nonfiction book, there are seven ways your thinking can interfere with the process. Here are the mental obstacles you’ll need to overcome if you want to push past the limitations and finally become a published author.
1. Being All Talk and No Action
In order to become a writer, you have to write. While that may sound simplistic, there are many people who have a book or article in their head, but never actually sit down to write it. They love to tell people about their idea, but a writer doesn’t talk about their ideas, they put them on paper. This is the key difference between writers and those who want to write. If you are holding your ideas in your head, now is the time to sit down and write.
2. A Fear of Failure or Embarrassment
You make yourself vulnerable when you put your thoughts in a book or article, and that keeps many people from writing. After all, it opens you up to criticism or judgement from the people who will read your work. But writers understand this and are willing to take the risk. If you’re afraid of opening yourself up to other people’s opinions, you may not be ready to become a writer.
3. No Desire to Improve
Every writer can improve their craft, no matter how long they’ve been at it. But some people don’t want to put in the time or effort to become a better writer. These people often believe that their first draft can’t be improved upon or the article they jotted down on a napkin while having lunch at the local café will pass muster. In order to become a successful writer, you must practice. Start with small articles or blogs and then as you see success, go on to write larger pieces or books.
4. The Belief that Writing is Easy
Another hurdle for many new writers is the belief that writing is easy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. No matter if you’re writing an epic novel or a nonfiction book on a topic you know well, it’s not easy. Wellesley “Red” Smith illustrated this best in 1949 when asked whether writing a daily column was hard work. “Why no,” he said. “You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.”
5. A Tendency Towards Perfectionism
There are people out there who have written a great book, but they sit on it for years because they feel they can never get it to perfection. Here’s the deal, if you have perfectionist tendencies, they can both serve you well and hinder you as a writer. Yes, you need to put your best work forward, but on the other hand, if you are a true perfectionist, that work will never be good enough for you. So start putting stuff out there—now. Get it as good as you right now, learn from your mistakes, and then put something else out there. Don’t let the fear of a typo or awkward sentence keep you from becoming a writer.
6. A Lack of Knowledge
You wouldn’t attempt to repair a pluming leak without first watching a YouTube video or read an article about how to do it first, would you? In the writing world, there are rules to follow and if you’re new to the game, you have to understand those rules to achieve success. For example, if your goal is to become a freelance writer, you need to understand your earning potential before quitting your job to write full time. There are plenty of blogs to help you learn the business, books on the topic, and courses you can take. Do all you can to learn the publishing business before leaping in.
7. No Commitment to the Process
Most successful writers have a process and stick to it. For example, some writers commit to working four hours a day, while others can only write a couple of days a week. Some writers can only carve out time on the weekends for writing. Obviously, the more time you devote to writing, the faster you’ll become great at it, and the more work you’ll produce. But don’t despair if you only have a couple of days a week to write. The key is to create a process that works for your lifestyle and then stick with it.
Bonus Tip: There are plenty of tools to help you write. If you would like to learn about some free resources for writers, be sure to read my article, 10 Incredible Free Resources Every Author Should Know About.
These are seven of the most common obstacles new writers face when trying to perfect their craft and put their work out there. If you’ve been dreaming about writing, but haven’t yet started doing it, are any of these mindsets standing in your way?
Or maybe something else is preventing you from pursuing your dream of writing. If so, what is it? Leave me a comment below and let’s talk about it!