Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Defeating Self-Doubts: 10 Quick Reminders for the Perfectionist Writer

Whew! I recently completed the second book in The Purple Moon Series, titled FALLEN LEAVES (scheduled to release October 26th with IlluminateYA). This was not an easy feat, to say the least!


In fact, it was probably the hardest project for me to tackle so far in my writing journey. I was tempted to give up multiple times. Why was it so hard?


Because it was a continuation of the story in my first book, PURPLE MOON. Because I didn’t want to disappoint my readers. Because it’s not easy to develop a plot structure in a character-driven story.


And simply because of self-doubt.






Self-doubt, I’ve noticed, often plays a big—yet sneaky—factor in procrastination. It’s the reason why many writers don’t reach their publication dreams.


With each book I’ve written, I’ve doubted my writing ability. I’ve imagined the negative reviews I could receive. Not intentionally, of course. However, my desire to produce quality content often results in me being my own worst critic.


This can be both good and bad. Good when we use our perfectionism as a way to challenge ourselves to rise to the next level; bad when we use self-doubt as a reason to hold off on finishing a project and furthering our dream.


Sending FALLEN LEAVES to my editor felt like an amazing accomplishment—not just because I completed another novel, but because I was able to keep going despite the self-doubts that begged me to give up.


So how can writers resist these doubts and strive forward to reach the finish line? Here are 10 quick reminders for my fellow perfectionists wrestling with self-doubts…


1 –  Every writer has both strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths.


TIP: You might want to ask beta readers, critique partners, or writing friends where your strengths lie as a storyteller. Keep in mind, though, that you do want to be aware of where your weaknesses lie so you can strive to strengthen those areas as well.


2 – You are your own worst critic.


TIP: Allow yourself to write a sloppy first draft. Then you can criticize your work once you reach the revision stages -- but only if your criticism help you rise higher rather than paralyze you. 


3 – Your book isn’t going to be for everyone, but it is for those who will enjoy it.


TIP: If you receive negative feedback, take it with a grain of salt. Everyone has their personal taste and opinion. However, if more than one person has given similar feedback, then consider revising your work based on their critiques.  


4 – You aren’t a perfect writer, but you will grow with each project.


TIP: Try to focus on mastering one new area with each project (such as description, dialogue, voice, characterization, etc.)  


5 – Someone might be waiting for your book to be released. Write it for that person.


TIP: Do you have a friend or beta reader who has previously shown interest in your writing? If so, invite that person to read your book as soon as it's complete. Keep their enthusiasm in mind when you face self-doubt.


6 – You’re the only person who can write your book using your unique writing style, experiences, voice, etc.


TIP: Analyze your writing and the type of stories you like to write. What makes your work stand out amongst other authors in your genre? How is your writing unique?


7 – Your book can improve through edits, rewrites, and critiques. You’re allowed to make mistakes. 


TIP: Write your first draft for your eyes only. Then, with each revision, try to focus on improving and editing one element at a time (such as dialogue, description, interior monologue, pacing, character, arc, subplots, etc.)


8 – Often self-doubt is a tool from the enemy to keep you from furthering your calling.


TIP: Keep a list of compliments you've received on your writing. Then, when those whispers of self-doubt tempt you to give up, take out that list of praise and remind yourself of why you feel called to write.


9 – Ultimately, we have an audience of One. He wants us to be faithful with the gifts we've been entrusted with.


TIP: View your writing session as an act of obedience and worship. Then, your focus will shift; writing will no longer be about you and your success; instead, you'll view it as an opportunity to glorify your Father (see 1 Peter 4:10-11).


10 – When you love writing, it doesn't have to be a drudgery. In fact, it's supposed to be fun -- so enjoy the process!


TIP: Remind yourself of why you fell in love with the craft to begin with. When you first started writing, did you do it for fun or to receive praise? Most of us started writing simply out of pure joy for storytelling. Forget the "rules of writing" during that first draft, and give yourself permission to remain passionate during the process!




~ ~ ~

How do you defeat self-doubt as a writer? Are there any reminders you'd like to add to this list?



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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Value of Patience For the Aspiring Author

Waiting isn’t an easy task when you’re striving toward your dreams—especially in an industry that moves like a snail pace. And yet, it’s probably one of the most important attributes an aspiring author can have.



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If you’ve followed my blog for any time now, then you probably know I love to encourage young writers to pursue their writing dreams. I don’t think teens should let their age hold them back from pursuing publication, especially if their craft is quality. But even so, if we make a rushed decision in our writing journey simply out of impatience, then we’re withholding ourselves from the reward and growth that result from waiting seasons.


If begin to struggle with patience this year, remind yourself of these 5 reasons why impatience can be harmful:


1 - Impatience makes us discontent.


If we long to hurry and rush into the next season of our writing journey, then we fail to enjoy our current season and appreciate the progress we’ve already made. We’ll never be satisfied until we reach the next milestone—then once we reach that, we’ll be restless until we've achieved the next one, and so on.


2 – Impatience makes us rush into decisions that we could cost us down the road.


This is why I encourage teen writers to develop as a writer and study the industry first before they dive in. Preparation for the journey ahead is key to understanding the road we’re setting out to navigate.


Sure, you might long to become an author and see your story in print—but is it worth rushing the quality of it? It might take a while to study the craft and receive feedback from critique partners, but trust me: You’ll be grateful, in the long run, that your name will be tied to work that’s quality rather than sloppy.


3 – Impatience keeps us from the best.


What if your story idea could develop over time and eventually become a #1 best-seller? That’s an exciting thought—however, this pursuit doesn’t necessarily happen over night. Every bestselling author has had to walk a long road of growing as a writer, writing drafts of their book, editing, receiving feedback, implementing feedback, etc. before they could see this success. What would’ve happened if they had rushed into publication prematurely?


4 – Impatience takes away the joy of working hard, seeing the fruit, and knowing it was done with excellence and carefulness.


I love the various publishing options that us writers have today. Even a six-year-old can see their work in print! Yet even though it’s exciting to think anyone can write a story and load it onto Amazon, the reward is much more thrilling when it’s a result of hard work, excellence, and patience.


5 – Impatience often gets us out of God’s perfect will for our lives, especially when we’re determined to make things happen our way and in our timing.


If God has given you the desire and gift to write, then don’t you believe He has a plan for your writing journey? You might have an idea as to how you’d like for your writing career to play out, and that’s completely fine—but there’s no safer place to be than in His will. Let’s be faithful to use the gifts He’s given us and give Him control over the steering wheel of our dreams. His timing might be different from what we hope it’ll be, but you can be assured that it will be perfect and well worth the patience.


~ ~ ~


So as you make your New Year resolutions and strive toward your writing goals, keep in mind that it’s okay to have a big picture goal in mind—as long as this goal doesn’t cause you to make rash decisions along the way. And be prepared to wait. A lot. Even as your writing style and skills continue to develop. Just remember that time, hard work, and patience are necessary ingredients to producing lasting fruit in your writing career.


What’s the hardest stage in the writing journey for you to cultivate patience?


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

How to Manage Your Crazy Workload Without Going Crazy Yourself

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Happy 2018, everyone! I recently visited my friend, Stephanie Kehr's blog to share advice on how you can manage your crazy workload -- without going crazy yourself. (If you're a writer, and a student, and you have another job, then you probably know this isn't exactly as easy as it sounds!) 


I thought this would be the perfect post to share so you can kick off the new year with a clean slate. ;) 


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Don't forget to let me know your thoughts/questions in the comments below!