5 Things Every Writer Needs

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From Writers in the Storm:

Writers are unique and diverse creatures. We’re mysterious and unpredictable and original. That’s part of what makes us . . . us. And that’s a good thing. There are as many types of authors out there as there are genres to write in.

We can be introverts, extroverts, or a mix of both. We can be organized planners, chaotic pansters, or fall somewhere in between. We can be inspired by waking up to the energy of the sun or by winding down to the stillness of the moon. Some of us prefer to write alone while others feed off sharing a workspace.

But it’s not the differences between us that matter, it’s what makes us all the same—our crazy obsession to create. No matter how or where or when we work best, there are five things we all need to feed that drive to write.  

1. Passion for the project.

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

-Robert Frost

Despite the number of writing skills we’ve mastered, if we’re not excited about the story we’re telling, it’s going to show.

There are a lot of reasons why you may not be “feeling” your latest project. But bottom line, the “blah” you have toward your words and ideas will affect your reader. They may not be able to pinpoint what’s wrong, but they’ll pick up on your indifference or negativity.

Whatever’s not working, take the time to figure it out and fix it. If it’s worth your time and energy to write the book, it’s worth your time and energy to do it right. And if this statement isn’t true for you, consider moving on to a different project. Don’t beat yourself up trying to make something work if it’s just not right.

Side Note: If you’re a serial project skipper and find yourself always moving on to a new project, ask yourself why. Because that’s a whole other issue.

2. Confidence to spur you on.

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

-William Faulkner

All writers struggle with confidence no matter how many books they’ve churned out or how successful they’ve been.

Each new project can feel like a blank slate, a test of our skills, an opportunity to fail. If we’ve been successful in the past, the voices in our heads tell us, “That was a one off. You’ll never be able to live up to that again.” If we’ve fallen below our own or others’ expectations, the voices in our heads tell us, “Why bother? You’re never going to be any good.”

Lack of confidence will kill even the best book. Forget about the past. Start now in this moment. Duct tape those stupid voices and find a new one. One that says, “You can do this. You’re going to put in the work and make it happen.” Then do an honest evaluation. What are your strengths? Play those up. What are your weaknesses? Make solid goals to fix them. Take a class. Find a mentor. Join a writing group. Ask for help. That’s how we all learn.  

Side Note: A lack of writing confidence often bleeds over from a lack of confidence in other areas of our lives. That may be the deeper issue. And it may be worth looking into—even if it’s hard. No one likes being vulnerable. But sometimes that’s what it takes to find your confidence and your value. And when you find it, it’s so worth it.

Link to the rest at Writers in the Storm