How To Kill Your Writing Career

Killing your writing career is easy. All you have to do is…do nothing.

Seems harmless, doesn’t it? I mean, how bad could doing nothing be for your career? It’s doing NOTHING, for pete’s sake.

Okay, doing nothing might not actually kill your career. But like a stagnant pond, your neglected writing life will moss over until it’s plagued by the mosquitos of self-doubt, and, if left long enough, will evaporate until there’s nothing left. I hope you’ll forgive the clumsy metaphor. It’s hard to be clever with a headache.

Read over these “do nothing” types and see if find yourself among them:

1. The Super-Secret Writer – These people spend their time polishing and honing their “baby,” but never send it to anyone (agents, editors, contests, etc.) because they fear rejection. Their manuscript stays a well-kept secret.

2. The Sort-Of Writer – These people call themselves writers, but they write infrequently and never finish anything they start, always touting their “work in progress.” Without a completed manuscript of some sort, their dream will always remain just that.

3. The One-Hit-Wonder Writer – These people wrote one book, maybe self-published it, but they hang onto it like the Holy Grail and don’t bother to write another. These people have a bad case of the writing yips.

4. The Lazy Writer – These people have solid product behind them, but can’t be bothered to promote themselves in any meaningful way. They could have a brilliant career if they only jazzed up their website or issued a press release or sent out a newsletter.

5. The Inside-the-Box Writer – These writers have been trying to conform to traditional standards for so long that they’ve forgotten how to take the lid off of their creativity. They’re afraid that one false move may ruin their career, so they write by wrote.

6. The Writer-in-Waiting – These writers submit and submit and submit, then wait for someone on the other end to like what they’ve done. To let you know how long you might wait, I recently received two different rejections from projects I submitted to two different publishers well over a year ago. And they were form rejections.

7. The Porch Dog Writer – This kind of writer is puzzled by the new paradigm of publishing – new technology, new players, new reading devices. Instead of figuring out how to leverage this stuff, they slink into complacency and watch as the up-and-comers get the biggest bones.

So why this? Why now? Two articles recently gave me a swift kick in the pants. The first is about a guy who got a six-figure deal because he wrote a Tumblr blog about his texting dog. The second is about another Twilight fan-fic darling who’s seven-figure dream just came true. What’s significant about these two people is that they MADE THINGS HAPPEN FOR THEMSELVES. They didn’t sit around and “do nothing.”

I hope this article inspires you to do something today towards furthering your writing career. And if anyone tells you that what you’re about to attempt is outlandish and stupid and ridiculous, go right ahead. Because, let’s face it, those are the things that normally work.

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