14 Reasons Some Writers Never Publish Anything Exceptional

Don’t be like them.

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1. They give up when their efforts aren’t immediately rewarded.

2. They spend all their time reading others’ work, but never actually work on their own projects.

3. They keep trying to find a story that will appeal to their audience, instead of finding an audience who will enjoy their story.

4. They play it safe when deciding what to write about.

5. Or, they write about what’s trending without establishing a unique perspective.

6. They aren’t willing to experiment, or try new things.

7. They don’t make time for writing.

8. They’re always waiting for “the right time.”

9. They only write when inspiration “strikes” — or, at least, they think about it.

10. They refuse to move forward with a project until someone else gives them a personal “green light.”

11. They revise and rewrite so obsessively that they never actually finish writing anything.

12. They spend so much time brainstorming and outlining that they never actually start writing at all.

13. They let themselves worry too much about what other people might think, or what they’ve already said.

14. They convince themselves it’s not worth trying, and never let themselves believe their dreams are possible.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.


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9 thoughts on “14 Reasons Some Writers Never Publish Anything Exceptional

  1. This is very good advice and I think all writers are guilty of this at some point. To state the obvious I would be inclined to argue that writers should always write what they would choose to read themselves first and foremost even if no one else enjoys it or if they are worried that no one else will enjoy it. A writer should sometimes imagine themselves as the reader as well and imagine that they are reading one of the best books that they have ever read. However different people have different tastes of course so what one person may enjoy may not be another’s cup of tea.

    1. Very true! I discuss this more here: https://megdowell.com/2018/01/17/write-the-kind-of-content-you-enjoy-reading/

      It’s easy to get caught up in writing what you see other people publishing successfully, but what’s also important is connecting with your audience, relating to them. One of the most effective ways to do that is to write about what you’re truly passionate about. It’s not always the only deciding factor, but a reader can sense when you’re writing about something you truly love.

  2. I would translate your list to “they lack grit”. I’ve been reading this book about the subject & it is a true eye-opener, not just about writing. You need to have enough grit to stick with something, even if it is a niche interest & doesn’t immediately pay off. I’m currently working on that 😉

    Cheers,
    Caith Esra 😀

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