13 Things You Have to Let Go of Before You Can Succeed As a Writer

Let go of the things you didn’t know were holding you back.

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1. Your need to control everything.

2. Your aversion to shameless self-promotion (within reason).

3. Your crippling anxieties about what will happen if you get rejected.

4. Your false belief that you need to have someone else’s permission before you do something.

5. Your need for constant attention/feedback.

6. Your obsession with doing everything perfectly the first time.

7. Your “I’ve never done it, so I’ll never be good at it” attitude.

8. Your unrealistic desire to do it all.

9. Your unhealthy concern with what other people think about you.

1o. Your embarrassment of bad writing.

11. Your fear of saying “no.”

12. Your addiction to instant gratification.

13. Your jealous of other writers who succeed. You’ll get there in your own way, with the right mindset.


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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4 thoughts on “13 Things You Have to Let Go of Before You Can Succeed As a Writer

  1. #5, #8, and #13 are definitely challenges for me.

    Writing presents a unique problem in how everything has an extended delayed reaction. The time between creating, getting accepted (hopefully), and then actually getting your work in front of audiences, creates a long-delayed reaction. You invest so much, but the reality is you have to be patient. One strategy I like is to create a special folder labeled “encouragement”, and whether it’s a personal friend or a professional stranger, when I receive positive feedback/encouragement I create a little Word document and I write the “little story” of how someone said or did something that made me feel good. I think we don’t always, or even often, get what we need when we need it, but if we save it, we can take it out when we do need it.

    The desire to “do it all” is a whole other challenge, and not one that can be so easily thwarted, though I do think setting aside some time to “plan out” a day or week (from a writing perspective) can help. Really consider and prioritize.

    Jealousy is also a tricky one. It’s not admirable, but it is human. Often, if I feel jealous, I try to turn it around by saying “Okay, what can I learn from them?” Most are very good-natured people, more than willing to share their story with others, and when others are willing to share, their success also becomes your opportunity to learn, and hasten your own success.

    Thank you for sharing. I often find it helps to be reminded that “I’m not the only one”. And, if I have one thing in common with those I admire, odds are I might have other things in common :-).

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