You Will Rewrite. It Will Be Painful. It Will Be Worth It.

Some writers hate this part of the process more than any other. But you can get through it.

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Everyone absolutely despises at least one part of the writing process.

For some, it’s coming up with (and starting to work on) a “good” idea. For others, it’s actually finishing a writing project.

And for many — myself included — the most dreaded part of writing might actually be the most important: Rewriting.

Rewriting and editing are closely connected, but vastly different. Editing involves polishing and perfecting what you’ve already written and (hopefully) decided to keep. But you can’t really do that until you’re sure — as sure as you can be — that the text on those virtual pages is phrased and arranged the way you want.

And if you decide it isn’t … well. Then you have to do it over.

Maybe only a few sentences or pages. Maybe the whole thing.

Which is terrifying. Because … look at all the work you already did. Let’s say you decide you have to start over from the beginning. That feels … not good.

Like a waste of time, almost.

But it isn’t.

The first half of 2018, I barely made any progress on my book, despite having promised myself I’d have a decent draft finished by the end of the year. I kept putting it off because, having reread everything I’d written during NaNoWriMo and the month following, I already knew I needed to rewrite most, if not all, of the story to create the novel I wanted the world to see someday (maybe).

This terrified me. And to be honest, it still terrifies me.

Because I spent hours on that first draft, and I technically didn’t even finish it. I fell in love with it. And the thought of ripping it apart, salvaging what I could, and using its general framework to create something new (but better) didn’t feel good.

Not because it wouldn’t be worth it. But because I hate feeling like I’m wasting time.

It took me months to convince myself that rewriting hundreds of pages would not mean everything I’d written before was a waste. Writing is not a linear thing. You don’t just craft one version of a story and that’s the final product. The writing process involves going back and doing things over. Improving them. Setting aside what doesn’t belong and replacing those pieces with better ones.

You can’t figure out what does and doesn’t belong without a first draft. And a first draft, especially of a book, is never the same as whatever the final product ends up being. They are completely different. But everything that comes after the original is, in countless ways, better than what you did the first time.

Just because it’s worthwhile doesn’t mean it’s easy. Or fun.

But that’s why writing is its own form of work. There will always be parts you enjoy, and parts you have to force yourself to get through.

That’s OK. It’s normal. We all go through it. And many of us get through it.

You can get through it, too. One page, one paragraph, one sentence at a time.

No matter how unpleasant it might feel, you’re not doing it for you. You’re doing it for your story. For your characters. For your future readers.

It will be painful. But you will not regret a single moment of it.

Can't stand this part of the writing process? Here's how to deal.

At What Point Have You Rewritten and Revised Too Many Times?

Is Self-Editing a Waste of Time?

Should You Rewrite Your Novel?

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.


Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

The Key to Maintaining a Successful Blog Isn’t Gaining More Followers

There’s something much more important.

“How do I get more people to follow my blog?”

“Why don’t I have as many followers as that writer?”

“How many followers do you have to have before you are successful?”

You have all either seen others ask these questions or have pondered them yourself. Because today, subscriber counts are everything. YouTube rewards their creators with plaques for reaching milestones. WordPress sends you congratulatory notifications.

As if having more automatically means you’re doing your best.

Of course, it might be a sign you’re doing something right. But what happens when you don’t know what that “right” thing is?

I think I have an answer.

I want you to ask yourself two questions:

  1. How much content are you creating?
  2. Is it “good”?

“Good” blog content always serves the reader. It provides them with information, or motivates them to do or consider something.

And the reason I asked you to consider how much stuff you’re making is because I believe the key to successful blogging involves creating consistently, and doing a really good job at it.

Notice I did not ask you how many followers you have.

I want you to stop thinking about that. Because once I stopped caring about how many people read my blog every day, more people started following my posts.

Here’s how it worked for me.

I started out writing what I wanted, when I wanted. This meant there were months I would only publish a few sentences — or nothing at all. I eventually started focusing my content on “the writing life,” but even then, it was more like a diary and less like a “helpful” blog. For the first five years or so, I think I had about five followers.

I just kept blogging anyway. Because I had nothing to lose.

Then I learned how content creation on the internet really works. Meaning I understood, perhaps for the first time, that what people wanted from a stranger and barely-published author wasn’t summaries of my daily life, but relatable, informative, and entertaining content.

The blog was still mine and I still talked about my experiences — but through the lens of an educator of sorts, instead of just, well … whatever I was doing before that.

I made sure everything I posted would resonate with at least one reader. Whether it was a lesson I’d learned or a tip I wanted to share, I wanted everything to come off as though it could go into some kind of self-help writing book (eh, sort of).

Blogging ceased being a daily memoir and became a host of content that contained something for everyone who visited it.

And that was when my subscriber base started growing.

People started sharing my content because they thought it was worth sharing. They didn’t do it because I begged them to or because they saw I had a lot of followers and figured it’d be worth it (I didn’t, and really don’t). And the more people that shared it, the more chances other people had to review the content I’d been producing for so long.

Creating good work over a long period of time paid off. In my opinion, it always will, if you are patient and consistent (and persistent).

But having more followers did not make my content better. I am still the only one responsible for making sure I am publishing things that my audience wants or needs. If I had only five followers or five thousand, it wouldn’t make a difference. I’d still strive to create better things because that is why I started blogging in the first place.

How many followers you do or do not have DOES NOT MATTER.

I never worried about or obsessed over it. I still don’t. Because, to be honest, most of your followers are just numbers. While you do have to treat each one of those numbers with care and respect, people don’t come to your blog (or avoid it) because you do (or don’t) have a lot of followers.

They come for consistent, quality content. And just might happen to stick around because of that content, and/or the previous followers that have stayed with you because of it.

Your content is what matters. The quality of your work. How consistently you can deliver things to your audience that make their lives better.

So if you’re doing that, then you’re doing a good job. Try not to worry so much about how many people are or aren’t reading.

And when creating good content does work out in your favor, just keep doing what you’ve been doing all this time. That is why these people found you. Because they saw the amazing things that you were doing, and could not resist being a part of your world.

Make them proud.

Want to get better at blogging? These posts will get you on track.

The Unwritten Rules of Blogging

My Biggest Blogging Mistakes (and How You Can Avoid Making Them)

21 Reasons You're Producing a Boring Blog

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.


Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

When It Feels Like No One Else Is Proud Of You

You can’t always rely on someone else to define who you are.

We all want to hear someone say it. “I am proud of you.”

We crave that kind of support. Maybe it’s just part of what it means to be human.

But not all of us get the tangible support we want. And for many — especially those newer to the game — this can be discouraging enough to prompt them to quit.

I wish it didn’t. I wish everyone had the chance to be told they’re doing a good job. To feel validated.

But right here, right now, I do want you to know that just because your friends or loved ones haven’t told you they’re proud of what you’re doing doesn’t mean they aren’t.

Not everyone will tell you how they are feeling at any given moment.

So it’s quite possible there are plenty of people — especially those close to you — who literally cannot express how proud of you they actually are.

Others might honestly be so caught up in their own lives that they forget to verbally remind you that you and your work make them proud.

On that note, there are people who will never outright say the words, “I am proud of you.” But they’ll express it in other ways, like reading your work, sharing it on social media, or talking to their friends about it — things you might not even notice.

Perhaps more importantly, just because someone hasn’t expressed to you how proud they are does not mean you are doing a bad job.

We all need to learn to — or get better at — realizing that we do not need other people to tell us we are doing good work in order to do good work.

I know you want feedback. I know you crave knowing whether or not you’re doing this right.

But don’t rely on someone else to tell you whether or not you should keep writing. That’s not what writing is about. You (hopefully) don’t write because you want attention. You write because it is a part of you, you cannot suppress it, the hunger to create with words is too strong not to indulge.

If you are satisfied, then that should be good enough.

If it isn’t, then your writing isn’t the issue. There’s something that runs much deeper inside you that makes you unable to value yourself, to trust your skills, to believe you are worthy.

So work on that. Improve your own perceptions of yourself. Eventually you’ll see that others’ opinions don’t matter as much as you once thought they did.

You are a writer. So write. Whether others are here to praise you or not.

Write because that is what you do. Because it is who you are, and where you belong.

Learning to deal with criticism isn't easy. Here's how to make it a little easier.

How to Handle Negative Feedback

How to Get Over Your Fear of Criticism So You Can Be a Better Writer

The 4 Stages of Accepting Negative Feedback

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.


Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

You Are Not The Only One

All writers go through this. You’ll get through it.

It’s not just you.

Writing, especially online, is hard.

It comes with more disappointment and frustration than it often feels like it should.

It often feels like you aren’t getting the opportunities, recognition, or compensation you deserve.

But in all this, you are not alone. Even if it feels that way.

Many writers have come before you, have been through what you’ve survived and have yet to endure.

They succeeded because they persisted. And you can, too.

All writers — perhaps excluding the select few who got published on the first try and were lucky, not the norm — get rejected outright, don’t hear back for months, or never hear anything at all.

They all spend years writing for no one but themselves, until someone else finds them.

All of them go through dark periods in which they want to quit, or they quit temporarily, or — at the very least — they start to wonder if anything they’re working on is even worth it.

Everyone fails.

No one lasts a lifetime without encountering setbacks, without making mistakes or selecting choices that turn out not be the “right” ones.

The journey of every writer is not, and never will be, a straight path. That is why you can’t write if you aren’t willing to exercise your own creativity. You have to find a way through, around, and over the obstacles. And sometimes, you have to do it alone.

But other times, you don’t.

The struggles of a writer are not always unique to writing (though many, if not most of them, are). Everyone wishes they could make money doing something they enjoy 100% of the time. Everyone struggles to balance work with their personal life. Everyone wants to achieve goals but doesn’t always want to work toward achieving them.

And everyone fears regretting not taking chances, not working hard enough. Not doing everything it takes to transform a dream into a reality.

When you’re feeling like you’re the only one who hasn’t “made it,” who hasn’t done anything exceptional with your skills, remember that the only way out of that doubt and darkness is to be honest. To admit that you aren’t perfect. To speak up about the parts of writing that are hard.

I started doing that — talking more about the things I don’t think writers talk about enough. And I accidentally created a community of writers who realized we all struggle with the same things, and we can support each other. Even just by “being here.”

It’s not just you.

We’re all in this together. And always will be.


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.


Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

12 Things You Did Yesterday You Don’t Have to Do Again Today

Today can be better.

1. You had a choice between writing and something else, and you chose something else.

2. You didn’t respond to someone when you should have.

3. You responded too quickly and sent the wrong message.

4. You had the time to submit a more polished draft, but didn’t use it.

5. You had an idea, but didn’t bring it up.

6. You didn’t write, even though you told yourself you would.

7. You spent time writing instead of doing something higher on your priority list.

8. You thought about taking a risk while writing, and decided to play it safe instead.

9. You didn’t reach out to a fellow writer or potential agent/editor when you had the chance to.

10. You let someone else’s comments bring you down.

11. You went to bed believing that because you weren’t perfect today, you “failed.”

12. You forgot that each day is another chance to do better than the last.

Here are a few ways you can do better.

How to Get Better At Starting

How to Be a Better Storyteller

How Writers Can Improve Their Focus

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.


Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

Not All People Who Criticize You Are Wrong

Sometimes there’s truth behind the negativity.

No writer is perfect.

Not as they write their first draft, or at any point thereafter.

You know this. Because chances are, if you’ve published anything on the internet, someone, somewhere, has taken time out of their day to point out at least one thing you didn’t do correctly, or to their liking.

Typically, criticisms vary by degrees of usefulness. Some comments are, let’s be honest, absolute trash, and aren’t worth your energy or time.

But sometimes, criticism holds at least a little bit of truth, even if it doesn’t look like it at first.

Often, we dismiss most of the negative feedback thrown at us because of its tone or context. Some of it could actually help us improve our writing.

Strip away the rude demeanor, the unnecessarily harsh words, the obvious over-exaggeration, and you might still find some valid feedback.

Like, you use the word ‘like’ too much.

Or you use way, way too many unnecessary adjectives.

Or you messed up bad, didn’t do your research, spelled a thing wrong, you did a thing incorrectly.

Even professionals don’t always publish their best work.

So the next time someone uses their behind-a-screen anonymity to criticize you, first ask yourself: Are they pointing out legitimate flaws in your work, or are they just throwing stones at you because they’re bored and need to feel accomplished?

If they’re pointing out something you could have done better, do your best to ignore the person who wrote the “mean” comment and focus on the feedback itself. Pretend it’s coming from an editor, in a much more professional manner. Then do with it what you will. Or don’t.

We all wish that every piece of feedback we receive wasn’t disguised as a personal attack, whether it was originally intended to be or not. But that’s not how the internet works. Most people don’t actually want to help you kindly. They just want to feel like they’re more knowledgeable or detail-oriented about something than you are. And they very well may be.

There are exceptions, of course. Though I’m still not sure why people feel the need to give feedback when a writer doesn’t ask for it. In most cases, it doesn’t hurt, but it’s definitely harder for new writers to separate what’s actually helpful from what generally is not.

People don’t always know how to properly communicate their thoughts or opinions. That doesn’t mean what they have to say doesn’t matter.

But don’t take these things too personally. If they don’t know you, they really don’t deserve to make you feel bad about yourself. Ever.

Learning to deal with criticism isn't easy. Here's how to make it a little easier.

How to Handle Negative Feedback

How to Get Over Your Fear of Criticism So You Can Be a Better Writer

The 4 Stages of Accepting Negative Feedback

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.


Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

Never Write to Make Other People Happy

People-pleasers never win.

I am a people-pleaser.

I do everything I can to make other people happy, even if it means giving up things that make me happy.

And I feel guilty whenever I do choose to do something that makes me happy over something that will satisfy someone else.

I do not like this about myself. I never have.

As a writer, it has made me far less productive, outspoken, and brave.

Over the years, I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to do nice things for people who have rarely, if ever, made an effort to do nice things for me.

I never want to be less kind, less caring, or less compassionate.

But I do want to be a little more selfish sometimes, for the sake of my writing career.

I want to be able to put some of my projects on the front lines, instead of putting them on hold.

I want to write some stories that fulfill me on a deep and personal level, even if they’re not exactly what my audience thinks they want to read.

I want to tweet more. Read more. Have a voice.

Because at some point, I started believing other people’s joy was more important than mine.

I’ve since learned otherwise.

Never write something with the intention of making someone else happy.

Never accept a certain job, agree to a certain schedule, or make a certain change to something — or to yourself — for the sake of improving or solidifying someone else’s opinion of you.

People-pleasers never win.

Because even when they’ve succeeded in pleasing others, they almost always end up disappointing themselves.

And you — we all — deserve better than that.

This does not mean that some of your stories can’t have a happy ending, or that resolutions to plots can’t ever leave an audience feeling relieved or satisfied.

It doesn’t mean that you should always put yourself and your needs before everyone and everything in every circumstance. Sometimes, compromise is essential in maintaining trust and balance in relationships — and in life overall.

But other people do need to learn to respect your work and your time, the same way you should respect theirs.

And we all need to remember that just because something doesn’t make us happy or turn out in a way different than what we imagined, doesn’t mean we have permission to scream and cry and tear other people down in an effort to get what we want.

You can do what makes you happy within your own personal bubble, without poisoning others.

But you can also try to understand why others are unhappy — with you, with something you published — and acknowledge that their opinions are valid, even if you do not agree with them.

Some people won’t ever be happy no matter how much of yourself you sacrifice to make them that way. And that’s not up to you, or your words, to “fix.”

It’s not your job to please other people 100% of the time.

It’s OK to do things that make you happy first. More often than you’ve been told.

Are you a people-pleaser? You might want to read these posts.

To All the People-Pleasers Trying to Write for a Living

Why It Feels Like Your Family and Friends Don't Support Your Writing

5 Reasons to Keep Posting On a Blog Nobody Reads

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.


Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

What Is the Point of Publishing Your Words?

It’s different for everyone.

What’s the point?

Why do you wake up every morning thinking about what you’re going to write today? What you might publish tomorrow? Where you want to be, professionally, in five years?

Does it even matter, if it might never reach even a fraction of your audience? If people don’t like or click on it? If your ideas always seem like lower-quality copies of other writers’ thoughts and creations?

Should you even bother?

Because writing takes up a lot of energy and time. Time you could easily spend doing other things, if writing ever turned out to be the total waste of time it often feels like.

You’ve had plenty of those days. We all have. Those moments, even, when you just want to stop trying, because it all seems pointless.

Except it isn’t pointless. And you know it.

Because the point of being a published writer is, quite literally, whatever you want it to be.

You do it to express your thoughts, opinions, or beliefs.

You do it to teach people something, or motivate them to accomplish something.

Maybe you just do it for the money.

Maybe for the fame.

It doesn’t matter why. But when you ask yourself, “Why should I even bother?” consider the purpose you’ve set for yourself as a writer. Because when it’s all written and done, it doesn’t matter who likes or doesn’t like your work, who takes the time to read it or doesn’t, who acknowledges your effort or not.

What matters is that you write to accomplish a goal, and doing so fulfills you in a way nothing else ever will. That you are doing something every day that makes you happy, whether you make money doing it or not, whether it’s your ultimate dream or not.

Not to say that your dreams won’t come true, that you can’t make money writing, or that there’s anything wrong with writing as a hobby. It’s just that none of these things are guaranteed, especially in the short-term. You can’t spend your whole life wallowing in misery because you’re too focused on something that hasn’t happened yet.

Even a big, broad purpose can break down into much smaller pieces. Take this blog, for example. It’s free for everyone who wants to learn from it. I do it on my own time. It makes me happy. And it’s a very small part of my much bigger personal and professional mission to, in a nutshell, enrich people’s lives with words.

When I’m frustrated with blogging and I ask myself if there’s even any point in doing it anymore, I immediately remind myself that I’m helping a lot of people every day, even if I don’t always know it.

That’s the point. To share my love of writing with other people.

So, remember this: There is a point. A purpose. A reason.

You just have to decide what it is for you, and hang onto it, even when you don’t think you need to.

Trying to find your purpose as a writer? Start here.

I Didn't Realize How Important Writing Was to Me Until I Stopped

Those "Why Am I Doing This?" Moments Make Us Stronger

On Writing With a Purpose

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.


Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

Any Word You Write Could Be Your ‘Downfall’. That’s a Lot of Pressure.

When we choose to write, we choose the possibility of criticism, whether we deserve it or not.

No writer or creator of any kind — no human being — enjoys negative criticism.

It often feels personal, even when it isn’t. It makes us feel like our hard work isn’t appreciated, that our thoughts don’t count, that our opinions don’t matter.

It makes us wonder whether or not our words are even worth it.

But that’s also why so many of us keep publishing on a variety of platforms. In many ways, we’re desperate to figure out the right combination of phrases, the right medium, the best times, to express how we feel in a way that will somehow resonate with people, both familiar and strangers.

This isn’t always a bad thing. Many writers and creators become influencers in their respective niches because they keep trying different ways to reach their audiences until they figure out a way that works.

But it’s not always good. Especially when we fail to restrain ourselves from saying or writing things that are, in one way or another, meant to hurt, offend, or oppose certain people.

When we choose to write, we choose the possibility of criticism, whether we deserve it or not.

We also choose what we put out into the world, both professionally and personally. The things we publish online are, mostly, attributed to us. Our opinions, our beliefs, our raw, often unedited, spontaneous thoughts (and sometimes severely edited, well-thought out ideas).

That does not mean we won’t say the wrong things. Use the wrong words. Make mistakes. Ruin opportunities. Destroy relationships. All because of our words.

Because there are consequences to everything we say, both good and bad. Both deserved and undeserved. Both appropriately assigned and grossly over-executed.

Our words can lead to job opportunities, and career-destroying backlash.

They can establish us as credible, trustworthy experts, or forever label us as the opposite.

They can lift people up. And tear them down.

All this might excite you. It might also terrify you.

The ability to reach so many people with one tweet, one blog post, one newsletter, is both a blessing and a curse, in this digital world of instant gratification and immediate repercussion.

Don’t let the seemingly unlimited power get the best of you.

But don’t let it stop you from having a voice, either.

It’s possible to express your opinions without attacking other people. This goes for both sides. You can criticize without unnecessary force behind your words. It is a balance between saying what you feel needs to be said and refraining from saying things just for the sake of engaging in conversation.

Everyone receives criticism. Sometimes it’s for a good reason. Sometimes, it’s just because someone on the other side feels the need to attack us for unknown or insignificant reasons.

Either way, operating in this environment requires resilience. And acceptance. But also the wisdom to know when it is or isn’t okay to say certain things in certain contexts to certain people.

You either figure it out or you don’t. Gain a following or don’t. Wreck your future or don’t.

Technically, it’s all up to you. You can’t control what other people say to or about you. But you can control what you write. And that will never change.

Criticism is a tough part of being a writer. Here's how to handle it.

11 Examples of Useless Criticism You've Probably Heard Too Many Times

Afraid of Harsh Criticism? Remember This.

How to Get Over Your Fear of Criticism So You Can Be a Better Writer

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.


Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

An Open Letter to My Fears

You will always be here. But you don’t get to choose where I do or don’t go. What I do or don’t do.

I tried to bring you down. To crush you. To start running as fast as I could, so I could leave you behind.

It didn’t work.

It didn’t work because I didn’t know then what I know now — that fear is not something we “get over.”

No.

It’s something we struggle with more, the more we try to run.

As writers, we live unpredictable, uncertain lives. Every day, we wake up to futures we can’t predict. Will we write today? Will we hear back about the status of that project? Will we succeed? Will we fail?

You try to convince me — all of us — that it’s not possible for a far-off dream to come true.

You’re wrong.

But I was wrong not to trust you on some things. Not to recognize that you will always be a part of me, no matter how much my confidence evolves. No matter how much I manage to see and do, no thanks to you.

You will always be here.

But you don’t get to choose where I do or don’t go. What I do or don’t do. Which stories I do or don’t write, which emails I do or don’t send. Which goals I achieve. Which I don’t.

I decide these things. Not you. Never again.

Which means that throughout the rest of my life, I’m going to fall short of my own and others’ expectations a lot. I’m going to disappoint people, and myself. I’m probably going to have some regrets. There will be moments I feel embarrassed. Things that, in retrospect, will have turned out to be mistakes.

But it also means I’m going to do a lot of things I enjoy. And I’m going to try new things. I’ll learn to let go of the people and things that are hurting me more than strengthening me.

I’ll have regrets, but fewer.

I’ll have bad memories, but plenty of good ones.

My whole life, you’ve convinced me that safe is best, that quiet is favorable, that hesitation is always optimal. And in some cases, these things are true. But not in all of them.

I am a writer. And that means I’m going to have to take more risks. Face more rejection. Feel like I’m doing all the wrong things, when in reality, I’ll be moving full speed ahead, sometimes veering off in the wrong direction, only so I can find the one where I’m supposed to go.

Fear is a part of creativity. Of living. In many ways, of thriving.

It’s not about getting rid of it.

Instead, we have to learn to gather courage to think, to create, to live even though it’s always with us.

At the very least, fear teaches us all to be brave.

And being brave will send us places we never thought we could go. As long as we remember that sometimes, fear also reminds us that we aren’t invincible. That we can’t do it all. That it’s OK to question, to worry, to consider alternate possibilities.

That’s how we get better at what we do. Being afraid to fail — so much so that we do everything we can, within reason, to succeed.


Fear is a normal part of the writing life. Here's how to deal.

All Writers Mess Up, Big Time

How to Get Over Your Fear of Criticism So You Can Be a Better Writer

We Learn Best When We're Afraid of Doing It Wrong.

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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