How to Identify and Strengthen Weaknesses In Your Writing

What’s your biggest writing weakness?

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Writing is a process. Sometimes, as we craft a new story or go back to edit something we have already written, we realize there are parts of our work that seem weak. Incomplete, maybe, or lacking in some seemingly unidentifiable characteristic. These weaknesses are often hard to spot if you don’t know how to look for them. But others will notice them – yet you’re the only one who can strengthen them.

Here are a few steps you can take to identify and begin to strengthen weaknesses in your writing.


Monitor your writing struggles

As with anything, the first step to breaking a habit or changing a behavior is to identify what that habit or behavior is. You can do this by keeping track of your writing struggles. As you write, if you pay attention, you will notice seemingly small things you don’t like about your writing; things that distract you; things you want to change. It’s important to point these things out to yourself. In some cases, pinpointing your own writing flaws is beneficial in the long-term.

Which aspect of the writing process trips you up the most? You’ll know it if you look for it. It’s that thing that stops you even when you’re deep into a flow state. It’s the part of your writing that makes you cringe when you go back to read it later. It might even be the thing that often prevents you from getting any writing done at all. If it helps, write down that thing, or multiple things, that bothers you most about your writing. It will make the next step a little easier to work through.


Pick one writing weakness to improve upon

Writers are notoriously self-critical, which in some ways can help you raise your own bar and reach for higher achievements. This also means that, as you begin to look for weaknesses in your writing style or process, you might end up creating an entire list of characteristics, habits and behaviors you want to change. Really, there’s nothing wrong with this. As long as you don’t try to rush into ‘fixing’ every single one of these things right away.

Focus on just one thing at a time. Trying to work on improving multiple parts of your writing style or process at once can be overwhelming, which makes you more likely to give into the temptation to give up before you’ve made any progress. That might make you feel like you’re not making any progress or you’re advancing too slow, but be patient. It’s better to gradually improve on one weakness at a time than try and fail to be better at everything all at once.


Set goals and take it slow

Setting improvement goals means you are committing to improve upon an aspect of your writing you aren’t satisfied with. If you’ve identified one writing weakness you want to work on, such as incorporating better character development into your stories, you’ll want to make it a formal goal in order to motivate yourself to actually put effort into making that kind of change happen for yourself. If setting writing goals is your weakness, then make it a point to set more writing goals. Don’t just say you want to do something; take action steps. Make it happen.

Again, slow and steady is often the way of the successful writer. If you have ever read or written something that was done in a rush, you already know how negatively that can affect a person’s output. It’s the same idea with strengthening your weaknesses. It’s okay if progress is slow. That doesn’t mean you aren’t making any. It means you’re putting in the time and effort necessary to make a big change and improve your writing in the long-term. That’s a good thing. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

Always remember, regardless of how many ‘weaknesses’ your writing struggles with, that focusing on your strengths is just as important to your success, if not more so. If you’re having a hard time with a part of your writing process and it’s making you feel discouraged, counter that feeling by listing off a few things related to writing you’re really good at.

Stay positive. Keep working hard. The more you write, the better your writing becomes.


What’s your biggest writing weakness? Your biggest strength?


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

6 Things That Will Make You a Happier, Healthier, More Accomplished Writer

Hint: they’re all free, but they’ll still take some work to master.

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Is it possible to be a writer, AND be happy, AND be healthy, AND be successful? Actually, yes. You’ve heard a lot of complaining from other writers, I’m sure, about everything wrong with the profession. We’re all human; venting is healthy. There are specific ‘traits,’ let’s call them, that make it possible to do what you like to do, get pretty good at it, get paid to do it and actually enjoy it.

It’s not a fairytale. There are happy, healthy and highly accomplished writers out there, and you could soon be one of them. How? Read on.

Need a hint? You won’t find any of these things in a store or on Amazon. But their value is far greater than anything you could purchase in an attempt to improve your writing life.


1. Motivation

What is it?

It doesn’t mean what you think it means, for starters. Motivation is not some abstract thing you lack when you’re trying to convince yourself to sit down and write something. You know you’ve used it as an excuse to go do something else instead at least once or twice (be honest). Motivation, for the writer, is more like purpose. It’s the writer’s reason for doing what they do. But it runs just a little deeper than that. It ends up being the thing that drives you. Your motivation to write is the only thing that prompts you to wake up in the morning and write something down.

How to get it:

  • List out all the reasons why you feel like you need to write
  • Then list out all the reasons you actually WANT to write
  • Narrow down your focus to just one of those reasons – your reason IS your motivation.

When I was first starting my journey as an aspiring writer, I didn’t really have anyone to turn to or anywhere to go for good writing advice. So I started to blog about writing, sharing writing tips and inspiration, the kinds of things I wished I’d had to read when I was just starting out. That is my motivation for blogging for you every single day.


2. Energy

What is it?

We’re talking mental and physical energy here. A writer cannot create without both kinds of energy stored away. Possibly the writer’s greatest weakness is not being able to figure out how much is too much and how little is too little. You might be the type of person to put your work (e.g., writing) before everything else, but if you do not maintain your own energy levels, well, good luck trying to keep up with the often overwhelming demands of the industry.

How to get it:

  • Take more breaks than you think you need
  • Sleep – go to bed when you’re tired and wake up when you feel rested; this can still be done on a schedule if you take the time to figure one out
  • Work out and eat right – carbs are a writer’s best friend (seriously)
  • Don’t overwork yourself – set limits and don’t write more than you have to.

I have this ongoing problem where I work myself straight into burnout mode, try to recover, get too anxious about not doing enough and dive straight into working too much again. I’m getting better at managing it. Lacking mental and physical energy honestly makes writing virtually impossible. Without adequate energy, the rest of the things on this list become unachievable.


3. Discipline

What is it? 

In terms of writing, discipline involves training yourself to establish, stick to and follow through with goals, schedules and deadlines. The writer, the successful writer, has learned to say yes to productivity and no to priorities that stand in the way of that productivity. To be disciplined means to put great effort into your craft, even if it means the occasional sacrifice.

How to get it:

  • Make writing your main focus for a large part of your day (but not the whole day!)
  • Set specific daily goals and meet them one at a time
  • When you feel low on energy, take a five minute break – then get back in and get it done

Every once in a while I accidentally on purpose procrastinate on a writing project, and end up having to write anywhere between 5,000-10,000 words in one day for just one assignment. Not recommended, and trust me, I’m working on that (GOALS). But I always somehow manage to get it done, because I have trained myself over the years to, honestly, just do it. I have one goal in mind and I chip away at it until that goal is met, no matter what it takes. With time and a lot of practice, you can learn to do the same.


4. Focus

What is it?

Focus means staying on task. You have to start getting out of bad habits like stopping to answer a text message or posting on social media when you’re ‘supposed’ to be writing. Once you stop doing something, your brain can’t just refocus back to that thing right away. Breaking your concentration can completely mess up your productivity for the rest of the day, if you aren’t careful. You have focus on that thing you sat down to do, or it won’t ever get done.

How to get it:

  • Figure out what sidetracks you; block it out
  • Set ‘office hours’ – tell your friends not to bug you between time x and time y
  • If you feel yourself losing focus, it’s okay to move on to a different activity for a little while and come back to that one – we’re not meant to pay attention to only one thing for extended periods of time.

A few months ago I deleted the majority of the apps from my phone. I love apps, but they were becoming distracting enough that they were actually preventing me from getting done what I needed to get done throughout the day. I was able to identify that they were the main culprit in my inability to stay focused and downsize to only the essentials.


5. Resilience

What is it? 

Resilience is the writer’s ability to bear and overcome the struggle and write, despite rejection, distraction, lack of energy, negative feedback and/or failure. Writers, like many other professionals, deal with a lot of not-so-fun stuff. You might spend a few hours or more hard at work on a piece that never gets approved. Early on, freelancers struggle to find decent work at decent rates. Novelists send dozens upon dozens of query letters, the majority of which go unanswered for all eternity (sigh). It’s rough. Resilience is what will get you through it – all of it – and push you toward better, less sucky times.

How to get it:

  • Don’t let other people’s opinions or criticisms knock you off course
  • Stop using distractions as an excuse; block them out no matter the cost
  • Treat failure as a learning experience – it is a cliche, but it is so true it sometimes physically hurts.

I’m stubborn and allergic to failure (ha), which is probably why I ended up writing professionally. It gets tough, sometimes. People don’t always respect writers. My work has gotten ripped apart and trashed. Most of it gets ignored. A ton of it doesn’t even get published under my name (yeah, get used to that, trust me). I just keep going. That’s what you have to do. You have to develop a refusal to stop, and act on that.


6. Balance

What is it?

Writers eventually become experts at balancing their commitments. You can’t just write all day, every day, and expect that pattern to go on for long. Writing, whether it feels like it to you or not, is still work. It exhausts you, if not right away, than eventually. And those who write for a living very rarely just write – they have other commitments and responsibilities, too. Writing itself isn’t boring, but it can be if that’s all you ever do. You have to learn to balance your writing with other work; volunteer opportunities; fun things with people you like and who like you back. And so on.

How to get it:

  • Separate your writing (“work”) time from your “relaxing” time
  • Schedule it out – don’t write when you’re supposed to be chilling out or get caught in a Netflix vortex when you’re supposed to be writing
  • Set limits for yourself so you stay productive without burning out
  • Make writing a priority, but please, take care of yourself, and your relationships

It’s still sometimes hard for me to balance my writing with other sections of my life. I catch myself accidentally going days without talking to a friend I usually talk to on a daily basis because I get too caught up in my writing. You feel like you have to do that, when you’re ‘in the zone,’ but the zone is the zone because it’s not supposed to be a constant thing. You have to step away from it in order for it to continue to have any value to your productivity.

All these things, combined, will give your writing life a little bit of structure and purpose. We all need some of that. Without it, we fall into this confusing cycle of feeling guilty for not writing, but not feeling like writing, trying to write and not doing it well, and so on. If you’re serious about writing, consider focusing on one or several of these traits. There’s more to writing than just writing. It’s a creative process that can get pretty overwhelming if you don’t manage it.

Be happy. Stay healthy. Work toward those goals. Most importantly, write. Have fun. Don’t give up.


Which of the above traits do you struggle with the most? What do you think might be the biggest hurdle would have to jump over? How can I help? :)


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

How to Train to Be a Writing Olympian – Part 2

Train to be a more skilled and disciplined writing champion.

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So you want to get better at this whole writing thing, do you? Just like training for a sport, writing takes time, and practice, to refine. There are certain things you have to do in order to get to wherever you want to go, writing-wise.

Here’s the second installment to our two-part mini series. Check out the first part if you haven’t already.


5. Get into a routine

When I’m training for something like a half marathon, there’s a schedule. It tells me, in general, how many miles I need to run on which days in order to be fully prepared to do a full 13.1 miles without dying. I will run anywhere from four to six days per week, gradually increasing my distance as the weeks go on. If I miss a day or two, it throws off everything – my body AND my motivation.

Athletes train. They know that if they start slacking off, their performance is going to suffer. While both under-training and over-training in sports can both lead to physical injury, inconsistencies in our writing schedules can damage us psychologically. I tend to fall into one extreme or the other, writing 8,000 words one day, a few hundred another day … schedules. Unfortunately, we’re responsible for creating our own. Many writers struggle with self-accountability, which is why this step is such a difficult one.

Discipline takes time, it takes repetition and it takes effort. I would suggest starting with one day a week – planning, in advance, which day, what time, where and how much you are going to write. The hard part is actually doing it – I can’t really help you with that. This is why it’s called “training.” You won’t get better unless you stop talking about it and actually do it.

Learn how to write 5,000+ words every day.

6. Keep writing, even when it’s bad

Physical training is a roller coaster. You have amazing days, when you feel invincible and like you could never run out of energy. You also have awful days, when you feel like you could just fall over and die right then and there. You don’t always know how things are going to go before you show up. Doing your best usually works, except when you know you aren’t performing well. Then you just feel miserable.

We all have bad writing days. Bad writing streaks, even. Some weeks I cringe with every single blog post, worried it’s all just fluff and it’s not going to help anyone. I do it anyway. The thing about ‘bad’ writing, for one thing, is that we’re not very good at judging the quality of our own work. Often what we think is our worst piece of writing ever turns out to be, in others’ opinions, one of our best.

For another, with every ‘bad’ thing we write, we learn from it. I can now tell exactly what I’m not doing well as I’m writing something. I might leave and come back to fix it later, or I might just accept defeat and submit or publish it anyway. But you learn. You learn your bad habits and you start catching yourself doing them. The more you write, the more you get used to not falling prey to those bad habits quite as often, or ever again.

What does writing a ‘bad’ story say about you as a writer?

7. Seek out constructive feedback

Every professional athlete has … well, probably a few things in common. One of those things is that they have coaches. They spend plenty of time training on their own early on, but eventually, they have someone there to highlight what they are doing right and point out what they are doing wrong. The athlete still does all the work: the coach simply helps guide them in the right direction.

Some writers have mentors, and you could technically consider an editor a mentor (though in many cases, they’re just there to fix your typos). But especially early on, writing is quite solitary. You’re not always going to have a teacher or a friend there to help you do better. Eventually, that will most likely change. No one is going to come to you, though. Nope. You’re going to have to go to them.

How? By submitting to publications. Applying for freelance writing jobs. Writing circles are great, and I have nothing against them, but I do tend to frown upon seeking feedback from peers in most cases only because that takes away from both your writing time and theirs. It’s a start, but professionals are going to much better serve you. You’re going to have to submit your work to publications, or at least try to. Whether you’re confident about it or not. (I still very rarely am – just do it. You have nothing to lose.)

Find constructive feedback on your writing to learn how you can improve your craft.

8. Stay positive, even in the face of rejection

Writing is hard: there isn’t an experienced writer out there who will argue with that. It isn’t just the writing itself that proves difficult, but the way your writing is received by others. People either ignore you or praise you or harshly criticize you … sometimes they’re nice about it, but it’s still technically criticism. Think, “Your resume is impressive, but …” It’s much easier for people to point out things they don’t like than it is to highlight things they do. So rejection, as a writer, hurts. It hurts bad. But so does falling off a balance beam, probably. You have to learn to live with the pain.

My first few times trying to find freelance work, I dealt with a lot of rejection. People don’t like paying experienced writers: inexperienced ones have it even harder. It’s not easy to pursue a goal, only to feel like everyone is out there waiting for you to fail. But if you’re training to perform better in a sport, and you trip and fall, of course you have two options, right? Get up and try again or give up for good.

There are actually two more options here: get up, try again and complain every second of the way, or get up, keep your chin up, make the most of your mistake and press on without a single negative comment. Insert comment about positive affirmations here. The Final Five may not have had it easy getting to where they are now, but they sure didn’t lie down on the floor and quit, now did they? Everyone deals with rough starts, and winding roads, bruises, what have you. Write through it, gosh darn it. Don’t you dare stop.

There’s a reason why you haven’t quit writing yet; remember that.


Taking your writing more seriously, setting goals, coming up with a plan, getting it done, no matter how tough and scary it is … that’s how you’re going to make it. I believe you can. You have to believe you can, too. But you also need to take it a step further, and act on that belief, to make a successful writing life happen for you.

I really hope you enjoyed this mini series! I have so many more tips related to this topic, I just might have to write another ebook … ;)

As always, feel free to leave a comment if you have anything to add, or have any questions about any of the tips I’ve given in today’s post.

Next week’s newsletter will feature a free 30-day writing schedule to help you get your writing routine in shape – make sure you sign up so you don’t miss it! Emails come only once per week – no spam. You’ll also get a link to my podcast archives (bet you didn’t know that was a thing!) and super secret updates about new things coming to Novelty Revisions.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

How to Train to Be a Writing Olympian – Part 1

If writing were an Olympic sport, we’d have a much better idea of how to train to be the best.

If writing were an Olympic sport, we’d have a much better idea of how to train to be the best … and we’d have a much better way to measure whether or not someone is “good” or just “making progress.” There aren’t that many clear indicators of what makes a writer worthy of whatever the writing equivalent of a gold medal is (Nobel Prize seems like a reach … or maybe not).

Often, what makes a writer appear successful honestly depends on how many copies of a book they sell or how many good reviews that book gets on Amazon … but that’s a rant for another post. In a nutshell, to be the best you can be at anything, you have to train. Consistently, and for an extended period of time.

But that doesn’t make things any easier. I see a lot of confusion in writing groups about what’s “right” and “wrong” or “appropriate.” Honestly? It’s about doing – writing – not about whether or not you’re doing it the way someone else recommends you do it. Training, as a writer, is the part of writing that’s mostly solitary. You need to depend on yourself, and hold yourself accountable, to meet your goals. Here’s how.


1. Explore different genres

What trips a lot of new writers up in the beginning is not really knowing what “practicing writing” means. It’s a term broad enough to intimidate newbies, because “getting better at writing” isn’t a goal most people can figure out how to achieve. The key here is to specify what kind of writing you want to get better at.

My brother has always been an athlete. Growing up, he played baseball, soccer, basketball, volleyball and ran cross country one year (I think). It took him until he got to high school to settle on soccer as his primary focus, and he now plans on playing in college. A lot of kids do this – with hobbies as well as sports. They try a little bit of everything to figure out what they like and what they’re good at. We can do the same thing with writing.

Try writing a screenplay. A poem. A short story. Figure out what you like, what your strengths are. Choose something to focus on. Maybe you just like blogging, and that’s what you want to get better at. Maybe you want to train to be a novelist; an essayist; a screenwriter. Make it easier on yourself. Pick one and run with it.

2. Start with what you have

Fun fact: I learned how to spin flags in college. For no reason other than I was bored and self-conscious about my lack of upper body strength. Problem is, you can’t learn how to spin a flag without a flag. So since my roommate was teaching me, I just borrowed hers until football season ended. By that point, I knew I wanted to keep practicing. So I asked for a flag and weight lifting gloves for Christmas, and once I had them, I could use my own equipment to practice whenever I wanted to.

Writing is similar. You don’t have to – and probably shouldn’t – go out and buy a brand-new laptop, or expensive writing software. What often happens then? You get to excited about your new tech and the idea of using it to start writing your upcoming masterpiece that you spend all your time and energy shopping, purchasing and setting it up that you waste it all. You never actually get to the writing part.

Write first. It doesn’t matter if you have a version of Microsoft Word from 2007 (like me). It doesn’t matter if your laptop is old. Goodness gracious, just sit down and start writing something. Let buying something writing-related be your reward: don’t give yourself the reward before you’ve actually done anything. To this day, opening that flag is still one of my happiest recent Christmas memories. I earned that flag. Practice first, purchase later.

3. Set SMART goals

You’re tired of hearing this. I know: I’m tired of writing about it. But the reason I’m repeating it now (and why everyone else still is) is because it seems to be the one thing new writers cannot seem to grasp. I’m part of a wonderful, supportive writing group on Facebook that encourages everyone to introduce themselves when they are first approved to join. I’ve lost count of how many introductions start with “Hi, my name is Meg, and I want to write a novel someday.” Awesome; I love ambition. But I hope, I really hope, that’s not actually their goal.

Athletes, in my opinion, have it a little easier. They can break down “I want to make it to the Olympics” into smaller goals like, “I want to make it onto this team this season” or “I want to win this tournament” or, in my brother’s case, “I’m working for that MVP and I’m not going to stop working until I get it.” (He will.) But just because they have it easier doesn’t mean it’s impossible for us.

I have a goal to reach a specific number of followers on Novelty Revisions this year – not because I particularly care about views or followers, but because it motivates me to write content every day and continually search for new ways to make it better. I set a goal to finish my novel by July 31. Even though it didn’t happen, I did make a lot of progress, which wasn’t previously happening. Saying you want to be a successful writer or published author just isn’t good enough. I’ve said this at least 50 times already this year and I’m going to keep saying it until it’s drilled too far into your brain to be forgotten.

4. Work – really work

Don’t do what I’ve been doing with my novel all week, which is write a few sentences just to cross it off my list and move on to something else (trust me, I don’t like it either). If you want to level up your writing life, just saying you want to do it isn’t going to get you anywhere. You have to work – really work.

That means a little something different for everyone. Some people need to write almost every day to exercise their creativity and keep their ideas flowing. Other people need to keep themselves on a strict writing schedule, even if it isn’t daily. I typically set word count goals to keep myself on track – 1,000 words on this project, 500 words for this one, etc. It’s like training for a half marathon. If I’d skipped a training day, I wouldn’t have been able to run 13.1 miles back in May. So I didn’t skip. At least with writing, rain can’t get in your way.

I don’t spend nearly as much time in forums and writing groups as I used to – not because I don’t want to be a supportive community member, but because I need to write. Discussing writing topics is great, to a point, but if I have a choice between talking about writing with someone and getting some writing done, you can probably guess which one I’m going to choose. Training to write better requires writing, a lot, all the time.

And much, much more.

Stay tuned for my next set of tips to help you train to be a writing Olympian! If you don’t want to miss the rest of this awesome mini-series, that follow button over to the right is yours for the clicking.

Until tomorrow … get back to writing!

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

A Lot of People Want to Write Successfully. What Makes You So Special?

In a world filled with aspiring writers, there is still no one quite like you.

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Here’s the thing … you want to be a writer. Not just to write things for the sake of writing, but to reach people. To have a voice, to make a difference. And that’s great and it’s a completely achievable dream and you should never let anyone try to take that away from you.

Yet there are thousands of people out there with the same exact goals. They can read and write. They have ideas and they’re creative and they can weave sentences together into prose that changes the way readers feel and think and behave.

That’s tough. It makes you feel like you’re not unique, like your words don’t matter, even though they do. It’s not fun and it’s the realistic side of the industry we don’t like to talk about. But we have to. Because knowing you’re not the only one who wants to “be a writer” can really make you feel like it’s not even worth a try. But it is.

Here’s how to come to terms with these feelings. In a world filled with aspiring writers, there is still no one quite like you.

We all write based on our own personal experiences

We’re all human. We all pretty much go through the same things, hit the same milestones in life and find a way to navigate the world as we try to figure out where we fit. Maybe to different extremes, but we all experience. That doesn’t mean everyone looks at the world the same way, and that is why your essay about growing up in a small town is not the exact same as someone else’s essay about growing up in a small town.

Sure, the majority of your readers and fellow writers will have been to high school, had their hearts broken or had a disagreement with their best friends. But your perspective is not identical to theirs. You have a unique approach to every subject you address, no matter what you’re writing.

There’s a difference between an idea and an opinion

Our opinions shape the way we tell stories. The fact that there are millions of Syrian refugees currently residing outside their home country is an ‘idea’ in the sense that we can acknowledge it is a current event. However, we all have our own opinions on the crisis, what we think should be done about it and from which perspective we might want to write about it and the people involved (the government’s POV? The POV of the refugees themselves?).

The difference between an idea and an opinion is that ideas are repeatable. You’ve heard the theory that no idea is really original, which is an idea all on its own. However, unlike an idea, an opinion is completely original. An opinion is formed by crafting together bits and pieces of already existing ideas and making something new out of them. An opinion, therefore, cannot be wrong. It can be criticized (oh, it can be criticized all right). But your opinion is your own, and it influences the messages you send when stringing words together.

A writer’s voice and style just can’t be replicated

Not well, anyway. Another writer’s style might influence the way you present and word things, but there’s still going to be a lot of “you” in there, whether you want there to be or not. You have your own voice when you write, the same way you have your own way of speaking when you talk. People can mimic you, but that doesn’t make them you.

A writer’s voice and style is developed simply by reading and writing. Like opinions, style is a combination of many different styles, mixed in with your own viewpoints based on the experiences you’ve had and how they have shaped the way you see things. See how that all ties together nicely? Creativity is freaking awesome.

So a lot of people want to write a book (or write in general). So what? Your experiences and opinions and ideas and words all mixed together make something that’s never existed before, and that makes you, and your work, pretty special. Don’t you think?

Image courtesy of Espen Sundve/flickr.com.

Every Excuse You’ve Ever Made for Not Writing (and Your Career Goals’ Responses)

If you’re not writing, there’s a reason why. Most likely, you’re making excuses, and your career goals have something to say about that.

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“Why am I not getting any writing done?”

There it is. The question we hate asking ourselves, but end up asking anyway. Way, way too often.

There are a LOT of reasons why you’re not getting any writing done, and most of the time, it’s probably because you’re letting yourself make too many excuses.

This ends now.

Your career goals are here, and they have some advice and tough love for you. They’re not as nice as we are. So be prepared.

I’m tired

This is basically our excuse for everything we don’t feel like doing. That doesn’t make it any more justifiable.

Your future writing career says: Of course you’re tired. Feeling tired means one of two things: either you’re working really hard and feeling those effects – which is normal – or you’re staying up too late because of your Netflix addiction (or something like that). If it’s the former, just push through it. Take breaks and do the absolute best you can. Take care of yourself. If it’s the latter? You need to seriously rethink your priorities.

I’m “blocked”

We’ve all tried this one. You’re not “in the mood,” so therefore you couldn’t possibly sit down and write anything today. No way.

Your future writing career says: No, you’re not. There is no such thing. You are just looking for an excuse not to write, and it’s a far too widely accepted one. If you’re feeling “blocked,” it’s because there is something keeping you from sitting still and focusing long enough to get your writing done. Put your phone down and start writing, whether you “feel” like it or not.

I need a break

After a long stretch of work and dealing with other responsibilities, it’s very tempting to use “needing a break” as an excuse for not writing.

Your future writing career says: If you haven’t figured it out yet, you will eventually come to the realization that if you want writing to be your career, you’re going to have to work. Hard. As important as taking breaks are, you have to fit rest into your schedule. That doesn’t mean you can just stop working. You have to keep writing anyway. If it’s not in your schedule, no break.

I don’t have anything to write about

You’ve been staring at that blank screen for way too long. It’s official: you have nothing to write about. Or do you?

Your future writing career says: You probably do. You just haven’t learned how to shift your mental focus to something you can “force” yourself to write about for awhile. You don’t know what to write about? Write about the weather. Your childhood. About not knowing what to write about. If you can’t come up with an idea … it’s because you’re not looking hard enough. Go write.

I’m too busy

You have school. You have work. You have to run errands, you have plans, you’re a parent, sibling, offspring, clown. Whatever. You’re just too busy to write.

Your future writing career says: Oh, are you? Well, here are some tips for getting writing done during the week. And here are some tips for getting writing done for the weekend. Here are some tips for getting writing done over Thanksgiving, because for some reason, that’s still apparently relevant to the Internet in February (you all click on that article every day, what is WRONG with you?). You’re not too busy to write. If you really want it, you’ll make time. Otherwise, stop complaining.

You can do this. No more excuses. Tweet #NoMoreExcuses to us with your go-to writing excuse and how you’re going to get writing done anyway.

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