by Melissa Tagg
So today’s Halloween. I was never all that into the holiday…until my sister had a baby. Now I have an undeniable attraction to the Halloween costume aisle at Target.
But anyway, today feels like a good day to post about the “monsters” that scare away our productivity and confidence as writers. Here are the three that tend to most nip at my heels.
There is really no point in the writing journey at which impatience stops preying on us. We’re impatient to get an agent…then a contract…then to see the book in print… to get reviews…awards…another contract…more awards. Impatience is a relentless monster, ready to chip away at us in a constant rhythm if we let it.
How to Tame the Impatience Monster:
The best weapon against impatience I’ve found is a two-sided approach: 1) Look backward at all the times a season of waiting ended with the repeat realization that God’s timing is beyond perfect. A wait never seems so bad in hindsight. 2) Look forward at what’s to come. Sure, we may not know the details. But I think sometimes we get so entrenched in the present, buried in impatience, that we forget about things like hope and anticipation…which have a pretty sweet ability to dull the waiting game-induced bruises.
Yeah, yeah, it’s the monster that chomps away at our time and uses up energy we could be putting towards our books and [insert every other marketing woe we've all heard...er, well, said]. But it doesn’t have to be scary.
How to Tame the Marketing Monster:
For me, marketing lost a lot of its bite once I had this revelation: If I really believe I’m meant to be a storyteller, that it’s actually a calling…then why run away from the idea of helping get my stories in the hands of readers? The balancing act is always going to be a challenge, but it’s a much more positive challenge when our perspective shifts.
For me, this is the worst of all writing monsters. It’s that terrifying tendency to look at pretty much every other writer out there, compare myself and my own writing, and inevitably feel like I come up short. There’s no quicker way to freeze my writing progress.
How to Tame the Comparison Monster
One of the things I’ve learned to do when I’m tempted to let comparison get the best of me is to turn the tables on it by getting excited about the awesome writing out there. Instead of worrying about whether someone else’s story is oh-so-much better than ours, let’s ask ourselves what we can learn from it.
Our journeys are never going to look the same. Each author path has its own twists and turns. So comparing is never fruitful. But learning from each other? Intentionally admiring each other? That outsmarts comparison every time.
Melissa Tagg is a former newspaper reporter and total Iowa girl. Her first novel, Made to Last, released from Bethany House in September. In addition to her homeless ministry dayjob, Melissa is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy. Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com.