I DON'T KNOW WHO NEEDS TO HEAR THIS BUT...
Updated: Mar 5, 2020
Writing is hard. It’s competitive, filled with rejection, and takes endless amounts of persistence. So I wanted to do a post today to share a little love to my fellow writers.
I don’t know who needs to hear this but. . .
1. You’re allowed to take a break!
We make ourselves feel guilty when we take some time off writing, but you’re allowed to take a break! In fact, I’d argue that it’s good to. Sometimes you need to refresh. Sometimes you need to just live your life to get inspired to write. And your mental health comes first. If you’re burnt out and overwhelmed and exhausted forcing the words out isn’t going to help. Look after yourself.
2. You don’t have to write every day to be a writer!
I HATE that publishing myth that says you have to write every day to be a writer. You don’t. You just have to move forward. Slowly? Quickly? At a glacial speed? It doesn’t matter. Go at your own pace.
Not everyone can write everyday – due to other commitments, jobs, families, mental health, chronic illness etc. Not everyone wants to write every day. But if you manage to write a couple of thousand words every other Sunday afternoon, or a few hundred on your lunch breaks a couple of times a week – eventually you’re going to end up with a book!
You're no less of a writer if you take your time.
3. It’s okay to hate writing sometimes!
‘Ink runs in my blood and stories are my soul and it bleeds onto the page for I am a writer’! Have you ever seen a post like that from an author on social media and it makes you feel really guilty? They’re poetically bleeding books whereas you feel more like you’re messily vomiting words onto the page.
When I see authors talking loads about how much they love writing and how they don’t think it’s possible to be a writer without that love, it always makes me feel kind of demotivated. Because the truth is, while sometimes I do love it, sometimes I hate it. . .
Sometimes I’m burnt out, or I’m stressed, or I’m fed up of a project, or I’ve written myself into a corner and know I have loads of editing to do, and I just hate it!
You know what though, that’s okay! We’re allowed to hate it sometimes. I mean we need to get some kind of enjoyment/satisfaction out of doing it, otherwise why bother? But we don’t have to love it all of the time.
4. You’re not too old!
There’s never a point where you’re too old to write and/or publish a book. Publishing can feel really young sometimes – I think because when big debuts are announced it’s quite often emphasized if someone is in their twenties. But people are publishing all the time. At all ages.
If you’re not published yet, stop freaking out that it’s too late. Of course it’s not!
5. You don’t have to be traditionally published to be a writer!
Sometimes we put a lot of weight onto the idea of traditional publishing. I suppose there’s a certain amount of validation that comes with it, and when we’ve all faced so much rejection we kind of crave that.
But getting traditionally published is not the only way to be a writer. It may not even be the most lucrative way of being a writer (we all read that article recently that talked about the realities of full time writing and trad publishing!).
There’s also indie publishing, smaller presses, serial fiction platforms offering monetization schemes, sites like Patreon, platforms you can post on to grow your audiences etc.
And – even more importantly – regardless of whether you’re making money off it, if you’re writing, you’re a writer!
6. It’s okay to log out of social media once in a while!
I think because social media feels like it’s somewhat in our control (whereas publishing doesn’t) we feel like we need to be a part of it at all times or we’re going to miss out. We’re scared that people are going to forget us, or we’re not going to sell any books, or an agent won’t be interested in us unless we have xx followers.
Realistically though, nothing really is going to happen if we log out. And sometimes, for the sake of our mental health, we need to. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good to build some kind of online presence as an author, but actually writing quality books is more important.
The world won’t end if you need to take a break from Twitter!
7. Nothing is make or break!
This industry can feel very 'make or break' but it's not. You make a career out of writing by writing! As a writer you’re like a small business. Something fails? No problem, work on the next project. Take the pressure off that one book. It's one product in your business. You're more than that. Keep going. Keep learning. Keep writing!
LAUREN PALPHREYMAN is a writer based in London. She is best known for her supernatural teen romance series, Cupid's Match, which has accumulated over 50 million hits online and was published by Wattpad Books / Penguin Random House, October 2019. Find her on Instagram @LaurenPalphreyman and on Twitter @LEPalphreyman.
Get hold of her debut, Cupid's Match, here!