Mentally strong writers are not bothered by mundane things that many of us are hung up on. They have a marked assurance about them that gives them an edge to succeed. If you want to boost your happiness and success as a professional writer, then you’ve got to cultivate mental toughness and fortitude. Look at the most successful writers around. You will notice how confident, content and at ease they are with who they are and what they do. What keeps them confident, focused and bound for even more success is that there are certain things that mentally strong writers just don’t care for.
Whether they are trying to get their career off the ground or move it to the next level, mentally strong writers don’t care for instant results. They know that the best things in life take time to come into fruition. They, therefore, apply their skills to the best of their ability and stay patient as desired results marinate and take shape. If your writing goals are worth having, then they are worth working towards and waiting for. Keep pressing on patiently. The results will come eventually. Besides, there is value in incremental progress and not skipping the steps that make you merit success.
Many writers want instant fame and fortune. The problem with that is that there are a limited number of slots for fame and fortune and we have no control over who fills them. Mentally strong writers don’t care for popularity because you have no control over it. If fame comes, that's okay. But, that is not their main goal. Their goal is to write the best they can and deliver real value to readers. Write not because you want to be rich and famous, but because you love what you do, you have something to say and or you want to inspire others. That’s a less stressful and more noble path to follow.
Many people harbor unfounded, prejudiced notions about writing for a living, including family members and close friends. Mentally strong writers don’t care for any of that. It is not that mentally strong writers are narcissist; it’s just that they know listening to unfounded prejudices can greatly discourage you. They, therefore, carry on with their work not giving too much thought to naysayers because they believe in their art and their dream. Hold firm to your dream and don’t let anyone discourage you. Making a living writing is not a cake-walk, but it’s possible and many do it. As long as you continue pressing on, you have a chance. Failure is only certain when you yourself admit to it.
Mentally strong writers don’t care for perfect working environments. They know that what matters most is not that you have the best writing equipment and or working station, but that you have the best ideas and can put them down in the best possible way. They, therefore, don’t mind using an old typewriter if that’s what is available or working from a crammed coffee shop. Don’t be too picky on your writing equipment or work station. Just be content. Work with what you have and make the best of every situation. The best writers do it all the time and it doesn’t diminish their worth.
Mentally strong writers write for understanding and not to show off that they’ve been to college. They use a thesaurus, but you can’t tell that those words were not already in their vocabulary. Writers who choose big, pretentious words when simple, easy to understand ones would do, fail. Enhance reader enjoyment by writing in a simple way that can be understood easily by everyone, even those who haven’t been to college. Cut the clutter and expunge any important-sounding words that don’t enhance the meaning of what you are writing about. This will ensure you write forcefully and professionally without trading in puffery.
Mentally strong writers don’t really care for having a college degree. They just care that they can write. College education can help you become a better writer, but you ultimately have to write to get better at it. Mentally strong writers understand this and know that you can only learn so much from someone teaching you how to write. So, write. Don’t be intimidated or afraid to write simply because you don’t have a college degree. You get better and better only with practice. Legendary writers like Pulitzer-Prize winning author Harper Lee who dropped out of school are proof of it.
Lazy writers populate their writing with clichés and stereotypes because it is convenient and the first thing that comes to their mind. Mentally strong writers, on the other hand, don’t care for cliché whether it is cliched themes or cliched phrases. They write authentically and convey their message specifically without resorting to trite, overused and plain tired expressions that have been used to death. Avoid cliché generally to achieve specificity and so that you don’t deny your readers an authentic experience.
No matter how hard you work on your writing, rarely will you be happy with the first words you come up with. Mentally strong writers know this and don’t care for perfection. Instead of stressing about producing the perfect work, mentally strong writers make a real effort to polish their work to the best of their abilities. Someone rightly said that good writing is bad writing that has been rewritten. Go back over your work several times to add, delete and rewrite it so that it is just right. Mentally strong writers do this all the time and it makes them stand out. Good writing is rewriting.
Everybody experiences rejection at some point in their life. Mentally strong writers understand this and know being rejected doesn’t necessarily mean you are bad. They, therefore, take rejection in their stride because they know everything you write won’t be loved and snapped up at first sight. Use rejections, bad reviews and disappointments as learning opportunities. Turn elsewhere or change course instead of wallowing in self-pity and dejection. Miring your mental energy in disappointments doesn’t help. It only serves to hold you back. Truth is, there’s something worse than being rejected. And that’s never stepping out to write and share your ideas.
There is a sense of competition among writers, for better or worse. Nothing is outright wrong with that, but mentally strong writers don’t’ care for competition much. They know you won’t always win or be the best no matter how good you are. They, therefore, don’t fret over being the best. They simply strive to write their best piece each time not to beat everyone at it, but to deliver real value. When you have written what you want in the best possible way, let it go. If your piece touches and impacts at least one person notably, you have done your job well and can sleep easy.
Talent is overrated and mentally strong writers know it. They don’t care for it much. That’s because astute, methodical and consistent work trumps raw talent every time. You can be the most talented artist, but if you don’t practice your art and stick to it long enough you don’t really stand a chance against a less talented artist who is resolute and persistent. Work hard for your success. Write better today than you did yesterday and better tomorrow than you did today. Time and effort is what really counts for success.
Writing is a hard-knock career. Mentally strong writers know it invites a bevy of slings and arrows from trolls on the Internet, readers, reviewers and even editors. You cannot please everyone and shouldn't even try. Mentally strong writers don’t care for pleasing everyone. They live their life according to their values and convictions, striving to be kind and fair minded always. Don’t allow harsh critics and barbs of online trolls get to you. Ignore them heartily and keep doing what you do. Respond to unfair critics in passing only when you must. Trolls don’t deserve your attention. They are people who post sociopathic comments just for the sake of posting sociopathic comments.
Mentally strong writers don’t care for lies, deceit and inaccuracies. Their conscience wouldn’t allow it. They get their facts right even when they are writing fiction. It’s not enough to sound right. It has to be right. Check your facts and make sure they are correct. This way you won’t come across as deceiving or dishonest. Instead, you will build up your reputation as a credible writer and establish yourself as a true professional.
Mentally strong writers don’t need inspiration to write. They write when they feel inspired and when they don’t. That’s because they are professionals and know if you wait for inspiration you might never write anything. Inspiration comes and goes as it pleases and you have no say in that. Don’t wait for it to come for you to write. It is unreliable and not necessary to wait. Sit down and just write. Creativity flows through the act of writing.
Mentally strong writers are aware of the abundance of conflicting writing rules and advice out there. They don’t care for any of it. They simply trust the little voice in their head that tells them they’re on the right path and write what uniquely suits them, their purpose and their audience without lowering their guard on the basics of sound grammar, good spelling and healthy mechanics. Don’t be afraid to break the rules as long as you don’t break the law. Writing rules are not cast in stone. As George Orwell advised in his Rules for Writers, break any rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
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by Hugh MacLeod
Ever wonder what it really takes to make a living as a creative person in today's complicated world?
MacLeod presents some witty keys for creative success, including "ignore everybody. Why should you "ignore everybody"?
Because, he writes, nobody else can tell you whether your idea is worthwhile. People can give you advice, but at the end of the day, it's your decision. The more original an idea, the less helpful the advice is going to be.
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