The Only Writing Goal Needed For 2017

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Hundreds of blog posts preaching goal-setting methods for writers have appeared the last weeks. They expound many of the same things, the obvious old-hats we read every year. I wrote such a blog post at the end of 2015.

Many of the suggestions are sensible and will help, but they all miss (or glaze over) the one problem all writers share, beginners and professionals alike.

The problem often ignored is all in your mind.

There lay the subterfuge needling the will to write, punching holes in plot developments, and pushing over cardboard characters like props on a stage.

Writers wear three hats: creator, reader, editor.

The problem writers share is confusing the third hat (editor) with one that should have never been bought, and certainly not worn—the critic hat.

The critic is the voice in your head that tells you writing is a waste of time. The critic is a sneaky bastard, the master of clichés, whispering “that’s been done a hundred times” or “nobody wants to read what you have to say” or “you will never have the necessary skills.” In effect, the critic is a doubter, a wet-blanket, a party-pooper, a liar.

That is not to say you should not be critical of your writing. Taking a critical approach to your prose (word choice, sentence structure, plot, character, etc.) is an essential aspect when wearing the editor’s hat.

The difference between the two? The editor is analytical, the critic is emotional (with a heavy dose of negativity). Adopting the editor and denying the critic is a matter of changing your attitude.

The problem I vow to master in 2017 is Mind-Set. It will take effort, and quite a few reminders throughout the hours and days ahead while hunched over my keyboard.

I have hung on my study wall two reminders that I am a writer: a copy of The Accomplice, my published short story, and the acceptance letter.

Those are my reminders. Yours might be a favorite quote from a published author or simply the words I AM A WRITER above the monitor. Perhaps you are not quite so bold, so you have inspiration on a wall to your side, or maybe on a wall behind which forces you to swivel in your chair when attacked by doubt.

Be bold, and go where you have never gone before—place your inspiration where you can readily view it as a constant reminder of what you wish to become. What, no inspirational reminder? Find something and make it your own.

Repeat after me:

I am a Writer.

Because I am a writer, I write whether convenient or not, regardless of my mood.

My skills will improve if I write; whining about why I can’t write makes me a better whiner. Effort extended will make me better at what I spend my time doing. Better Writer or Better Whiner? I Decide.

Know this: you have the skills to succeed, and any problems or mistakes in your writing can be fixed. Now go write, and become what you are destined to be.

See you on the next page,

Rick

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Author: Knights of Writ

Writer, blogger, Business Owner, dreamer, and fantasy lover

3 thoughts on “The Only Writing Goal Needed For 2017”

  1. Good thoughts, Rick. We are our own worst enemies, and worst critics, for sure. My “reminder” is a framed “Honorable Mention” from the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. Honorable mention seems kind of sad (yay, a “participation” ribbon!) but every time I see it, it’s an internal vow to take it down and replace it with a Third Place, Second Place, First Place…

    Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” suggests giving voice to the internal critic, in the form of freewriting. Let it rave and rant and lie as much as it wants for half an hour onto the page, calling you the worst things it can imagine, then… miraculously, the critic shuts up for a while, leaving you unencumbered to create your little heart away. I was skeptical of this at first, but the first few times I tried it… wow. It’s the difference (as I recently blogged) between sprinting up a hill vs. climbing it with someone on your back. Someone telling you you suck and can’t do it and should just quit.

    1. Richard, an interesting view to let the maniac critic have his time. I have done freewriting, but never through the voice of the critic, who seems a little snobbish and regularly snippy. Perhaps a character in the next book. I wonder how he would feel being center stage and not someone skulking in the shadows whispering his poison.

  2. Great idea! Turn the spotlights on that s.o.b. and watch him shrivel.

    I think Dostoevsky did this. Raskolnikov is a representation of himself at his most cowardly and despicable. Exorcise the worst parts of yourself through fiction. See, I knew this was therapeutic 🙂

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