Want to be a better writer? Stop doing these 3 things

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Do you want to be a better writer? Here are three things you need to stop doing right away

By Ann Gomez

Writing can be hard. Writing can be gut-wrenching. Writing can prompt you to question your entire existence.

Like most worthwhile pursuits in life, writing can be a struggle. But we have the power to reframe struggle when we tap into the power of of our brains.

Here are three thought patterns you can stop today, so you can be a better writer.

Stop comparing yourself to others

Comparing ourselves to other can be like toxic quicksand, pulling you deep into self-doubt. Yes, there are other people with more publications, books, and TikTok followers. But you don’t know what their backstory is. You don’t know what struggles they were going through while you were kicking butt in other areas of your life.

When we long to produce the results of other writers, we have two choices. We can dwell in self-criticism. Or we can use them as inspiration. I recommend the latter. Vicarious experience can be a powerful motivator. Remind yourself if they can do it, you can too. Then silently thank them for showing you what is possible and get back to work.

Step begrudging setbacks

J. K. Rowling is one of the most successful writers of all time. But what is less well-known is that long before we all dreamed of joining Gryffindor House, 12 major publications rejected her Harry Potter manuscript. Can you imagine if she gave up on her dream?

I share this story to remind us that setbacks happen to all of us. When we accept this reality, we stop expecting that all our plans will unfold exactly as we want. Hurdles, detours, and even failures are part of our journey.

Stop striving for perfection

I’m sure you’re familiar with baseball legend, Reggie Jackson, who hit an incredible 563 home runs in his professional career. What you might not know is that Reggie Jackson struck out 2,600 times in his career — the most in the history of baseball. But you don’t hear about the strikeouts. People remember the highlight reels.

When we take an “all or nothing” approach, we place too much pressure on ourselves to perform in any one situation. Instead, we want to adopt a mindset of failing forward.

Failure has a bad rap. But failure has an upside. Failure provides us with valuable insights and knowledge. Failure gives us experience. We don’t go back to the starting point when we fail. Rather, we learn and we feel bolstered by what we have learned. When we reframe our setbacks as building blocks, we inevitably come back stronger.

Yes, mistakes, setbacks and challenges can be messy. But they also give us the gift of hindsight we didn’t have before. We need to remind ourselves that writing is an iterative process. This doesn’t mean we adopt a laissez-faire approach. Rather, we try our best and then take the leap.

Reggie’s story reminds us we often need multiple swings before we succeed. In fact, recognizing we have multiple chances is key to fostering a positive mindset. Instead of win or lose, we either succeed or we learn. Either way, we’re winning.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop begrudging setbacks. And stop striving for perfection. When you eliminate these thought patterns, you naturally become a better writer. And you also get better at doing life.

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