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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about why we stop writing….
Do you tell yourself lies about your writing?
In a recent post, the Write Practice website offered a fascinating look into the stories we tend to tell ourselves as writers, under the headline, “Why We Stop Writing.”
In this post, writer Paul Angone highlights three important lies we often tell ourselves when we’re getting ready to give up on our writing. I totally agree with his assessment so let me summarize his ideas here:
1. It Needs to Be Perfect: Nothing about writing needs to be perfect — certainly not in the first draft. Indeed, writers are almost always much happier if they allow themselves to write a crappy first draft to begin with. And, in fact, I’ve found the concept of relentless productivity to be a secret to the creative arts. Consider the work of songwriter Jonathan Mann. He write a song a day, no matter what else is going on in his life.
2. I’m a Failure: Every mistake you make, every time something goes wrong, you have an opportunity to learn, in a way that success just cannot teach you. Mistakes are a benefit to you, not a detriment. Just ask the creator of WD-40.
3. I Should Quit: Some days, the prospect of quitting may feel unbelievably alluring and enticing. But when it does, encourage your stubborn self to take charge. The satisfaction of throwing in the towel will never match the satisfaction of finishing your writing project.
As Paul Angone puts it, “No matter how successful someone is, we’ve all faced experience with temptation to stop doing whatever we set out to do.” Don’t let your dream go to its grave. Instead, fight back. Persist.