Ways I Hold Myself Back as a Writer

The average writer is his or her own worst enemy when it comes to motivation, discipline, and skill. We all have/had an age by which we wanted to be published, and for those of us who haven’t yet reached that goal, it can feel like we failed our own expectations.

As a kid I was never without a notebook. In every spare moment I had I wrote stories. I was blase about my poor grades in school, because ‘you don’t need a degree to publish a novel.’ I always thought by age 20, I’d have books on shelves with my name printed on them.

Join me as I throw back my head and laugh uproariously.

Part of overcoming your own shortcomings is to address them. What are the ways you’ve held yourself back over the years? Not just as a writer, but as a person? What opportunities have you squandered and which classes did you not take as seriously as you wish you had?

My blog is about creative writing, so I will stick to that subject –but I hope this inspires readers to look inside themselves and identify the ways they’ve held themselves back in any facet of life. In this exercise, it is important to only address what you did or didn’t do. No blaming others.

Without further ado:

I don’t read enough.

Apparently, reading is to a writer as gasoline is to a car. As a child and teen I read frequently, and I think it gave me the firm grasp of the English language that encouraged me to want to write, too.

I don’t write enough.

I say I want to be a writer, I say I am a writer, but I act more like a professional Instagram scroller-througher. Shouldn’t a writer write every day? Whether they want to or not?

I take “hiatuses.”

Weigh in on this one, please, if you do something similar or know what I’m talking about. I join communities, I find friends, then I disappear from them. I get this intense anxiety and can’t even check my messages. I’ve done it multiple times on Scribophile even though I’ve made some fantastic connections there. Wtf.

Sometimes, I see writing as a chore.

After the initial joy of starting a new project wears off, suddenly writing anything feels like a chore. If writing is the great passion hobby of my life, how can that be? It makes me feel so guilty. I know I still love writing, of course, because it’s always on my mind. I am always thinking about what I want to write, and when the words do flow, it’s the most euphoric feeling imaginable. I know I am meant to write.

I’m hard on myself.

Almost no one who knows me would agree with this statement, and I don’t blame them. In a lot of ways, it isn’t entirely true. When I experience a victory, I celebrate it. If someone were to ask if I write well, I would say yes, I write fairly well. I have a type B personality and am not a  perfectionist. If I make a mistake, I forgive myself. And yet, at the back of my mind, I feel inadequate. I did terribly in school. I haven’t traveled much. Among those who have gone to school for years and have been all over the world, I wonder how I could claim to possess the same hobby. I feel like a child trying to squeeze into an adult conversation.

I lose interest in things.

The joy of starting something new is tempting. It makes maintaining the same blog a struggle, because I’m always thinking, ‘I want to blog about fashion! I want to blog about technology! I want to blog about video games!’ Writing as an interest trumps all these minor things, which I inevitably run out of things to say about.

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