The 5 Realities I’ve Accepted As A Writer

You know what I like about pursuing a certain discipline? It’s that it teaches me about everything else in life. Because the way you do something is the way you do everything.

Writing is no different. I’ve learned so much more about myself thanks to the craft. For one, it’s taught me how much of a procrastinating bum I am.

Besides that, it’s also highlighted how much I can dream, yet not pursue said dream out of fear, or laziness, or who knows what else. In a way, writing has helped me address some problems, and come to terms with others.

And here’s me coming to terms with certain… not so fun facts about writing, thanks to writing.

1. I’ll never achieve greatness

So I lived for ten years next to this neighbour, right? And he loved to sing. From the NSYNC era to Ed Sheeran’s, I’d listened to him belt a verse every time he bathed or washed the dishes.

Throughout the decade, I witnessed his growing passion in music. He started busking for a living, according to his mum, and he was to be a serious musician. But here’s the thing. He still isn’t good today.

Yup, ten years of singing, and his voice still feels like nails on a chalkboard for me. But don’t just take my word for it. Various friends who’d dropped by my place also asked me why the dude was shouting more than he was singing.

Why do I bring this up? Because that could be me in writing.

Like my neighbour, I’ve spent a decade on my craft, and since it’s such a subjective pursuit, I have no idea if I’m getting any better. All I have is my faith that I am.

I’ve grown to accept that there may be a limit to how much I can improve. You know how you’ll never catch up to a gymnast, or figure skater, or musician who’d learned their discipline as a child? That’s how I feel. There are levels to this, and I probably won’t reach the upper echelons of the craft in this lifetime.

But that’s okay. That only gives me the freedom to write what I want, since I won’t need to worry about being the ‘best’.

2. I can’t make others like me

I never ever put out a post with bad intent. The goal has always been to entertain or inspire. But a black cat to me is going to mean something different to you. And what I see as motivating may be interpreted as offensive to others.

Take working out, for example. I’ve always seen physical pursuits as a necessary complement to writing, since it addresses the same resistance towards starting.

But there have been instances where I was accused of not being inclusive because I wasn’t taking into account the people who weren’t able to exercise. At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before I’m accused of toxic productivity.

I can only travel down one path in writing. I can only convey one message a pop. I can’t think of the zillion other issues that surround a certain topic, and people who stand on the opposite end of my views will inevitably feel alienated.

And there’s nothing I can do about that.

It’s the same as when I worked under an editor that hated my work, returning my drafts slashed and scrawled in red ink every time I handed in an assignment.

There’s a saying we used to share in hairdressing: “Even the best stylists have their haters, and the worst have their fans.”

The sooner I accept that I can’t please everyone, the sooner I can get to pleasing those who do resonate with my work.

The people pleaser in me isn’t pleased about that, though.

3. I have to pursue my own approval

At least in my part of the world, writing will always be seen as a pastime more than a worthy career. It’s not stable nor lucrative enough to be seen as respectable career.

Nobody cares if I wrote 1,000 word every day. That’s an equivalent of painting something new every day, which would only impress other fellow artists, but would do naught for the typical layman.

Which is why I the only person’s approval I should earn is my own. I care that I’ve written 1,000 words, and I know how hard it is to maintain that pace every day without rest.

I believe that we all have this inner judge within us, one that looks at our day’s efforts and determines if we’ve done enough to merit their blessing. And this judge’s decisions manifest themselves as the anxiety that we haven’t done enough, or the smile we have from a day well-lived.

I’ve accepted that the only person I need to impress is this judge, and no one else. Which makes everything that much harder, because the judge is actually harder to persuade than the average bystander.

But you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

4. I’m going to hate 90% of my work

I know you know how this feels too. I’m never truly happy with everything I ever put out. There’s always something I can improve on. Phrase a sentence better. Make the message pop. Not be such a dullard.

But facing that doubt is part and parcel of the writing life.

The fact of the matter is that this is me. Whatever I put on paper is the culmination of my practice throughout the ages. I’ll hate my work even more if I start comparing it to others’.

Which is why I’ve accepted that something will always feel off whenever I hit the Publish button on WordPress, or when I send in my manuscript to a publisher, or when I hand in my assignment to an editor.

That’s okay though, because to me, the writing life isn’t about persuading others to like me. It’s about finding my tribe and writing for them. And for this group of people, there’s very little I can do wrong, even though I feel all fifty shades of it when sharing my work with them.

5. Writing will always be my side hustle

Let me be honest with you. Besides being employed full-time, there’s very little I can do with writing in terms of money.

I’m six manuscripts in and I’ve only published one. I didn’t get paid very well for that either. I have a bunch of short stories that only served as writing practice, and I don’t get as many freelance opportunities to sustain my living.

In other words, writing the stories I want will always be a side pursuit. Sure, I could earn a decent living joining a marketing agency or an online magazine, but if I’m going to be paid for my writing, I want it to be for my fiction, or essays like this.

And as a realist, I know that it’s better to earn a living with a more practical day job, and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to my writing.

Onwards and upwards

Weirdly enough, the more I accept that I’m not special, the better I work. Because thinking that I have my magnum opus inside me just relegates me to the whims of the muse.

But realising that the only edge I’ll ever have is hard work means that I may or may not end up with that one novel I’ll truly be proud of.

And either way, I’ve come to terms with that.


What realities have you accepted in your writing journey? Let me know in the comments! Also, if you haven’t joined the newsletter already, you’re missing out on a ton of exclusive content similar to this!

98 thoughts on “The 5 Realities I’ve Accepted As A Writer

  1. To paraphrase Elizabeth Moon, if someone is writing for fame and riches, they’re in the wrong business (for so many reasons). Writers write because we have something to say, a story to tell. It’s like breathing. We can’t help it.

    • Indeed! But self-acceptance also comes from first actually loving the self, which is also something I’m actively working on. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, Ryan!

  2. You’ve touched on something here… “the more I accept that I’m not special, the better I work.” Instead of now thinking that there’s anything that stands out about my writing, I come more from a perspective of perseverance. The blogosphere tends to be oversaturated in January of every year – everyone who decides this is the year they will take the blogging thing to a more serious level (I’ve been there plenty of times) but by February, half of them drop off and then by March few are still left hanging. I now see my perseverance as the biggest factor in my “success”. And that’s what keeps me writing every week :) Like you said, you just gotta do this writing gig thing for you and your tribe!

    • You remind me of Cam Hanes. He says that he doesn’t have any special talents, other than outworking the competition. I guess that’s what we gotta do. Just write more and endure longer than the everyday writer, and have faith that putting one foot in front of the other would someday bear fruit (but also take pride in the process itself).

      Thanks so much for your thought-provoking comment, Jen! I appreciate you.

  3. I agree that writing is subjective…hence poison may read like another man’s great novel….or voices may sound like nails on chalkboard…hahahaha

    • Weirdly enough, I feel that more people can agree on what decent singing sounds than what good writing is.

      As in, the genre in music might not meet some people’s preferences, but they can mostly tell what’s a competent singer, despite what they like or dislike.

      In writing I feel like it’s the Wild West, lol. Even grammar rules don’t apply. I find that pretty interesting.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jeanne!

  4. This is a great series of life lessons that, as you suggested, can be applied to so many other areas. As for levels, you may not be JK Rowling, but to have a novel published is HUGE, at least from where I’m sitting.

    • I guess I’m suffering from the grass-is-greener syndrome. But yeah, that’s the danger of aiming for results instead of improving myself. Once I reach somewhere, I still feel like the same ol’ me. Which is a pretty good lesson in itself. Thanks so much for triggering these insights with your lovely comment!

  5. I’m so late to the party, I don’t think it even matters for me to comment, but I don’t think you should ever downplay your talents, although I know you’re modest and will continue to do it. I think you’ve already achieved greatness–your dedicated following attests to that. As for me, I’ve accepted I’ll never make anything of writing, so I just write when I want, what I want, and don’t stress about perfection.

    • If commenting on old posts has taught me anything, it’s that it’s never too late to stop by! Heck, I even do so on your blog, lol. Thanks for the love, Hetty, I really appreciate that. But you too shouldn’t discount your writing, because I’ve always found your voice to be so natural and pleasant on the ears (yup, the rhythm).

      At the same time, there is also a beauty to creating without the need for perfection, so you’re onto something there.

      Anyway, thanks again for your lovely words!

  6. I experiment with reading and writing. My brain doesn’t work the same way anymore, but what can I do about it, try? My life is much the same as yours. At 35, any new road proves more difficult than the last, and my heart fills with dread. Each year drags me further to the deep end where I will grow tired and sink with the rest.

    People used to tell me I could write, my grandma still adores my poetry, and my aunt thinks deeply about my flash fiction. I wrote a few novels, and threw a few away. I’ve never done acid but my traumatized brain rolls around and produces some whacky modern art now. I notice some of my strange “moves” from my brain that artists who didn’t have a messed up brain picked up and turned into classics, especially when I start to twist around or become lyrical.

    Don’t feel bad about your editor bleeding his frustration on your work. I had a PhD candidate once who wrote pages and pages of suggestions on my papers, wouldn’t tell me what he wanted in an essay, or it would ruin my “creativity.” In the end, we parted ways with me holding my C+ like a shield. Even the people who tutored me were butchered by his pen-blade. I think he was having issues, lots of stress. They should let me take that class again for real, man.

    I’ve been taking English classes online through my community college.

    And lastly, addressing your issues with continuing up and away from the mundane, we all have limits. I have a poor vocabulary that I have to slowly work on. I learned my writing is absolute crap now, too. I use the passive voice too much, too many prepositions. I’d beat myself down more from simple writing, but it seems to be the style nowadays.

    • Always love these long and thoughtful comments.

      I’ve always believed that your gifts will always be announced by others, so if your loved ones keep repeating the same appreciation for your writing, perhaps there’s something there.

      If you want to test out the hypothesis, you can try doing something you suck at around them—like me and singing, lol—and see if they show you the same appreciation.

      And your writing class sounds harrowing. Thankfully, you’re done with that now.

      Anyhoo, I believe that writing shouldn’t be something we stress ourselves too much over. Sure, we’d love to do our best, but I am still learning how we could end up starving the world from our unique perspectives if we judge ourselves too harshly.

      Anyway, thanks for your wonderful thoughts!

  7. Hi. You know yourself, which makes life a much easier and enjoyable proposition. I’ll mention this about my blog: I feel good that I’ve published regularly since starting it in 2015, even though my pace has slowed down. I think of myself as a columnist, I suppose, and enjoy creating the pieces. The writing process always amazes me. What a fascinating, mysterious trip it is. Neil S.

    • That’s a crazy long time to have blogged, and it shows that you’ve been regular, judging from the engagement you’re receiving. And it’s cool that you enjoy the process itself, because not many writers can say the same thing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  8. Dari poin 1 hingga poin 5. Semua poin seakan-akan menceritakan diri saya sendiri. Yang cukup membuat saya tersakiti adalah poin kedua. Ini bukan tentang tulisannya. Saya terpaku kepada – bagaimana cara menyenangkan orang lain dan membuat mereka suka dengan saya- padahal faktanya saya tidak bisa memaksa mereka menyukai saya.

    • Lol, ada masanya, walaupun kita tidak memaksa orang menyukai kita, ada juga orang yang akan membenci tanpa sebab. Memang tak boleh ditolong, fakta ini. Yang paling teruknya bila saya tak berniat pun nak buat orang rasa marah. Itulah hidup, kan?

      Long time no see. Good to see you again!

  9. I totally relate with your second and fourth points.

    It’s very easy for me to cringe at the 800 words I’ve written 2 days ago, and no matter how much I put into writing it.

    And then these days, everyone seems to get upset at your entire essay simply because you spelt ‘color’ with the American spelling and you didn’t include the British version. Lmao. It’s gonna be aiit.

    • There seems to be a lot of reasons to be upset, that’s for sure. In fact, I think we’re the most upset we’ve ever been in history.

      I mean, we were probably upset before, but having to say it to someone’s face does change things.

      And yes to cringing forever. Maybe that’s part of the writing life, lol. Thanks so much for visiting!

  10. Dang, this post was waaay too relatable. Loved that opening paragraph, it made me laugh so hard 🤣

    The one thing writing has taught me is if you’re stuck in a writer’s block and if you’ve suddenly gotten an idea (even if it’s a single word or a phrase or a silly idea), just pedal to the medal and start typing whatever comes to mind. It’s better than getting frustrated over nothing. Quite surprisingly, this tip has worked a lot for me.
    Also, when I read my middle school diary out of boredom; I literally cringed at how awful the handwriting and grammar was back then. It was almost as if a cockroach had run over the page after falling into an ink pot 😅

    Great post, once again!

    • Lol I love the image of a cockroach running on the page with ink on its legs. I can totally imagine how those pages would look like.

      And pedal-to-the-metal writing is awesome. I think that’s why I love writing sprints. Because we’d be surprised at the words just waiting to come out—if only we’d stop listening to our inner editor—and sprints help with that.

      Thanks for sharing that great tip!

  11. All 5 points have lined up perfectly with my mental process that took me until 2020 to figure out.
    1- I actually figured this out first, just by playing the numbers game. With all the books being published daily, and the content creators on YouTube, Patreon, Wattpad, etc, stardom is essentially a pipedream. But if God wills it to be, then fame will find you. Which will require obligations of course. That said, even the smallest star has its place, so I’m fine with being small. If the book or blog inspires someone, great. If not, maybe one day they will. (Also, on a greedy note, being small is a lot easier on the taxes.)
    2- I had a chameleon personality for basically my entire life, but with this one, I found that when you are a chameleon, people like you for being a chameleon. The moment one stops being a chameleon is the moment the knives come out. And so I have a simple philosophy. “Let them hate”. I have no control over people and I won’t let them have control over me or my writing. If someone hates my work let them hate it… Unless its because of bad grammar or terrible structure, then we could agree on the hate.
    3- Ties into 2. When you’re a chameleon, you seek the approval of others for your own happiness, rather than relying on yourself for your happiness. A happier you means a better productive you, and a better productive you means a happier you-judge.
    4- I think I hate 95% of what I draw, and for the writing part, I don’t have a good number, but I will say that I always find everything wrong when I read my published works. Like, I could have done this or that differently, or had this character do this or that, or why did I even write the whole chapter like that? All just a live and learn experience.
    5- Yep. I’m being content with writing as a side job. My job pays enough (will probably get a raise soon since I got a 98% on my evaluation). If my writing expands as I get better that’ll be great, but I’m not shooting to be the next big franchise butchered by Hollywood. I’m just writing because I like it.

    • Whoa, what an awesome comment here, and what great reference points for other readers as well!

      Getting my stories butchered by Hollywood would be a dream, lol. But it’s so awesome that you’re at a place that allows you to pursue writing without pressure.

      “Let them hate” sounds a like “let them have cake”, and perhaps the messaging isn’t too far off either, where it concerns the message we want to give our haters, lol.

      Yeah, that’s probably the reason why I don’t like reading anything I’ve put out, because I’m bound to find something wrong, then I get all disturbed by having people read said mistakes or clunky prose.

      Once again, thanks for this lovely comment, JB!

  12. The singing neighbor cracks me up. I wonder how you put up with him. Sounds like he has a voice only him mother could love. If he’s busking for a living, I wonder if people are dropping money for him to shut up.

    People feel you’re alienating those who can’t exercise. Please. “Toxic productivity.” Ha! Super annoying how people can come up with anything to be sensitive about these days and pretty much get away with it. I’ll probably get in trouble for having said that. But, for reals…

    I’m kind of pondering when/if I’ll reach a point where the querying is no longer worth it. The effort to get published kind of sucks the joy out of the writing.

    • Lol, right on! I follow Cam Hanes on Instagram, and when I read his comments, all I see is vitriol for him wanting to wake up at 4am and run. I mean, he just wants to do him, but even then there are haters. So I guess you can’t escape being misunderstood for your intentions.

      Yeah, I guess the grind of getting published is best taken in bite-sized pieces, or as much as we can stomach, because it really does suck away at the soul. But that’s what unites us writers too, so I guess it’s a plus.

      Loved reading your thoughts, Betsy!

      • My take on the people “mad” at Cam Hanes for waking up at 4 am is that he makes them feel bad about themselves. They take it out on him. If he were to say, “I ate an entire large pizza and fell asleep with my face in the greasy box,” they would love him because they’d think, “At least I’m not THAT guy.” So, yeah, whatever… People are strange. (“When you’re a stranger. Faces look ugly when you’re alone.” Sorry, now that Doors song is in my head.)

        Writers are united in pain.–That should be a tagline somewhere. Of course, once one of us lands a 2-book deal and movie options, they’d be Cam Hanes to the rest of us. ;)

  13. Lovely post, as usual, Stuart.
    I have always enjoyed writing anecdotes and poems. Few year ago, a friend suggested that I post them on Facebook. So I posted for fun without expecting anything and got a resounding response from family and friends. They asked me to write and post more.
    Then two years ago, my cousin gifted me a blog on WordPress for my birthday. I continued to write though I did not get many likes or comments. Of course, it was disappointing not to get any feedback.
    But I know that I am not a writer and my kind of writing is not everyone’s cuppa tea. So I fully agree with, “I’ve accepted that the only person I need to impress is this judge and no one else.”
    My motto is, “As long as I can sleep well at night knowing I have done my best and not intentionally hurt anyone today, I am happy.”
    Best wishes

    • I love your motto. The first part of the sentence reminds me of this one: “Judge ourselves not by the harvest we reap, but by the seeds we sow.”

      And of course, not hurting anyone goes without saying.

      It’s challenging though, isn’t it? To write on and on, not knowing what will come out of it? I’m trying to recondition my perspective though. I know that the true value is in the work. I just need to truly find it.

      Anyway, always great to see you here, Chaya!

  14. Good post. I especially liked point number 2. I can’t possibly consider every side of an issue because I’m only one person. There will always be people who are offended. Hopefully they find writers who speak to them… and I just have to keep writing what I know how to write for the people who do like it.

    It’s encouraging to see the maturity and peace you have with yourself and your writing! Keep it up!

    • As much as I’ve accepted that fact, it still sucks to come across a harsh comment, as one, I hate confrontation, and two, I don’t like making people feel bad.

      But we gotta do what we gotta do, eh? Thanks so much for your supportive words, Alena. I appreciate you!

      • Oh yes, accepting the fact and actually dealing with it are two different things. 😂 I’m the same way.

  15. Great post! And I think this can apply to many things in life. The only thing I would say though, is that writing – and all the other “arts” – is completely subjective, so you might never know how much your work can affect other people. Even among the “Greats”, some people are more receptive to one’s style, while feeling absolutely nothing with another one that maybe someone else loves.

    • Ha, I totally get this. I don’t resonate with many of the greats. Maybe it’s because my genre is primarily sci-fi, and thus the top writers from various other genres don’t do it for me. Thanks for reminding me of that perspective, Juliette!

  16. Hey Stu I feel you man! Thanks for speaking what’s often in my mind too. And I luv that first bit when you said: “…the way you do something is the way you do everything.” SO TRUE! It’s why we keep writing because it’s shaping how we see and think and feel and do everything else in our lives. So I know you’re not gonna beat yourself about it but press on and keep going onwards and upwards! Remember, you are a published author now so wear that with pride and don’t let anyone (including those inner voices) prevent you from continuing to write to your tribe (which includes me!). Keep dazzling us every week pal! You got this!! And we got you *bicep flex* yeah!

    • Aww, what kind words, Kelvin! And yeah, it’s super easy to forget the achievements, because I think that’s how the writing life is structured. Long periods of writing for seemingly nothing, and one tiny achievement if you’re lucky. But with kind words like yours, it’s easy to stay motivated. I appreciate it!

  17. Harsh truths Man. I agree to an extent that writing is hard and for me it is a side hustle but I want to turn it into a career, my mother loved writing and so do I it runs from my mother’s side. Great post Stuart😊🙌

    • That’s so cool that you have your mother pave the path for your interest, and perhaps you could do the same for your children someday. It really is a tough industry to stand out in, but your enthusiasm for the craft shows, and I wish you all the best with your journey!

  18. We don’t know what the future holds for us. But all we can do in this moment is to put in our honest efforts and pursue something that we really love with all our heart, knowing that we gave it our best shot.

    I’ve always wanted to be a writer, however, it took me a long time to realize that I can’t call myself a “writer” unless I actually start writing stuff. Good, bad, whatever it is, at least we are trying to put our words out in front the world and not giving up on our dreams. :)

    Keep writing!!

    • Hear hear! So many of us try to be writers by first living the lifestyle. Drinking, buying a typewriter, attending writing seminars—but when it comes to the actual thing that’ll make us a writer, we do our best to avoid it.

      We could do much worse than to fill in a blank page, I say. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts!

  19. What a beautiful post to read Stuart. The acceptance and realizations you have made throughout. I’m with you on procrastination and self doubt before hitting that submit button. But I’ve certainly become so much better at believing in myself since taking up writing as a hobby! Thanks for sharing Stuart. Look at what you have achieved 😊

    • Growing in one hobby does indeed give us the confidence in other areas of our lives. I think it’s important we find the thing we want to improve in, because without that, I’d argue that life would seem very purposeless in comparison.

      What a lovely comment, Bernie. I appreciate you!

  20. Now I need to hear your neighbor sing. Perhaps listening to him will make me think, “Well, at least I’m better than that schmuck.” I’d say if writing gives you pleasure, that’s a good enough reason to keep doing it. You must be doing something right because you write engaging material that makes people laugh, think, and respond.

    • No matter how my neighbour sings, I gotta give him credit for sticking to it for so long. Now I feel bad for bringing it up though, because he might be doing it out of pleasure too, and here I am yucking his yum.

      But yeah, you make a good point, Pete. We need to know why we do what we do, and if the pursuits fulfil us, then we could do much worse than to continue down that path.

      Thanks for stopping by as always!

  21. I think we’ve all got that inner critic inside of us and that part that’s never satisfied. Perfection is all about accepting that we’re imperfect but so long as we can feel relatively pleased at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what others think. Just love what you do hey. Happy writing Stuart and thanks for being so real in your own writing journey. 😊

    • I love the way you put it, that perfection is about accepting we’re imperfect. Loving what I do is something I need to be reminded of from time to time, so thanks for this, Miriam! Am glad that you stopped by :)

  22. “There are levels to this, and I probably won’t reach the upper echelons of the craft in this lifetime. But that’s okay. That only gives me the freedom to write what I want, since I won’t need to worry about being the ‘best’.”

    No matter what we do, there will always be someone more advanced at the skill than us. I’m sure even best-selling authors even question their words at times, and they definitely have their own muses and heroes in the field. I like how you focus on being able to write what you want. I think once we let go of others’ expectations or that dreaded writer’s imposter syndrome, we feel a lot happier about our writing and can enjoy it more as well. And that makes us successful in our own way, even if we’re not “the best”. :)

    • Indeed! It’s comments like yours that spark thoughts in my head, and I’m realising that while the greats have skills I can never reach, they at least share one thing in common with me, and that’s the joy of writing. In fact, ALL of us can experience that no matter our skill level, and I find that special. Thanks for your lovely comment!

      • That’s so true! I’m a firm believer that we should find joy in what we do; if someone loves writing, whether they’re an award-winning author or still learning to string a sentence together, they should do it!

  23. “the more I accept that I’m not special, the better I work” – this one really resonated with me. I think there is an advantage to just focusing on being in flow and doing your best in a particular moment..without that comparison component..

    • Aw yeah. And when we take it another step further, we can even stop comparing to ourselves, which can be challenging sometimes, because it sucks when you flowed so well yesterday but can’t do the same today. Thanks for your comment!

  24. Oh man these are so true. Especially #1 – that just hits hard. I hate to say it, but persistence is no guarantee of success or improvement. And now you’ve got me wondering if I am as bad a singer as your neighbor because I’m also one of those annoying people who sings all the time. I’d like to think I’m not that bad, but I am well-aware that my singing abilities are highly dependent on song choice and # alcoholic beverages consumed. Also #5 – no one ever talks about this enough and I think it’s important for writers to be realistic. Great post

    • It took me a while to accept #5. I’ve always had this notion that it’s a career path to aspire to, and for me personally, yes, I can still do that, provided I can also sustain myself realistically. So while I won’t let the dream die, I know that it’s healthy to NOT bank everything on it, especially the rent, lol.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! And as for your singing, I’m sure that there’s nothing a couple of pints can’t fix :P

  25. Thanks Stuart, you’re an honest straight shooter.

    This reminded me of one of my favourite quotes,
    Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. Oscar Wilde

    Oh btw, I too have a neighbour who thinks he’s the next Steven Tyler.

  26. Nice article. To be honest, I don’t have any interest in joining the upper levels of writing. I feel there’s certain level of distance when you reach it with common life, too much philosophy and not much reality.

    Of course, I could be wrong, but I kind of get the feeling by checking out notable works in literature on wikipedia for each year.

    Also, your interview is live!

    • Lol, to continue the honesty, I’m going to say that I’d LOVE to join the upper echelons of writing. But if it’s not going to be through my own effort, then yeah, I’d pass, because I won’t feel like I belong otherwise.

      Woop woop, awesome stuff. Will be heading over to check it out!

  27. I accept that writing will never be a money-maker for me. It’s a hobby, and one that gives me pleasure, and that makes it worthwhile. I do have a goal to write a book when I retire. Again, more for the sense of accomplishment. If I do it, and it makes a bit of money, great. If not, I can feel good that I did it.

    • I have to admit that it took me a while to come to terms with this. After all, you should ‘chase your dreams’ no matter the cost, right? That’s the way, right?

      But we each have our unique paths to take, and I’m starting to realise that it wouldn’t hurt to also have a decent-paying job while I chase my dreams.

      Thanks for sharing your amazing perspective, Michelle!

  28. Love this article! I especially resonate with your first point — I personally feel like there’s not really a point in competition when it comes to writing, because we all work at our own respective levels, and with the ideas that we have.

    • Oh yeah. And since it’s so subjective, there’s really nothing much to compete against. Maybe sales figures and publishing deals are a metric, somewhat, but one person’s 50 Shades is another’s Infinite Jest, amirite? Thanks for stopping by, Izzat!

  29. Such an interesting post. I don’t think you have to work at making people like you, Stuart – you are eminently likeable and wise! But I’ve noticed something that feels like a corollary to your #4 (you are going to hate 90% of what you write). I notice that once I publish something, it is part of my past. The more I grow, the further I get from who it was that wrote that book/article/post and then it’s hard to market that old writing because it’s part of my past. Does that make any sense?

    • Haha, sounds a bit inception-ish there, but I think I get what you mean. It’s like a snapshot of who you were, and as we undoubtedly get wiser with time, the old snapshot of ourselves may not be the best thing to look at, zits and all. That’s an interesting perspective (if I’m getting it right, lol)!

  30. Theres a lot of wisdom here. Thank you for sharing! I think I get caught in the trap of not wanting to do the work that focusing requires, and fearing that what I write will be a waste if it diesnt turn out right. It’s really hard to just say “Write anyway.”

    • Great points you bring up there, Jennifer! That’s why I like to approach my writing as if I’m writing an e-mail, sometimes. Or a comment. It takes all the need for perfection out of the work, and I can proceed to transferring thoughts from head to paper (or screen).

      Thanks so much for your lovely support!

  31. I’m in your tribe Stu no matter what rumors I’ve heard about you.
    😂😂😂
    That would be none but if i heard any from the hairdresser, I’d arm wrestle them.
    In other words, you can do no wrong in your writing with me and I love everything about your writing style.
    This had me laugh out loud…”Yup, ten years of singing, and his voice still feels like nails on a chalkboard for me.”

    I agree no matter what we do in life, it usually boils down to the same problem.. funny how that is. Right now my hip is bugging me so I have to adjust, adapt, find other ways, take my own medicine and not be so damn bendy and it’s killin me but we know… yes what doesn’t kill us makes us… _____ I’m tired of that tho.. 😂😂😂

    My published poem yesterday was truly one of those where the inner critic was so loud, I had to snap out of it. Thank God my followers cut me some slack and love me anyway… just like I do you.

    Great writing always and thanks for the great post Stu… Always!

    And now I have 2 big things I’ve been procrastinating about and it’s not blogging… so I best go!!!
    An interview about me due like soon and chapter 2 in my “book coming soon”? why don’t I believe this. 😂😂😂😂 And don’t give me any jargon self help lines… those are what I write about … haha!

    Have a great day and thanks for the tips and entertainment.
    💖🌞💖🤗

    • Aww, Cindy, you sure do know how to make my day. I can feel the warmth all the way from your end of the world (and I’m pretty sure it’s not just the global warming).

      Likewise, you’re constantly a source of inspiration for me as well, one of the many reasons being how well you adopt so many mediums—something I dare not try.

      Thanks for stopping by as always, Cindy. I appreciate you :)

      • Smiling ear to ear Stu which touched a warm spot in my heart.
        I’m beaming by your admiration as well and together we are better by staying in our lanes but crossing over well……because when hearts merge, we can and do.

        Global warming or not, you shine and I’m better because of you.

        Your poetic prose in your last comment proves you can do anything if you want to!

        But I’ll let you write your novels as I write my self help and poetry. God help us. 😂🤗

        It’s always a pleasure my friend. I appreciate you as well!
        💖💖

  32. We seem to be on the same wavelength lately. Serendipity: talked about my procrastination to a coach yesterday, and how it is linked to my perfectionism. I also accepted that this programming won’t be resolved. But, I can use pragmatic methods to help me overcome the negative emotions I try to avoid by procrastinating.
    I also learned that my perfectionist self would rather fantasize than deal with the humdrum of my real life…ouch. Time to work on a more exciting (real) life.

    • Lol, I realise I’ve been dealing with the perfectionist side unconsciously too. So I’ve started treating every project as if I’m writing an e-mail to a friend.

      But that only helps with the writing, not the sharing. For the latter, I’ve opted to reframe it as gaining XP (like in games). The more words I publish, the more points I’m accumulating. My job is to keep levelling up that way.

      Anyway, hope you get over your own perfectionist tendencies. They’re not easy to shake off.

      And thanks for visiting!

      • Good tip for gaining XP. I will think of something comparable, most likely something girlie. 😄 Well, need to think of it before the next post. Haha

  33. Right on! Once we realize we’re on our own paths, we’ve won the battle. Maybe, but then again, there’s always the doubt, so maybe not. (little joke there). I think we’re good if we can laugh at ourselves now and then.

    • Yeah, it’s pretty empowering to know that despite what other people say, we can still forge ahead according to what we uniquely believe. And this applies to everything from writing tips to career progression. Always appreciate you stopping by!

  34. Oh Stuart, I just want to give you a huge hug because… just yes! I think it’s posts like this that really make you so readable, and so likeable – you’re real, you’re honest, you’re relatable, you’re you! I know a lady who has produced about half a dozen books now and… to be honest, they’re just not that great. The problem I think? Her focus is on the money, not on the content she creates! When you care, you care about your work, you care about your output and that’s what keeps people coming back. Who cares about the money? You care for your passion!

    I’m sorry to hear about your editor. Not similar but kind of similar also, I once joined a writing group and the lady who ran it also hated my writing style. She wanted us all to write a piece of prose, and I have always been a factual writer who writes, like you say, to share and inspire others, so my prose was… well, anyway. It did hurt, and it does suck when the people pleaser in you wants them to like your work too, but remember – you have to be your biggest fan!

    Don’t worry about leaving people out! My mother used to say to me “you can please some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” – 25 years later and it still rings true! Don’t worry about what others think Stuart, haters will always find a reason to hate, just focus on being you – you’re awesome!

    Lastly, I’m sorry about your neighbour. Growing up with a brother who used to hit the highnotes (and never once made it to the school choir), I most certainly do relate. I hope you have some peace and quiet now though and you can write in peace. Keep smiling Stuart!

    • It’s so cool, the things you’re saying. I sometimes feel like I shouldn’t be me—but it’s comments like yours that make me feel like I’m enough :)

      And yeah, I guess if you write for a living, you’re bound to meet an editor that doesn’t like your work (though why they’d hire you in the first place would be a mystery), but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s tough for those of us with people-pleasing tendencies, lol (it’s also why I worry about alienating groups of people, even though it’s inevitable).

      I sure do appreciate your thoughtful comment, Helen. Feels like it’s been a while. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by!

      • Absolutely you are enough! I think we all have moments, myself included, where we wonder whether we are enough, whether we’re smart enough, funny enough, attractive enough etc. Remember that there will always be people who love you for you, who love what you do and are proud of you for doing it, and the rest? They can go take a long walk off of a short pier 😉

        Unfortunately yes, and I completely agree with you. I think working generally under someone who doesn’t like you just makes the work environment quite toxic, and it’s certainly not something that I miss. When I worked in healthcare, I could tell that my manager just didn’t like me. I wasn’t meek and mild like the other admins and I think that rubbed her up the wrong way. If you’re higher-ups don’t like you, it makes everything difficult. You’re out of their now and you’re kicking rear by your own rules, remember that 🙂
        Remember what I said, about some of the people. You will have your fans, and unfortunately, you will have your haters too. Something my Dad used to say, “mind over matter, I don’t mind and they don’t matter”. Don’t let your critics bother you too much, anything other than what you do already would be inauthentic. This is your story, your thoughts and advice, not what panders to the sensitivities of other people. Just calling a spade a spade, and what not 😉

        Haha Stuart it probably has been a while! Life has been crazy lately but I’m trying to manage it. Slow and steady wins the race, that’s just one more important thing to remember. You’re very welcome and thankyou as always for having me here!

  35. A lot of truth in this. It’s how I feel often, having published for six years. Especially knowing it’ll be rare if I ever make more than coffee money/side hustle amount. I make more doing deliveries with my part time job on DoorDash/Grubhub/Uber.

    • Right? If I were to break down the costs of writing my novel (co-working space, not working, food, time) and the advance I got for it, they wouldn’t even come close to the amount I’d earn as a part-timer at McDonald’s, so I might as well find any other job while I pursue this. Just a pragmatic approach to life. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      • You’re welcome. Indeed. I wish publishing pays more than it does, but the reality is only about 10% make enough money to use it as a career. It doesn’t matter if they’re trad published or self, most of us never make enough to live on. :(

    • Yup! I’m trying various perspective-shifting methods to make that easier, such as treating each article/chapter like an e-mail instead of an actual piece of work. Works well so far. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

  36. I completely feel this! It’s always great to really have the outlook that we are not all going to be best selling or trending authors, but we are still writers! Keep the course, I throughly enjoy your writing.

    • And best of all, we don’t need to be as great as THE greats, but we can have as much fun as they do! I guess that’s the upside to it. Thanks so much for stopping by, Heather!

      p.s. might want to update your Gravatar profile as it points to a broken link (old blog address?).

  37. Oh my goodness, the opening paragraph had me laughing out loud this morning. As an artist (photography) I can relate to posting things and not getting any reward from it other than knowing how difficult it was to create what was in my head onto my screen. Writing is definitely the same way. It’s a joy that I love doing and not many people care about… which I have to accept is okay! Especially when (as you pointed out) it teaches me about myself and helps me grow into a better human being. Brilliantly put my friend!!

    • How cool to have multiple modes of creative expression. I’ve always been weak at anything visual. I wonder if you interpret the creative process differently, with your various mediums, or if it’s just the same source that creates in different genres.

      Thanks for your lovely comments as usual, LaShelle! I appreciate you!

      • I also like to paint watercolor. While things about each are different… there are things that definitely overlap. Things like needing have a thick skin when you share something and knowing that not everyone is going to like you. Having to be okay with that and share things regardless and know that you’re unlikely to be popular.

  38. This is a very different perspective of writing. But if you feel like it makes you feel better and easier to create. I guess that is a positive. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren

    • Yup! Anything that gets me to create couldn’t be a bad thing, could it? I guess my mission is to find many more ways on how I could do so. Thanks so much for stopping by, Lauren!

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