How to Be a Feisty Writer

Cowboy on Bucking BroncoIt’s not easy to be a writer. Writers are often plagued with heaps of self-doubt and loathing, so much so that it can be debilitating.

But there is a cure.

And it can be summed up in one sentence: Take the ego out and stay in creative motion.

Now I know that is easier said than done. In our culture, we are rarely taught to remove our ego from, well, anything. But for writers, this is not only a vital idea but a healthy survival skill. The reason is that there is no exact path to predict when success or even acknowledgment will arrive. And, in my humble opinion, writers give up way too soon, before they have had any time to gain traction. Any writer, especially a new writer, will encounter rejection and general knocks to the head. They tend to take these knocks so seriously that they are filled with pain, depression, anxiety, lack of self-belief. But really, it’s all part of the process. So how to keep moving and enjoy the process to boot? Adopt the feisty writer attitude.

A feisty writer is one who is always in creative motion, working toward their dream tenaciously, no matter what. They don’t travel along a lot of highs or lows; they just keep on with their craft. I personally have been feisty writing for so long that I may take it to an extreme. Recently, I had a play run in Chicago, and it got great reviews. Or so I heard because I didn’t read them. Don’t get me wrong; I was overjoyed to have them. But I’m no longer in the game for the highs or the lows—for the outside accolades. I’m in it to be a writer. So, in a way, I’m unstoppable because nothing anyone says, good or bad, can stop me. (This doesn’t mean I don’t take critique—every writer needs a healthy critiquing and editing process). It’s just I know the path I’m on and it’s no one else’s business to tell me if and where I belong. It’s up to me to define it for myself.

How can feisty-ness work for you? Here are some guidelines:

  1. Write every day.
  2. Don’t look for your writing to determine your self-worth. If it took a writer ten years to get recognized, should they spend the decade hating themselves? (No)
  3. Be in motion. You are a train that is constantly moving, creating, thinking, dreaming, churning out material.
  4. If someone tells you that you can’t do it, look to see where you can improve your craft (learning and growing as a writer is unending). Use that input as fuel. Then answer back: Just Watch Me.
  5. See rejection and failure as part of the rites of passage.
  6. Believe in yourself even when faced with a stupid rite of passage.
  7. Find your writing community. I can’t stress enough how important this step will be for you. A good tribe can keep you going even when you want to stop.
  8. Dive into the joy of what the moment brings you. Don’t miss all the amazing moments in search of outside praise.
  9. Never give up. Never ever ever ever ever. Just keep coming back. The world will notice. Eventually. And in the meantime, you will be doing what you love, surrounded by a tribe you love.

Photo Credit: New Old Stock: Cowboy on a Bucking Bronco