Finding the courage to let go of your writing is a challenge for freelance writers, novelists, poets, and even bloggers. These tips for successful writers will open you up and help you expand your writing career.
The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes is one of my all-time favorite books about writing. Why? Because you don’t need technical skills to be a great writer…what you need is courage to let go of your writing.
Letting go of your writing means you’re prepared for anything as a writer! Long waits, rejection, success, no adulation, no money, maybe a little money, and always more blank pages to fill. How you let go of your writing depends on what you cling to, and where you want to go as a writer. It also depends on how you find the courage to write.
How to Let Go of Your Writing
“Writers have to get used to launching something beautiful and watching it crash and burn,” writes Ursula Le Guin Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places. “They also have to learn when to let go control, when the work takes off on its own and flies, farther than they ever planned or imagined, to places they didn’t know they knew. All makers must leave room for the acts of the spirit. But they have to work hard and carefully, and wait patiently, to deserve them.”
Learn from the disasters
Le Guin talks about watching your writing “crash and burn.” To me, that means working hard on an article or book proposal and getting rejection after rejection. It also means receiving a fee instead of a published article – ouch. When you experience writing “failures”, learn what your magazine editors are looking for: practical service pieces and feature articles that improve readers’ lives. From all my book rejections, I learned how to write a book proposal and how amazing it is to finally get published!
Trust that your writing will serve its purposes – and beyond
When you write an article, novel, or book proposal, trust that somehow, somewhere, it will end up in the right magazine or publishing house. Better yet, let that be your motivation for writing. The more firmly you believe that your work will serve its purpose, the more disciplined you’ll be.
Work hard on new projects; let go of past ones
My husband says I’m “addicted” to writing. After we debated it for two years, I finally consulted my friend, who is an addictions counselor. She said that addicts can’t control their habits – their habits control them. Now I don’t wonder if I’m addicted to writing – I know it! Whether or not you’re addicted to writing or blogging or reporting, remember that you have to work hard. You can be addicted but still not published or productive.
“It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer.” – Gerald Brenan.
A big part of becoming a “real” writer is not just sitting down and writing…it’s also letting go of your writing, and letting go of your fear of writing.
Still need courage to write? Read Job Security for Freelance Writers – Tips for a Steady Income.
Do you fear writing…or letting go of what you’ve written? I welcome your comment below!