Three Reasons Your Writing Career is Stuck

Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Mike Spasoff

Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Mike Spasoff

Writing is a uniquely difficult profession for more than a number of reasons. There are a lot of things we could have chosen to do that would have been easier. For instance, discovering life on Mars, developing telepathy, or inventing gluten-free dairy-free calorie-free carb-free pizza that smooths wrinkles the more slices you eat.


There are days that even I go. Really, Kristen? You HAD to be a writer? You could have been a brain surgeon by now.

Then my muse comes back and says, “What? And take the EASY way out?”

Me and my Muse

Me and my Muse

This is a tough tough job and I am here to let you know…

It never gets easier.


It’s like Space Invaders. It just gets faster and faster and harder and harder…until you DIE.

Or give up.

You’re welcome.

This is why we must do this job because we love it. Writing is not a profession we get into for any other reason other than we have a passion for one thing…writing. I’ve experienced many levels of being an author. I’ve been the wide-eyed teenager in a bookstore spending babysitting money on a copy of Writer’s Digest Magazine because one day I was going to be a writer.

I’ve been a brand new writer who had no clue that POV did not mean Prisoners of Vietnam.

I’ve graduated from being so clueless I didn’t even realize how clueless I was to being someone who writes full time, travels the country speaking to hundreds of people. I’ve written almost a thousand blogs and have three books under my belt. Five if we count the two that are not yet published.

Fifteen if we count all of those that the State Department has locked at the CDC.

This is all to say that, at some point, I’ve been where most of you are now. In my last post, Good Girls Don’t Become Best-Sellers I talked about how imperative it is that we CALL ourselves a writer, that we USE our names. There is no aspiring. When we hide behind cutesy monikers and avatars and call ourselves “aspiring” writers we are being chicken$#!t.

*If you didn’t know better, it is okay. I did it too ((HUGS))*

Fortune favors the bold.

But what happens if you have been bold? Maybe you are calling yourself a writer and you are blogging (mostly) and you just have hit a slump that you just can’t seem to get out of. Having been at this for many years, I will tell you it happens. Success is not a straight shot up and to the right.

This is why I loathe the term aspiring writer with the power of a thousand suns. Aspiring is a poseur. Aspiring wears a beret and quotes Keates in a phony accent and drinks too many cappuccinos then walks the check. Aspiring is a fake and a flake. Aspiring won’t be there in the dark night of the soul when the blood runs freely and you’re holding your own guts. Aspiring is a literary booty call and a book baby daddy. Aspiring wants all of the benefits of a “relationship” with none of the sacrifice.

The thing is, “aspiring writers” never get stuck any more that a unicorn gets stuck because a unicorn isn’t a real animal and an aspiring writer isn’t a real writer and only real writers get stuck.

And yeah, I know I just made myself about as popular as a clown at a funeral for that one, but the aspiring writers will all be too lazy or chicken to blog about it.

Now that we are left with the writers. You will get stuck and today we’ll talk about three main reasons why.

You are Still Trying to Find the Time

This happens a lot especially in the beginning of your career, especially if you are unaware of that nonsense about calling yourself “aspiring.” If you desire to be PAID for your writing then you are no longer a hobbyist, you are a writer. This means this is a job. Granted, what level of job is going to be up to you. It must be congruent with your goals.

This said, time is not loose change lying around in the couch cushions with the Cheerios and the remote control. We don’t find time, we make time. If you were attending law school, would you have to “find time” for that? If someone told you today that a NYC agent had a deal ready to sign along with a check for a sweet advance, would you wonder if you could find the time to make the meeting?

If we don’t take ourselves seriously no one else will.

Decide how much time you require to meet your goal and then everything else is scheduled around THAT.

You Aim to Please

People please, that is. I hate saying this, but I have struggled with being a notorious people-pleaser. I’ve bordered on an almost pathological need to be liked. Still do. When I was starting out, everything came before my writing. My brother and sister-in-law would drop off their young children for me to watch because I didn’t have a real job.

My mom would interrupt and expect me to take her shopping or help her paint or run errands. Everyone felt they had carte blanche to part out my day because I wasn’t doing anything anyway.

Then, later when I joined a critique group, every time someone didn’t like something, I’d change it to make them happy. Pretty soon, what probably was a good (albeit newbie story) was a Franken-novel beyond repair.

When I began blogging, the second a commenter said something negative, I’d change whatever the “offense” was. Or, I’d make my content “tamer”. Guess what I’ve learned?

Your family can find other friends and babysitters. No one wants to publish a Franken-novel and no one cares about milk toast blogs.

Why the aspiring writer is such a loathsome creature is that writers are mysterious and glamorous for good reasons. We are brave and daring and we say all the stuff that mere mortals wish they had the stones to SAY and yet we actually write and then sign our freaking name to.

Aspiring writers want to wear a purple heart when they’ve never left home, let alone been shot.

Real writers cannot be liked all the time by everyone. So, if you are stuck, it is likely you are trying too hard to be liked. Guess what? Some folks on Facebook were offended by my post Good Girls Don’t Become Best-Sellers because I didn’t include men. Well, I didn’t include iguanas or african pygmy goats either. Sorry. The blog is only so long and there are brave bold Bad Girl Guys who apparently had no trouble reading between the lines and are smart enough to think in metaphors. The rest? They are not my audience.

You Are Thin-Skinned

We all start out as baby writers and just like babies, we all start with baby soft skin. But this is a tough business and we need to put ourselves out there to toughen it up. And YES, it SUCKS! I remember the first time I attended a critique group. I cried for an hour in the parking lot and nearly ODed on Twinkies.

One of the reasons I love for writers to blog is that a blog is the ideal form of social media for writers, and in my book I teach how to do it well. Blogging plays to our strengths. Writers WRITE.

Who cares if our blog never goes viral or no one reads it? In the meantime, a blog makes you commit to a deadline. It trains you for a professional pace and puts you in a professional mindset. WRITERS WRITE.

A blog forces you to put yourself out there, to brave critique. And yes, there are trolls and we have to learn to handle them because they do no go away when we publish, they only get worse. You do not want to wait to develop thick skin once the book is out. TRUST me on that.

I was stuck for years because I was writing for the wrong reasons. I was writing because I was insecure and I needed to hear a non-stop outpouring of praise. Anything counter to that, I couldn’t handle. It made me give up. It wasn’t until I deliberately placed myself in the crucible that I began to toughen up and I started to really grow as a professional.

Very often we are stuck because we fear pain. We are experiencing pain because we have thin skin. The only way to get thicker skin is to brave pain. Place yourself where you are bound to grow the most. When I was new, I had all kinds of friends who eagerly told me that my writing was better than kitten hugs, but I knew I needed to win over the person who was the toughest to impress.

If you find a really great writing group, you know who I am talking about. Maybe invest in a writing class. Treat yourself to a Death Star Treatment with me *evil laugh*. Find an editor you respect. Don’t wait until you have to find the money to get a full edit. Get 50 pages and pay them to shred you so you don’t waste time and money on an unpublishable mess. We don’t grow unless we embrace the pain.

All three of these stumbling blocks boil down to making this profession (making YOURSELF) a priority. Time is what we make of it. When we try to please everyone, we please no one. We need to suck it up and writer up.

What are your thoughts? Do you let friends and family part our your time? Do you let them take far too much control over your schedule? Are you afraid of making waves? Do you try too hard to keep the peace and only end up resentful? OR? Are you a ROCKSTAR at putting down boundaries? What are YOUR secrets or tips? Do you struggle with being thin-skinned? Are you terrified of putting yourself out there?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of OCTOBER, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel.

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook


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  1. Thank you for another great post! You are correct that writers need to be writers, be bold, and not have thick skins.

    1. And I will have this in PRINT next time someone makes me cry, LOL. Hey, it happens. Thanks for the comment!

      1. You are very welcome!

  2. Thanks for another great post. I have to say the reason I ditched “aspiring” from my description was you. I can’t remember which post it was but it opened my eyes to the fact that if I write, I’m a writer. It’s not my career but I schedule time for writing, and currently I’m preparing to publish my second novel. So I don’t just aspire, I do it. I also liked what you said about blogging — even if my posts never go viral, I still show up to produce content on a regular basis.

  3. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

  4. We have to choose between being dreamers or doers. Dreamers die with their dreams. Doers die on their feet, bloody but unbowed — maybe they win acclaim. Maybe not. But they have never given up. Great post.

  5. “We need to suck it up and writer up.” Yes. Yes we do. Thanks for sayin’ like it is, Kristen. Much appreciated.

    1. Sounds like some of our conversations, correct Rachael?

      1. It sure does. 🙂

  6. Reblogged this on Maegan Provan, Author and commented:
    This is great! I definitely needed to read this.

  7. Once again, great post! Thank you.

  8. “For I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”

  9. Hi Kristen! At first I clicked on your post because I thought it said: “Three Reasons Your Writing Career Sucks.” LOL.

    I hear ya on the thin skin. That is SO me. I like to think it’s a little thicker (much like my waist line) these days. It better be. I just released book four of a series, this one’s a real departure from the others. I was excited and terrified at the same time while writing it, so hey, I may as well feel that way about releasing it, right? *gulp*

    By the way, thanks again for critiquing the first 15 pgs of it (you’re in the book acknowledgments, too. Don’t worry…I don’t think you’ll have to go into hiding or anything…). 😉


    • Vicky McHenry on October 15, 2015 at 11:59 am
    • Reply

    Ouch, ouch, ouch, you really nailed it. Sign me, former aspiring writer. No, sign me, writer.

  10. Thank you! On some level, although I’m not aiming for a professional writing career, this was just what I needed and is applicable to so many other things. Great post.

    By the way, what are your opinions on a “story-within-a-story” kind of book? As in, the type of book where there are essentially two plots: the outer one and the inner one, which is the one the main character is telling but which takes up a significant portion of the book; the first two examples that come to mind are Mrs. Frisby and the rats of NIMH and Hitler’s Daughter, though I am sure there are more well known books having this.

    Great post (again!)

  11. Great post!
    Years ago, I was ‘programmed’ to answer the phone when it rang, then a neighbor called and asked what I was doing. I told her, “Writing.”
    She said, “Well, as long as you aren’t busy-”
    “I’m an author. When I’m writing, I’m working.”
    “Oh, I call (husband) all the time at work, so ….”
    Don’t know what she was going to yammer on about because I hung up on her, then saved my work, grabbed my purse and went out to buy a caller ID… Since then, I check the ID to see if I want to speak to the person. (BTW, I never answered the phone when that particular time-parasite called, again.)

  12. If you’re writing then you are a writer. Period. You’re only an aspiring writer if you haven’t written the first word of anything. Great blog.

  13. Always love it when you post about “aspiring.” 🙂

  14. Great post, Kristen! I could really identify with the people-pleaser thing. There are a lot of people out there whose main comments are “Why are you wasting your time writing?” and “Don’t you think you need to be doing something more productive?” Well, I look at it this way…people won’t care tomorrow about what i did on my day job today, but they’ll be able to read what I’ve written decades from now. And that’s what it’s all about.

  15. The timing of your posts to the shit in my writing life is downright scary. I was very down on myself when I started reading today’s blogs. But yours kicked me in the ass.

    I have a story waiting, off I go.

  16. It flip flops between: “Honey, I’m so proud of you.”, to: “Are you still playing on that computer, the shutters need painted.” Sigh…

  17. I needed to hear this today. Also, I heart you. Let’s find someplace that will watch our kids and have a mommy date.

    • prudencemacleod on October 15, 2015 at 12:36 pm
    • Reply

    As one people pleaser to another, thank you for this post. That little habit of mine gobbles up far more writing time that I would care to admit. Rock on, WANA Mama!

  18. Thank you. This post makes a lot of sense. I have issues with a being too much of a people pleaser. Also, I admit, I want it all NOW and that throws me off my game. Like I should be success overnight. I don’t know how you’d categorize that, but that’s what I fight with myself. Being selfish probably. But thank you. Hard truths hurt but sometimes they need to be heard.

  19. Reblogged this on In My Mind, This Is All Connected and commented:
    I agree.

    And struggle with most of this myself. So if any of my fellow authors are out there and feeling the same way, give it a read.

  20. What a great post. Thanks for reminding me about why blogging is so valuable for writers.

  21. Reblogged this on Mystery and Romance.

  22. An insightful post. Thank you. I’ve tried several times over the course of my life to flee writing and have never failed more miserably than I did when I made those attempts. Apparently there’s no cure for the writing affliction. Even after I’m living in a cardboard box under a bridge I’ll still have my cats and a pen.

  23. I always hated the word aspiring and I still cringe when I see the description aspiring writer. I just don’t know what that means. I’m managing my time pretty well, I just take on too much in addition to the complications from my normal life. At least now I am taking on exactly what I want. For example, I have a bunch of submissions to do before I “get” to work on my memoir again. I have submitted tons this week but still have some more. I hope there’s no deadline on the 20 pages! My guess for that is anywhere from the last week of October to the middle of November ( because beginning of Nov. I’m having surgery). TMI sorry LOL Anyway, once I start the memoir as in WIP and word counts I’ll be chugging along.

    • Arthur B. Burnett on October 15, 2015 at 2:11 pm
    • Reply

    Excellent post. You kick many of our excuses for not writing, or writing seriously, to the curb. I need to be a regular visitor to this blog.

  24. Just write:

    Well , well now isn’t that something to laugh about.

    Aspiring writers never have writers block. Only real writers get stuck.

    There is no distinction here as all writers have aspirations to achieve something.

    How to distinguish who or what constitutes a writer must be the ultimate in writing about writing nonsense.

    That word “aspiring” is irrelevant and who knows why any person writes?

    Are ” aspiring” writers unpublished authors?

    This cannot be …. as self publishing is a way of life and a life line to aspirants and any other forms of literary life.

    There are writers who buy up their own works, now that is a block too far.

    This is farce, writing about writing … must be funniest thing ever, really.


      • Bob on October 20, 2015 at 11:23 am
      • Reply

      Just write. Brian Klems at Writer’s Digest had a good article on this advice called ‘The Upside and the Downside of the So-Called “Best Writing Tip Ever”’ at

      1. Replying to all the Brian Klems of this how to write game, writers workshoppers and those who prosper in them, everyone of you who teach people how to write are right.
        Never encourage winging it as this flies right past the schools of journalism, the how to become a writer brigade.
        And into actually putting pen to paper and working and doing it.
        Then self publish and declare “I am an author”.
        Do this ,say six times and then offer ones experience of writing on the market place as an Author, Published and all.
        Now creating something as a writer with emphasis on create as in original… there is the challenge.
        Just write.
        script and satire

      2. Just Write :

        A commenter has distracted me and human to err factors combined towards further comment.




      3. Close to Kristen then
        or just a fan
        Standing up for …rescuing a damsel in some disorder
        a laugh Ha, Ha
        Built a nice website


    • Ashley on October 15, 2015 at 2:47 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you for sharing! You are so right. I’ve been “aspiring” for awhile but have been too afraid of putting my work out there and not managing my time well. This post really inspired me. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • dorataylor1899 on October 15, 2015 at 3:05 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Kristen, I don’t know why I haven’t ever commented on your blogs before. I read every one of them, and I love every one of them, and I listen carefully to what you say in every one of them, because to me, every word you say makes terrific sense.
    Right now, I’m stuck. I’ve written the basic first draft of a novel I know is taking me way out of my comfort zone, but it’s something I feel very strongly I must do. I know the premise is good. I know that if I handle it properly it will be a fantastic novel. But somehow both the beginning and the still non-existent ending are not right. I just don’t know how to move on. I keep reading the ms (on my Kindle as I feel then that I am actually reading a novel!) but this tells me I’ve got to dramatise more scenes instead of telling them, but I’m not sure how to. I never had this trouble with any of my other published novels (I am writing under my maiden name – Sheila Mary Taylor), and I just don’t know why this is happening. It’s almost as though I’m afraid to take the plunge and get right into it. Oh, goodness me, isn’t writing amazing. But I know I will never stop. And this is a bold statement because I am now 86 years old. Love you, Kristen. x

    1. That is FANTASTIC! Sometimes you need to take a break and just move on to something else. You might not be able to see the forest for the trees. When I am in my groove, I fast draft one book (in a month). Rest a week. Then I fast draft another book (in a month). Then rest a week. Then I go back to the FIRST book and by then, my subconscious has had over two months to noodle over it and it often untangles a lot of my problems. You keep going! You are a ROCKSTAR! And LOVE YOU TOO!

  25. “It just gets faster and faster and harder and harder…until you DIE.” – HA I love this. Kristen you are the atomic-powered super samurai of tough love.

  26. What I’m struggling with at the moment is how to maximize housework efficiency so I can spend as little time as possible doing that, and as much as possible writing. I hear habits help, but you don’t have a habit if you never do it the same time twice (or just don’t do it at all). Thoughts?

    1. To be a good writer we also have to be avid readers, so I download audio books and listen to those while I clean that way I AM at least working on craft.

      1. There’s a thought!

    • Tiffee Jasso on October 15, 2015 at 6:04 pm
    • Reply

    I am just getting ready to release my first book, but I already know and am prepared for those who will not like the book or are ghouls for authors in general. Will I cry, I doubt it as I recall Hemingway getting told he was t”he worst writer ever” by a San Francisco newspaper editor.. Shakespeare himself, also had a lot of critics in his time. It’s the old, “I like french fries” and the few others that will state ” hate french fries,” thing. As for your articles, Kristen, I find them insightful and helpful and I do not take offense if some of it does not apply to me or you did not include my cousin. Have a great month. Tiffee Jasso

  27. Reblogged this on perfectlyfadeddelusions.

  28. your posts are a healthy kick in the pants for me. and yes, i just bought your book. sorry for the e. e. cummings writing. it is quicker.

  29. “We don’t find time, we make time.” Thank you. I needed a kick up the backside to remind me how important my writing is TO ME. Who cares if everyone else doesn’t understand it. I’m going to do my darndest to schedule AROUND my writing time.

  30. Very inspiring. Thank you!

  31. Fantastic post! THANK YOU! 🙂

  32. Thank you for this post. When I say I’m a writer I feel like a fraud. Aspiring or not, I am in hiding. My identities have been compartmentalized and my creative one is being carefully hidden in notebooks piled high and strangely named computer files. I am stuck in a rut because I’m embarrassed to be an aspiring writer, and afraid to commit to the craft. Most of all I am afraid of failure, but the reality is “fortune favours the bold.”

  33. Kristen you are right writers need to be bold,tough,thoughtful and must be able to attract the viewers

    • territiffany on October 16, 2015 at 6:26 am
    • Reply

    LOL LOVED this post! Thanks for saying it the way it needed to be said!

    • Tamara LeBlanc on October 16, 2015 at 8:22 am
    • Reply

    Hmmm, I’m definitely not a boundary paving rockstar, but I totally know when to brush off family and friends for writing time. I’m fortunate in that I have very supportive people, who tend to keep pushing me to write as opposed to the other way around. My only enemy is me…
    And lately I’ve been kicking Me’s butt in to action. So I’m doing better.

    As always, love your humor, can’t get enough of your wisdom 🙂
    Have a great weekend,

    • Rachel Thompson on October 16, 2015 at 8:40 am
    • Reply

    I don’t have any of the problems you listed, and I do like a clown or two at funerals, and I have lots of paying work behind me–you are right in that it doesn’t get easier in some aspects but in others, like craft, it does become easier. My apathy comes from knowing rather than believing. The apple of knowing poisons the heart but it also frees and so expands the mind. Henry Ford said in 1909, “If the people knew what was really happening there would be riots in the streets.” It is hard to write when there is a riot inside your head–but I write anyway. I know how Hemingway felt.

  34. thanks for giving me something to ponder about

  35. Thanks for this post. It is a healthy reminder to someone like me, to not be afraid to make waves! I’m learning!

  36. “Very often we are stuck because we fear pain.” << This! But not only that I fear offending–I'm about over that, but also because I'm struggling to find my true topic/tribe. As a fiction writer, I don't want to write about writing or reviewing others' books because it's being done to death by people more competent than me. I want to blog about issues that are important to me: human trafficking, invisible disabilities, religious freedom, and literacy/universal education. I fear those topics are too disparate to find a loyal following. Those topics are working their way through my stories. Thank you, Kristen, for once again giving me food for thought and helping me solidify my own thoughts.

  37. Another excellent piece validating everything that’s in my heart….I don’t know if I’ll ever be a “professional” and get published. It’s my GOAL to get a book published some day to honor my Mom and myself. I have some well-meaning friends that “doubt my abilities”, but I’m still gonna keep pluggin’….Thanks for another great piece, Kristen!! 🙂

  38. I LOVE when you tell it like it is, Kristen! Go you! Thanks for saying all of this. I am learning as I grow to put myself out there. I’ve never had trouble telling anyone I’m a romance writer, but sharing what I write? My knees knock just thinking about it even after two published books. Still, I force myself to write and let others read it. This month I’ve decided to finally write something outside of my comfort zones (contemporary or vintage historical); paranormal. Not only have I written this short story (2k), but it will be up on my blog for a Halloween blog hop in a little over a week from now. Yikes! 🙂

    I’d love if you have time to stop by the week of Halloween and witness my attempt to get UNstuck. 🙂

    (reblogged this post at this same blog site)

  39. Reblogged this on .

  40. Reblogged this on Writing Bliss and commented:
    This is post that every blogger/writer should read. I think we’ve all been here before and we should all understand that it’s normal to feel this way! Just keep trucking and even if you don’t make money at it (like most of us), just do it for the love of the game!

  41. I let my family steal my time. Many of them think because I’m around means I’m available. It’s my fault and I’m constantly at odds with myself. But maybe I allow it because I don’t think I’m a real writer even though I’ve published two books and a third on the way.I self-pubbed them and that makes me feel like a fake too. I never got validated by NY. I did have an editor tell me she loved and wanted it, but then fell off the face of the earth for a year, but by then I’d made the decision to go it alone. Maybe once I stop telling myself I’m not a real writer I’ll see progress in my career.

  42. Thin skin for sure. Writing is the wrong line of work if ya got one!

  43. What a damn great post!

  44. Thank you ever so much Kristen for such valuable tips and advice, I hear what you are saying that a writer should not just settle on being an aspiring writer but should be a writer. I want that desparately but for some reason I am convinced I am not good enough. The reason I left facebooking for bloging so that I would develop my skills in writing, I have not explored whether there is a writers group near where I live so that I can learn from others. I am determined to be confident to turn one of my blog into a novel.

  45. I have the perennial problem of not knowing what to blog about as a fiction writer. Does your book have ideas?

  46. I am a baby writer working on my work and my skin. Thanks for the tough love!

  47. Thank you for being bold enough to be honest about being bold! Writing is not for sissies. 🙂

    • Nikki on October 18, 2015 at 10:13 pm
    • Reply

    It’s been nine years since I started writing seriously and it’s only been these last few months I have begun stating in public that I am a writer. The first time I said it I was outside and a storm was rolling in. I waited for the lightning to come and strike me dead. All I got a little wet. So I keep saying it. 🙂

  48. Kirsten, what about writers who have been doing this for twenty years, call themselves writers, meet deadlines, make time despite having small children and several jobs, tell it like it is without fear, blog every week to the silence, have a professional website that gets compliments from graphic designers and keep bouncing back?

    I’ve been around this block many times. I’ve been told by 42 publishers on a single book that I’m a “talented writer” and the book is “a great read” and even that they “couldn’t put it down,” and no they aren’t going to publish it because no one knows my name and that is the only thing that matters in publishing. I’ve submitted to BookBub to promote my 4.8-star book for free, but it only has 27 reviews because it isn’t well-known and there is no way they are going to let me pay for their advertising because no one knows my name and I’m not their personal friend.

    Why is my writing career not brilliant? I can think of a few things. 1. I’m writing fiction, not easily niched non-fiction targeting a large online community (like struggling authors), 2. I don’t have a lot of money for ads, 3. I may do bold things but I won’t do unethical things to get fake reviews and so forth, 4. I don’t have a family member who who is an editor at a big publishing house, 5. I wasn’t born into the celebrity caste, and 6. I haven’t found my break yet (having missed the 2008-2012 self publishing window that lifted up a few excellent no-name writers to make a good living). Could I change some of these things, such as number 1? Yes, I could but if I was going to write only what sells easily, I might as well just keep the day job.

    What you say is true of many. I know. I run into it all the time too. But it is worth remembering that it isn’t that simple. The majority of good writers who have what it takes will never get a shot at being a paid writer. We do it anyway. Writers write because we cannot help ourselves. Telling people that they are not achieving their dreams because they aren’t doing something basic correctly may help in those cases when it is true. But it also tears down the hardworking people who are doing all the right things and still not making it simply because the myth that effort and skill is what matters in this business is just that–a myth.

    1. The thing is, there ARE outliers that none of this applies to. Remember this is a blog. I can really only paint with very broad strokes here. But I will say that you might be thinking too narrowly. Remember there is more than one way to skin a cat. When I started out, I was broke too. I had no money for classes, conferences, books or writing groups. I couldn’t even afford to eat more than ramen most of the time. So, I took free classes on-line and taught myself how to use Visio because (at the time) that was necessary to know for work in technical writing. I would rather have dental work with no anesthesia than write computer instructions, but it pays well. I was able to start small and one job led to another. The work was brutal, awful and I hated every minute of it…but I was being paid to WRITE. And I could take that money and use it to invest in other areas of my career so I didn’t have to remain a technical writer.

      Many writers get tunnel-vision instead of thinking of other ways to get where they want to go. Can you teach classes? Can you do a different form of writing for pay like technical writing? Have you had a professional give you honest feedback on why your brand might be stuck? Etc. And, sometimes, it just has to do with time. We simply have to keep doing the right things a long time and hope it pays off. For instance, I blogged for over a year and a half to the ether. Most people would have given up. I just kept blogging for me with the notion that one day I would reach critical mass.

      In the meantime, we do it because we love it. And you are correct. Most writers will never get paid to do this. But, I will counter that a lot more is in our control than we imagine.

  49. This is a great post and it has inspired me to be bold.. I questioned for ages whether to use the term ‘aspiring’ – I am now off to make sure it hasn’t crept in anywhere..
    Nat x

  50. I’m beyond the Aspiring Writer phase–but sometimes forget that. Thanks for the booty bump, K!

    • Bob on October 20, 2015 at 11:07 am
    • Reply

    Ok, Kristin! Thanks for the inspiration. I just changed my LinkedIn profile to say Writer. Aspiring for me meant that I was still learning the craft and didn’t want to come across as someone with qualifications that I don’t possess. I’m very sensitive to people claiming to be someone they aren’t. But, I guess, we are always learning.. Yes, I know I’m too thin skinned and my characters are way too nice.but I’m working on giving them more attitude, for better or worse.

  51. Reblogged this on Emily Arden, author and commented:
    just be brave and do it 🙂

  52. Haha Kristen, I think I’m tough but no way would I be tough enough for a monster session from you! Thanks for the pep talk! ?

  53. Another fantastic post. Where were you like, yesterday? I need more of this stuff like Christopher Walken needs more cowbell.

  54. Been working on the platform challenge over @WritersDigest this month. Reading blogs and posting a comment is one of the tasks. A good way to thicken skin, join a critique group. The few I joined make sure to help hone your writing without trash talking it.

  55. Thanks for a great post. I’ve learned to go with my own vision in most cases when it comes to critique. If the critique finds that weak spot I tried to cover up then I take it more seriously, but if it’s just ‘I think this character should do this,’ I usually toss it because the reader is now bending the story toward their own tastes. Also, after so many rejections I’ve learned we have to look for the right publisher and sometimes that takes awhile. It’s not thy they dot like you, you just aren’t compatible. Thanks again for a great post.

  56. I’ve been published since 2012 and still have trouble accepting the term, writer. But, I know fortune favors the prepared. So when I didn’t think I was getting a BB for my latest sale, I bought a week of other advertising. Then the BB came through, right at the same time.

    Luck? Yes. Prepared? Yes.

    Our Lean In group is discussing Good Girls Don’t Become Bestsellers next month. I loved it.

  57. Thank you for a great blog post, Kristen. I understand we need to work on developing a thick skin. 🙂 Still, it ain’t easy…

  58. Go Kristen! Keep telling it as it is! 🙂

  59. I was going to comment before I even reached the contest section. This was a perfect timing post for me. Loved it.

  60. Reblogged this on Musefully Mendaciloquent and commented:
    Looking for a little inspirational kick in the pants? Writers write! Get to it!

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