Ever heard the phrase “you’ll write crappy before you write copy” or “you’ll write shitty before you can write smartly”, or words along that line which just basically means that as a beginner, you start out poorly and you’ll get better. Well, you did start out bad and got really better, you got better faster than the average newbie writer, and eventually you got your first big gig as a writer (freelancer) or your article finally featured in a magazine, you are happy, as expected and now you feel like you have to keep up with a certain standard and you set the bar high, a bit too high for the level you are at.
Suddenly, everything feels bit too overwhelming, and you feel like you are going to mess it all up. I’ll tell you one thing, you’ve probably heard a thousand times when you started to write, Don’t stop writing, especially when you are at this stage and you feeling like you should probably quit, Don’t Stop!.
Yes, you had right. You can’t give up now, never stop writing after that first breakthrough. I know you’ve probably read countless articles or blogs by now addressing how difficult writing for the first time might be, but not so many of them are published about how much under pressure you can be after that first breakthrough, every one just assumes you’ll get the hang of it and figure it out. For whatever purpose your writing might serve or however big your win might have been, your first magazine featured article, or whether you just made you first transactions a freelance writer with a client. It’s normal to celebrate your win at this stage.
Eventually, after celebrating your win, you decide to make more money, write and publish more content, you are then faced with one of writer’s greatest fears, that blank, very white page (writer’s block). Before then, you thought you’ve gotten the hang of it, but it’s in that exact moment when you want to start writing again that you realize, this kind of writer’s block is different from the the usual, because this kind accompanies itself with a couple of doubts and a certain voice in your head telling you that you’ll mess it all up, that it was all beginners luck, that you are not good enough.
Before long, you start to overthink it, and you remain stagnant, you stop getting things done, crippling yourself with needless fears, meanwhile the problem might have most likely been the bar you had set too high. It’s okay to aim high, and have a clear vision of who you wish to become, and where you want to be at a point in time, to have a goal, but it’s not okay to be too hard on yourself, it’s not okay to have that voice in your head constantly criticizing everything you do, thereby hindering your progress.
One way or the other, whether after you’ve written five successful books or more, cashed out big as a freelance writer, when you start getting recognition, that fear, that block might present itself occasionally, that inner voice would still nag you, but you shouldn’t quit, you should keep writing, you can only get better, not worse. This is because consistency is very important, not only for newbie writers but even professional writers.
Although negative feedback can feel like a kick in the gut, don’t make it an excuse to stop writing, rather strive to do better and take it(the feedback) as you would a constructive criticism, no matter how negative it is. Don’t be dismayed, rejection is part of the process. Sometimes rejections may be for good reasons, most times for bad reasons. Sometimes you may never even know the reasons, and other times you’ll get rejected for a tiny mistake like a punctuation error.
When everything seems too much bear, remember this, a lot of our famous writers, Copywriters, Authors all started somewhere and were all at a point in time beginners, rejected and tagged not good enough. And if they had given up, they wouldn’t be what or where they are today. If JK Rowling had given up after loads of rejection, we would never have had the honor to read, love, enjoy and appreciate “HARRY POTTER”. Prolific and well-respected writers like Stephen King, William Golding, Dr. Seuss and many more have also been rejected as not good enough.
Writing can be the greatest thing ever, especially if you are passionate about it. Be determined to be better, and put in the work. Invest in yourself, take an online course, improve your skills, identify your weak points and work on them. It even helps to create your own swipe file to learn from better writers and develop yourself through practice. And finally, when that all too familiar inner voice in your head comes again, this time around tell it to either support you or shut up!.
© 2022 Jeje Johnson