4 Writer Reminders

There’s so much to learn when writing a book, and even more to master when editing.

Not only do you have to be proficient in structuring plots, invoking the five senses, adding tension, writing realistic dialogue, and showing instead of telling, you also need to know what words to delete and which darlings to revive.

After doing all of that and more, you may end up with a finished book. You might even like that finished book.

One thing you will have for sure after writing your book is doubt. That pesky self-doubt that leaves you overwhelmed and convinced your work hasn’t hit your expectations.

When that happens, you need to convince yourself that you can do this, that you have done it, and keep in mind these reminders…

Your Story Is Only Boring To You

Repeat it. Print it out. Frame it. Hang it on your wall.

Your story is only boring to you!

It’s easy to forget when your twenty drafts deep, working on your fifth solid straight month of edits or staring at an inbox full of rejections, but that story you’ve read a million times is interesting. You’ve just forgotten because you know every twist, every line of dialogue, and how every cliffhanger starts and ends. People who haven’t read your book don’t—and they will be thrilled by all your surprises.

It Only Needs To Be As Perfect As You Can Make It

Your book will never be perfect. The sooner you accept that the easier your life will be. It also only has to be as perfect as you can make it.

Forget about trying to get it to the standard of what it “should” be. We all write and edit uniquely and have different ideas of what “perfect” is. Weave your words to the best of your ability—that’s as good as perfect.

Others Won’t Fix Your Work For You

Yes, it took months, even years, to take that initial idea and turn it into pages of words. You wrote it and deserve a medal—or at the very least some chocolate—but the hard work isn’t over.

You’ve to take those words and any feedback from betas, critique partners, or readers and fix what doesn’t work.

Sure, you can ask others to give you an idea about the plot, character arcs, and what works and what doesn’t, but they won’t fix those things for you. As tempting as it might be to beg and or pay them to, you are ultimately the person who needs to edit your writing and finish your book to the standard only you can.

If you don’t know how to do that, learn. You’ll be a better writer for it, your book will be the best it can be, and you can give yourself extra chocolate.

You’ve Got To Have Faith

Not in luck or the universe aligning the stars and bringing everything together for you (although that helps), but faith in yourself and your story.

Believing that what you’ve written is strong enough to deserve a public place in the world is what will get you through the writing, edits, and rejections. When you’ve spent months perfecting terrible drafts, battling writer’s block, and words that just won’t flow, that faith chips away. You need to build it back up (again, chocolate can help with this) and remember that your book is as worthy as any other.

What reminders do you give yourself when self-doubt creeps in? Let me know in the comments, and what your favorite chocolate is. I’ll pretty much eat any kind with mint in it.

— K.M. Allan

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

34 thoughts on “4 Writer Reminders

  1. My fave is to remind myself that while a story is never really finished it can be finished as far as I’m concerned, or at least for the time being. Example: my novel MS is about as good as I can make it on my own (without an agent/editor). Rather than spin my wheels reading it over and over and making small edits, I may put it away, turn my attention to something else, and give it time to become…my second novel, maybe???

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  2. First, the important stuff- M & M’s all the way!
    If I start second-guessing myself I turn to some positive reviews I’ve received. It lets me know that at least one person likes my writing style, lol

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  3. The one thing I remember most is the search for the perfect scene. I would read it over and over again trying to figure out a way to improve it. When I finally realized it wasn’t about me anymore it was about the person reading it I finally allowed myself to step away.

    Favorite Chocolate: I do not like mint but I like Junior Mints. I dare you to figure that one out.

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  4. Fantastic reminders, Kate. So important! “Your story is only boring to you.” – Yep, I needed that one! I always forget that knowing the twists/reveals makes the story less exciting, but for readers that won’t be the case (hopefully!). Thanks so much for sharing these xx

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  5. Ruth Miranda

    Number two. We all have different ideas of what perfect is, what acceptable is, what alluring is and what good writing is. So number two is what I usually cling to. Number one I’ve never experienced – again, self conceited much? – what I do suffer from is thinking that everything is really very predictable and anyone could see that one coming, so I’m always surprised when people tell me they hadn’t expected this or that to happen, or – my favourite one! – they didn’t see that end coming and hate me for it. (yes, I tend to write certain endings so that the reader may hate me. My goal is to overthrow George R.R. Martin in that departmente, I shall be more loathed than him!!) As for the faith part… yeah, I don’t do faith. I severely lack it. Plus, coming from a self published view point, readers expect certain things, demand certain things, and most other indie authors will too, and they will point it out to you these (to me) little details and make sure you know your book is far from being worthy of publishing, if it lacks that. Namely, if in the self published industry you lack money to pay for a round of editors, a cover artist, a cartographer, a formatter, than your book does not belong in the business, no matter how good the contents may be. Which, seeing this is what readers demand, I tend to agree with. Seeing I don’t pay for these items, I lack the faith my work will ever do any better than a couple of “It was a nice read” comments.

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  6. andreahunter3

    My mantra: I did it (wrote a book), I’m doing it (editing, editing, editing), and (very soon) it will be done. Lots of people talk about writing a book, but actually following through with it is an achievement in and of itself…right? *insert nervous laughter*
    Chocolate? Dark with sea salt = pure happiness.

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  7. I needed all of these reminders today. 💛 Whenever doubt creeps in, I try to recreate the feeling of excitement. I can remember really vividly one moment where I got super excited drafting my book, so I wrote down where I was, what was going on, how good I felt. I turn to that little feeling any time I doubt myself. Because in the end, I’m following my passion and that’s pretty amazing!

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