There are writers who write for a season or two but then allow the whims and perils of the process to discourage them, and there are writing lifers. Lifers don’t ever quit, though they may, in fact, go fallow and even stop for long stretches of time while life gets complex. Lifers are committed and keep going when others might toss in the typewriter. Lifers are far more likely to achieve their dreams, see success and be published.
What makes the difference between a fairweather writer and a lifer, and how can you become a lifer?
- Primarily, a writing lifer sees her writing as a “practice”–an ongoing process with high points and fallow points built upon a deep foundation. This takes the burden off instant gratification and puts the emphasis on the long haul, polishing the work over putting it out rushed, and knowing that everything counts.
- A writing lifer’s writing foundation is built upon her values and a powerful sense of meaning. In other words, the lifer stops to assess what writing brings to her life, and seeks to create more of that. Lifers understand the value of process over product.
- These values, and the rewards therein, give the writing lifer stamina and fuel to make it through the strange, vast plains of changing publishing landscapes.
- Find creative ways to publish and seek audiences, from live literary salons to podcasts to self publishing
- Take necessary breaks to avoid burnout
- Have a creative support team to seek feedback, brainstorm and bolster them through challenging times
- Champion and support other writers; lifers don’t linger in jealousy or scarcity
- Stay on their edge; Lifers experiment with forms, genres, and material
- Probe the raw, dark corners of their stories to produce compelling work
- Revise, revise, revise
Ultimately, writing lifers don’t quit because it’s scary or hard–they seek support, they get back up, they make their mistakes in public and they are grateful for the opportunities to do it all.