Just F-ing Write, Already!


This is what my boyfriend recently yelled at me. And ever since, I’ve screamed those same words over and over into my head.

To force myself to stop obsessing over everyone else who’s been (super) successful, and why I’m not there yet.

We’re writers, right? So for the love of GOD—just do some dang writing already! And stop worrying about “making it.”

Success Obsessions Gone Wild

You know those cool, collected writers with 500,000 Twitter followers? Who’ve been published in The New Yorker and the Boston Review, all while running a blog that everyone drools over (didn’t you read Entertainment Weekly’s review on it last week)? They always seem to sport those geeky/chic wired glasses with a quirky beret.

Yea, I want to be that writer.

And since I’m not, I’ve spent time reading their success stories. And then I analyze: When did they start their blog? How did they word their entries? Who are their connections? How long did it take them? The list goes on and on, my friends …

But in the midst of this obsessing, I’m missing one key component. I’m not writing.

Just F-ing Do it, Man!

Perhaps understanding how the “big ones” made it can help the rest of us begging to just lick the bone. However, trying to craft our success strategy around their journey is only to our detriment.

As my boyfriend pointed out, I’m wasting all my energy on analyzing and planning. Meanwhile, I have no finished products to promote to an agent or editor, since I’m not writing.

Over the past week, I’ve finally forced myself to stop reading what everyone else is doing, and just start doing sh!t myself. And you know what? Stuff’s gettin’ done … finally.

Do you ever struggle with this curse of success obsession? If so, how do you overcome and just get back to your own writing again?

23 thoughts on “Just F-ing Write, Already!

  1. Yes! Yes, I do! I am notorious for comparing myself to most, so when I find myself doing little and watching others too much, I know it’s time for me to refocus, write more, and, usually, get offline. When I do this, I find that my writing improves and I’m happier with where I’m at versus where I think I ought to be. Great post!

    1. Thanks Jessica! Yes, getting offline can be incredibly helpful for productivity. I’m thinking I’ll write a future blog post on that very topic! 🙂 I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

  2. Your boyfriend’s a smart guy. That’s my biggest advice to writers: just write. Stop worrying about how many people visit your site, who’s leaving comments, why is no one retweeting you, etc. Just write. Keep putting out great content and over time, the audience will come and before you know it, you’ll be wearing those chic wired glasses. (Just don’t do the beret)

    1. Andrew, my boyfriend is an amazingly smart guy! 😉 You are soooo “write.” And I agree, with great content, people will naturally notice. Thank you for reading MY content and taking the time to comment!

  3. I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and I love it!
    I completely understand your ideas about “success obsession”, but it seems natural for me to feel that way. Being a young writer, there is always the thought of “I still have time”, “It’s only because I’m young”, and “Someday I’ll be there”. It’s very easy for me to see other people’s success and not do anything about it because of this idea that I’ll get to it someday. But, if I’m going to identify myself as a “writer” at all, I have to be prepared to act like one. I’ve got to WRITE.
    Thank you for the little reminder and the quiet giggles while reading! 🙂

    1. And thank YOU for the kind words, Spencer! 🙂 It’s so funny you mention how you believe because you’re a young writer, you feel like there’s always tomorrow. I’m turning 30 this week, and for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like “there’s always tomorrow” anymore (I always did, up to this point, like you). It’s weird, but you hit this point in your life where you realize you’re not as young as before, and if you want to accomplish anything as a writer, you’d better get rolling. I’d suggest that it’s OK to think like that, but don’t let it distract you from being serious about your writing. I just visited your site and read some of your poetry. You’ve got promise, so keep working at it!

    1. Thanks so much! Honestly, “I think you’re a great writer” is perhaps the best compliment anyone can give me. Just warms my heart to know you feel that way. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading my work, when you can (and liking what you read).

  4. Yes, I can relate. It’s just so dang hard. I’m loving being my own boss and freelancing. But I realize I don’t have the same time to devote to my blog. Then I worry I’m disappointing readers, my stats are going down, blah blah blah. The comment above is correct — balance is key. I just need to figure out what that looks like!

    1. No need to worry, Leah. I’ve had to scale back my blogging too, and naturally, my stats went down because of it. However, I’ve been more productive in other ways–primarily creative writing. You’ve been more productive in other ways: launching your own business! And of course, you’re making money doing what you love–as your own boss–which is AWESOME! I feel privileged that you’re still taking time to read my writing when you have the time, and I truly appreciate that. 🙂 And trust me, you’re not disappointing readers. I’m one of them!

  5. Yes, yes, and yes. Relate to this so much. Here’s what’s sort of funny (and I’m working on a few posts about this)–I started out the blog as a sort of “platform” plan for the eventual novel. I have not been doing novel work though for two years. Two years! That said, I love the blog posts and other articles . . . personal essay type stuff. I’ve had some success with short stories but after I get them published in magazines, nobody reads them. Seems I have a knack for the blog posts/essays and those have a more natural and instant audience. So I’m trying to forge my own path . . . one with no certain future. Not that my former dream future as a novelist was a guarantee AT ALL, but at least I had some end goal in mind (published novel). Not sure what the end goal of a blogger is…especially a blog that’s not monetized.

    I kind of got off topic–my point–GREAT POST TODAY!

    1. Haha! So funny you say that Nina, because I started my blog as a novel platform too! I’ve worked on it on and off, though, but I’m also perfecting my art of writing short stories, and working to get some published as well. It’s hard to balance everything! Perhaps you should look into ways to monetize your blog? It’s incredibly successful, I think you do have a platform to make some money from it (and who knows … maybe an agent will find YOU).

      And thank you for the kind, sweet words on my bio! I love being able to say “award-winning writer,” even if the awards are journalistic (Associated Press) and not creative–something to strive for. You’re the first to have said anything about my bio! 🙂

  6. “[T]rying to craft our success strategy around their journey is only to our detriment.” You have got it, Shari. Yes, I obsess; yes, I get rocked; yes, I keep going forward; yes, I will accomplish my dreams.

    And so will you.

    In it together,
    Renee

    1. “In it together.” Love it, Renee! We are SOOOO in it together, and hope we get to watch each other reach incredible success. Thanks for all your wonderful support over the years!

  7. Shari….Someone I respect at work told me to “just get out of my own way” and I will succeed. I will tell you the same thing. “Get out of your own way!”

    Mom
    🙂

  8. Yes, I’m often too busy looking at what others are doing and not getting down to my own work. Today, though, I am following your advice and getting down to business!

    1. SUCH a great idea. In fact, a year ago, my computer was stolen from my house and I went without Internet for a month. A MONTH! However, I did a lot of writing (the old-fashioned way too–with a pen and paper), and I read a couple of amazing novels. Taking a break from technology can be such a great kick in the rear to get moving and productive. Thanks for the wonderful advice … and for reading!

    1. Awww, Krystiana, you’re too sweet! 🙂 Hearing someone say they’d rather read about MY successes, instead of the celebrity writers, just melts my heart. I am very humbled. I like your suggestion. Stick to the successes of “the rest of us,” as it’s probably more inspiring. Thank you for the great advice and for taking the time to read and comment!

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