What is a writer's biggest mistake?
Adverbs? Too many adjectives? Dialogue tags? Saggy middles?
No, no, no, and no.
I believe the biggest blunder we commit as writers is allowing our possibilities to dwindle.
We all fall into funks of self-doubt and insecurity now and then. That's part and parcel of a creative life. Sometimes when we're discouraged we might distance ourselves from our creative process and products. We stop writing, revising, querying, blogging, or going to conferences/workshops.
In Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards describes a "crisis period" in the artistic development of a child where their drawing has been misinterpreted or criticized and the hurt from that judgment can make the child stop drawing altogether.
Anyone who has been rejected by an agent, editor, lost a contest, or had a less than flattering critique can relate to that moment where you want to give up to avoid any more hurt.
Withdrawal from the creative process zaps the soul of an artist. Worse than that, if you pull away from writing when successes arent' stacking up, you rob yourself of possibilities. No querying - no requests for your work. No revising and writing - no new product to send out. No blogging or conference/workshop attending - no sense of community and support.
Don't make the mistake of letting your possibilities drain away. I've fallen into that trap and it can be tricky to pull yourself out. Honor your creativity and don't give up your passion because you were bonked on the head by subjectivity.
In honor of the 4th of July, I leave you with the immortal words of Katy Perry.
Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go, oh, oh, oh
As you shoot across the sky
Here are two new possibilities for you to grab:
An agent pitch contest with Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Anderson Literary Management on the Writerly Rejects blog – July 9th
A editor editor pitch contest with Entangled Publishing Pitch Contest on Brenda Drake’s blog – July 16th