7 (Bad) Habits of Highly Successful Authors

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

We spend a lot of time on this blog giving you tips on becoming a successful author. But what if you have a few… shall we say… weaknesses? Can you have a few bad habits and still succeed?

The truth is, we’re all just muddling along. Even the most successful of us have habits or traits we know we shouldn’t. Nobody is doing everything exactly right.

So below are what I think are the most common foibles to which many writers fall prey… and somehow they are still able to succeed. I give you this list not so you can gloat and feel superior (not for more than a minute anyway) but so that, if you happen to have any of these particular traits, you now know, unequivocally, that you can no longer use it as an excuse for not reaching your goals. Accept your weaknesses, and carry on.

Herewith, 7 bad habits of highly successful authors:

1. They’re impatient.

ImpatientEveryone knows that it can take time to build a platform, time to get an agent, time to sell your book. It takes time for agents and editors to respond to you. It takes time to write a good book. Even self-published authors have to take the time to build their readership.

Everyone knows this, but it doesn’t matter. Once a person adds the word “writer” behind their name, it’s all over. Any patience they enjoyed heretofore in their non-writerly life flies out the window. Almost all writers are, shall we say, less patient than they wish they were. But still, somehow, they make it through.

The upside: Patience may be a virtue, but impatience can be a motivator: Write another book. Build your platform. Do something different.

2. They are inclined toward panic.

All of the foibles of the writer stem from their deep desire not just to be published, but to do it well, to be read by many, and to make a living doing it. So any time any of the specific goals seems threatened, even successful authors tend to get that cold-sweat feeling and wonder if it’s all over. This is when they call their agent or dash off an end-of-the-world email begging for reassurance that life as they know it really isn’t over.

The upside: Well, if you’re panicked at least you know you’re breathing.

3. They are ruled by reviews.

While there are a few wise, brave and totally inhuman writers out there who swear they stay away from reviews both positive and negative, most writers are mere mortals and find that their moods live and die by the latest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or any of the professional review outlets up to the NYT and PW. Bad review = bad day. No matter how many times we remind them that it’s all subjective, that every book gets some negative ones… it doesn’t matter. Many authors still find themselves slaves to the “stars.”

The upside: It’s nice when you’re getting a lot of great reviews. Otherwise… well, nevermind, that wouldn’t be the upside anymore.

4. They get addicted to Bookscan sales reports.

We tell them again and again, “Stay off of Bookscan.” We warn them, “That stuff’s like meth. It’s crack cocaine. It makes you feel horrible and ruins your life.” And yet they keep going back for more. We tell them those reports can have a low accuracy rate (depending on the genre of your book). Checking the numbers every 20 minutes isn’t going to help you. Alas, it’s to no avail. Crack is crack.

The upside: The one good thing about carefully tracking your sales is you may be able to tell if specific promotional efforts created a spike.

5. They can be thin-skinned.

It’s like this weird poetic justice. As if #2 and #3 aren’t enough, many writers also take everything hard (in their cute, thin-skinned way) so those unhappy reviews and sales numbers hurt all the more. We tell them, Develop rawhide! Thicken your skin! It’s a tough road ahead! It doesn’t matter. We are what we are, right? It’s a rare writer who actually has a thick skin.

The upside: That thin skin is what allows people to truly feel things, to experience every up and down of life… and consequently, probably makes them better writers.

6. They can tend towards insecure.

It’s a well-known fact that all writers think they can’t write. One book, six books, 47 books … every writer is convinced, over and over again, that it was a fluke, they’re not a writer, they’ve lost it, they can’t possibly do this again. Ah, insecurity is beautiful, isn’t it?

The upside: If channeled properly, the insecurity can help a successful writer stay humble.

7. They’re remarkably unscheduled.

Impossible to believe, but contrary to ubiquitous writing advice, many writers do not have a set schedule by which they write every day. In fact, numerous successful authors are squeezing the writing in with their day job or even homeschooling their kids. (You know who you are.) My hat’s off to them… I wouldn’t recommend it but somehow they get it done.

The upside: If you can get large amounts of writing done with a less-structured schedule, then your flexibility speaks volumes to your ability to be creative and productive under less-than-ideal circumstances. That is nothing short of awesome.

And a Bonus Habit! They’re easily distracted.

Even the successful authors are susceptible to Twitter, Facebook and reading those darn agent blogs. We’re all easily distracted these days, to our detriment I’m sure, but we can be productive nonetheless.

The upside: You never miss the latest post on the fabulous pie your cousin Mildred baked in honor of Uncle Fred’s colonoscopy.

What are some of YOUR bad habits that you’re willing to share with us?

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85 Responses

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  1. Shah Wharton says:

    I don’t write to an exactly schedule because some days I fly and other’s I flounder in the dirt. There’s no way to schedule one’s moods, unfortunately. Although, would I like to be in the same mood everyday? Wouldn’t make for an exciting life, me thinks.

    As for the rest of the seven: Yes, I can get impatient, I do feel a little gut punch at a not so great review, I have incredibly thin skin (I cry at adverts and FEEL YOUR PAIN!), I’ll never be NYT’s Bestseller, but I that’s okay (because global love ain’t my thang) – :) X

    Great post, mainly because it remind me I’m not a neurotic mess all on my own. :D

  2. I have all of the seven bad habits you mentioned.

    There is another one that I developed in the last year or two. Because now I am relatively successful (earning a better income than 97 percent of authors and the population in general), I have become a little too comfortable. There is no pressure on me to self-publish new books. I am pretty confident that I can earn a great income from my two best-selling books this year and for several years to come whether I work or don’t work. This means that several of my new creative works (over 99 percent completed) may take years to get published – or may not ever get published.

    • M T McGuire says:

      There is one other bad habit. Once we get successful we can have a tendency towards over enthusiasm. We have to tell everyone about this success. I think that, sometimes, our attempts to insert our best sellingness, social media popularity etc into our conversations go more smoothly than others. I hope if I ever do well with my books that I won’t need to keep reminding everyone…. Unless I am just being up front and saying, ‘blimey I shifted some books today!’ The first time it happens.

      Cheers

      MTM

  3. Perhaps my worst habit is to begin work on a new project before the final draft of the previous project has been completed.

    I suppose this straddles the fence between ‘impatience’ and ‘easily distracted’?

    As long as one is moving forward as a writer, it is perhaps a good thing to have imperfections of which we are very aware, lest we partake of the apple of pride.

    There was a Balinese tradition – now, sadly, rarely encountered – that each work of the hands must contain a deliberate imperfection or mistake, so that God does not feel that He is being challenged by His creations.

    As writers, we are a part of that which we create, and we reinvent ourselves with every new work.

    • Surpreet, I like that part about including imperfections in my work. How tempting to say, “I did that on purpose, to honor God’s perfection.” I’ll try it the next time a typo sneaks into the worship bulletin!

  4. Well, now you’ve done it! Since I have developed all eight of those traits to the maximum, yet haven’t reached the NY Times Best Seller list, I must not be as good as my aunt Mildred told me I was.
    Eight? Yes, you have two #3s. Maybe being obsessive-compulsive is number nine. I have that, too. Is that bad? Can I be salvaged?

  5. This was great, Rachelle. You really made me laugh, especially #7 Upside! :) That reminded me of “Ramona and Beezus”! A little girl on the movie said, “There’s a plus” after spilling her list of bad! Cute!

    One thing I’ve been wondering about. As beginners, we are told to expand our following. I’ve read – polite twitter etiquette is to follow those who follow you. However, looking at successful people, they may have a huge following (on Twitter), but they are only following 50. Obviously, they are being more cautious.

    What do you make of those who have 50K followers and are following 50K? I do see a “few” successful writers who have done this.

    Any advice? Just want to know if I’m developing a bad Twitter habit. :)

    • Rachelle Gardner Rachelle Gardner says:

      Shelli, I don’t think anyone can reasonably follow more than 5,000 to 10,000 on Twitter. So to me, that’s about the limit of who you should follow regardless of how many follow you. If your followers start going up into the tens of thousands or more, you are not obligated to follow all those people. On the other hand, following 50 people while thousands are following you is just plain rude, IMHO.

      But maybe I’m the wrong person to ask. I have 43k followers and I follow 8k. I think that’s reasonable.

    • I’m not a fan of Twitter at all. But somehow it’s linked to my Facebook page, which made my Twitter numbers jump. I have ZERO clue how I did that.
      When I dared to follow him, a Very Famous Person followed me back, which stunned me. He follows 150 people, so he must have quite a bit of spare time. Yeah, that’s it.

  6. Zan Marie says:

    Okay, I’ll come clean–Facebook. Enough said. ;-)

  7. This quite possibly is my most favorite blog post of yours. :) Three cheers for bad habits!

  8. Terry Shames says:

    For some reason I haven’t developed #3 and #4. I may glance at Bookscan occasionally (for example, I don’t remember the last time I looked). And as for being ruled by reviews, I love getting reviews–maybe it’s because I have to admit I’ve never gotten a bad one. And I write every day. Sometimes I have to do something that takes me away from writing, but I try to sneak in a few words even then. If I don’t, I feel annoyed. And I’ve got enough #1 to take care of all the rest!

  9. Rachelle, what a fun post. I so appreciate the way you’ve officially taken away all my excuses for not succeeding. :) Although I don’t worry about Bookscan and reviews yet (I’m guessing these will be more challenging once I’m published), I struggle with all of these at one time or another. I’m relieved to know I’m not alone!

    If I was to add one more I’d say it would be I am inclined to think the current WIP (whichever one it is) will be the one that conquers me instead of me writing it. I’m working through a bit of this now. :)

    Thanks for the encouragement and HOPE you offered today!

  10. Jim Lupis says:

    Rachelle, thank you for a very enjoyable post. Who would ever think a post that highlights 7 out of 23 of my imperfections could be enjoyable? I guess it is true that misery loves company. :)

    The good news is in our weakness Jesus does His best work…And He alone gets all the credit.

    • Rachelle Gardner Rachelle Gardner says:

      Thanks, Jim. I thought it would be nice to remind everyone that we ALL struggle! It helps if we can laugh (or at least smile) at ourselves.

  11. Rachelle, you rock! It’s comforting to have my bad habits put into writing, solid and non-changing, so I can take a good look and decide what, if anything, I’ll do about each one.

    My addition to the list is either a fear of failure or a fear of success. Either way, it freezes me in my writing, and I have to use a LOT of energy to make myself write. This detour removes a great deal of the pleasure I otherwise have in writing.

  12. I also have all these bad habits, except for #4. Some are stronger on some days than others. Thanks for showing the upside.
    Knowing I have them, and knowing how they negatively impact my work, helps me be more aware when they’re operating. I really like how you show they can be positive motivators to get back to work.
    Which I must do now…

  13. I’ve been guilty of 1,2,3,5,6,7, and the bonus.
    Thank you, because now I can add #4. Never tried it before.

    • Rachelle Gardner Rachelle Gardner says:

      Oh Bill, #4 is SO much fun. Because then your agent gets to harangue you on the phone: “Back AWAY from the Bookscan.”

  14. Elissa says:

    I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me because I don’t have habits 1-5. In fact, I might not have them to a fault. It’s possible to be so patient that one never feels impelled to get to work. So thick skinned that one doesn’t pay attention to legitimate criticisms that will improve one’s work. Basically, not having a touch of these faults, means not having the advantages of the “upsides”.

    But then you got me: Insecure, unscheduled, and easily distracted. And maybe, if I’m honest, I do, sometimes, have a touch of the other faults as well.

    In the end this is what really matters: “…you now know, unequivocally, that you can no longer use it as an excuse for not reaching your goals. Accept your weaknesses, and carry on.”

  15. Kira Budge says:

    Haha, this post is amazing, thank you.

  16. Carol Alwood says:

    In addition to all the habits you mentioned, apart from the published author issues, I have a special Mission Impossible self-destruct button! This mode makes it so I can easily unwind and destroy my writing with the stroke of a few keys. Like a two year old who must see what happens when the toilet paper is lying all over the floor, this is my special habit. I think it’s because I’m so ultra-focused on writing a tight plot. When one part of my story changes, so does the rest of it, and I have ruined books beyond repair. Short of rewriting the entire manuscript, the project is rendered useless. The upside? My writing stays fresh and exciting, and one day very soon, I’ll wind back up one of these rolls of toilet paper rolls and experience success!

  17. Angie Young says:

    I’m a blogger, not a book writer. But I want to say thank you for this post. This sounds so much like me.

  18. Rachelle, what a great post! I think I’m inclined toward all of these except for panicking. (Unless I’m just not being honest with myself!) :)

    Thanks for listing #7. I beat myself up all the time for not sticking to a schedule. I often read that writers should schedule out a time that’s just for writing. I have a two-year-old, so I know it’s not practical for me to adhere to a strict schedule, but I still wish I could do better.

    Just this morning, my toddler climbed into my lap while I was trying to work on a project with a looming deadline, and I stopped writing to read a book to him (over and over). I felt guilty that I’d stopped writing, but I also feel guilty when I tell him mommy’s busy. Posts like this one help me remember that almost no writer works under ideal circumstances.

  19. When I’m editing, I get distracted easily. But I do need to re-set my brain by goofing off for a while, then coming back at it. But when I’m writing? The house could fall down around me and I wouldn’t notice.

    • I think I’m the opposite! I have SUCH a hard time with the blank page. A while back, I realized I enjoy editing more than writing from scratch. I’m more likely to get distracted during the writing phase than the editing. :)

  20. Thank you, Rachelle.

    I really needed this post today. #6 especially comforted me and reminded me that I’m not alone. One of my bad habits is not believing in my writing and then being surprised when one of my blog posts gets a good response (after I had moaned about what a flop it was going to be). My husband just rolls his eyes. He believes in me and was the one to prompt me to start my first novel (I’d been dragging my feet with fear). I appreciate him and posts like this one.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

  21. Melissa Tagg says:

    That bonus one made me LOL because it’s so ridiculously true of me. #2 and #6 are my worst though. Panic and insecurity. Funny thing is, writing is the only thing that does it to me! I don’t tend to panic or even feel all that insecure about anything else…but when it comes to writing, oh boy…good to know I’m not alone, though.

    • That’s interesting to hear from you, Melissa. You have such a way with words and story. :) It’s reassuring to know that authors I enjoy reading share the same struggles I have. :)

  22. The moment I begin my post on why I am just a dreamer not a writer here comes your post across my newsfeed…
    She’s got great stories but she gives up when her ADD kicks in and a long night with no sleep wrestling with my life stories and all the reasons I should not write them. The divine appointments and confirmation is never enough… The fact I get distracted by everything and procrastinate … Impatiently I might add…
    I am thin skinned and my heart is on my sleeve so fear keeps me from submitting or maybe it’s the unscheduled life that I lead.
    Maybe it’s the fact that I am very insecure and easily distracted by the
    air-conditioner coming on and the fact that I heard a bird outside and wondered “what kind of bird was that”? Was I suppose to put the question mark on the outside of the quote ? Hmmm oh the bird !! The bird was gone but look at these plants… I need to wash my windows…. No Doris focus … You have to write today… You have a chance to meet with a publisher in three weeks… Oh my I need a one sheet …

    Never mind I forgot what this post was about …

    See why I am not ever going to finish writing ….

    Oh then I see your post and it brought tears to my eyes

  23. I pretend that I’m thick-skinned and patient, but I can fool no one who knows me regarding unscheduled. I call it flexible.

    But I think the truth of numbers 1-7 depend on the day. Not that I fly off the handle one day and the next have the patience of Job, but there are seasons when I have patience, when I welcome criticism as a means of improvement, and I am confident that God has chosen me to write.

    Then something happens, and I’m as insecure as a crying toddler on Santa’s lap.

  24. “Can you have a few bad habits and still succeed?”

    The real question is, can I have ALL of these bad habits and still succeed? It sounded like you were describing me! #4 cracked me up. I used to check my Amazon rankings a few times a day until it got too depressing. Recently my numbers-oriented husband discovered it. He keeps informing me when my numbers rise or drop. Does that make us codependent? :)

  25. I’m pretty good at #1, impatience, and #7, being very unscheduled, but I have a PhD degree in #6, insecurity.
    Yeah, I have a published bible study. Yeah, it won a major award at the Blue Ridge writers conference.
    But…either it was a fluke or the selection committee was delusional. Personally, I think it was both.
    Glad to know I’m not alone. Very glad to know there is an upside. I’m focusing on that!

  26. Keli Gwyn says:

    I don’t have a single one of those habits. Nope. Not one. I do however, have seven out of eight. (I’d have all eight, but I don’t have access to Bookscan.) Guess that makes a writer. :-)

    Excellent post, Rachelle! You made me laugh.

  27. It’s a mystery: I have all these bad habits, but I’m not famous. Go figure.

  28. Lori Benton says:

    “You is calm, you is patient, and you is scheduled.”

    Somebody must have lovingly drilled that into my head once upon a time ago. As for the rest…

    I read every review of my books I can find.

    I get hurt by the less than happy ones.

    I watch my book sale numbers bounce up and down like jumping beans.

    I am as insecure about my writing as the next writer.

    I spend too much time on Facebook.

    • Sondra Kraak says:

      Lori, thanks for your honesty. Can’t imagine you being insecure about your writing, but that’s the human heart, isn’t it? The fear I have about being published is that once I do it once, there’ll be pressure to do it again, and to do it better.

  29. Jamie says:

    I am incredibly insecure. I get my writing done, then I go read a book by a favorite author, and I think, “I’ll NEVER be this good. I should just quit now. I can’t compete with this kind of talent.”

    I also have ADD, so Facebook, agent blogs, and unicorns tend to get in the way. And the 4 year-old.

    Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone. Again.

  30. I just joined: “The Thick Skin Club” on Critique Circle so I’m covered.

  31. Rachel:
    I am at a point in my life when I don’t think I have those seven you mention. I of course have many, but they are different.
    I lived in New York City for over twelve years, so I have the skin of a crocodile. I do need to practice patience, especially with Agents.
    About a week ago I finished my manuscript for my first novel. I don’t care if I don’t get published. I enjoy writing. No other profession allows you to create a brand new world, and then erase it by throwing it into the trashcan. Nagh, I am still insecure, is what I’m writing good?

  32. I write a lot, I started a novel titled THE DRUG LORD, about the drug trade in Venezuela. In South America the trade permeates all ways of life. It took me 35 days to write around 130,000 words. But I put it away to wait for a better time because I don’t have a good anti-hero.
    Some days I think I can make it as a writer, other days I think that what I am writing is trash. I hope there is an upside to being insecure, nervous, wanting to do well and all the other foibles that I have. Thank you Rachel for your help, we love you.

  33. Love this! So true that every weakness has its compensating strength. Thanks for the reminders, Rachelle. And the pie in honor of the colonoscopy–classic! :)

  34. John L. Monk says:

    Ugh, I have all these bad habits. Very nice to know I’m not alone :)

    This was one of the first sites I discovered when I started reaching out to find agent/editing/writing sites. It’s incredible. Perma-linked on my blog.

    Cheers

  35. Sydney Avey says:

    Waking up at 3 am and using the time to catch up on blogs instead of figuring out how to fall back to sleep. No early am posts here. You are all so healthy!

  36. I think the old adage is true, Misery Loves Company, we tend to feel better if others have the same foibles that we have, which I think is natural, since most of us are social people. But this way we can support each other, which is a good thing.

  37. Heidi Rice says:

    Wow, I have all ten of those bad habits…. I’m hoping that means I’m a successful author. Or does it just mean I need to add delusional as number 11?

  38. Reba Stanley says:

    |Rachelle –
    Wow, some of those are soooo me. ha-haaa
    My new book is coming out in about a month. I’m just now getting to the ‘ok you can breathe now’ stage. Impenitent, Thin skin, Insecurity and no set scheduled writing time…yep it’s me. :0)

  39. Susan says:

    “Personally, I’m looking forward to developing my need and desire for Bookscan!” she mumbled to herself rubbing her hands together in a wickedly fashion over her keyboard.

  40. These are absolutely true, Rachelle. I have to say I suffer from all of these at some stage of the writing process or other! Especially #7. I do write every day, but not at any scheduled time as of yet…

    I love what you said in your introduction though, you’re totally right: it’s NOT an excuse for us writers to not reach our goals. I wrote a post in May called “The 15 Principles Of Highly Successful Authors” to show that writers can still succeed in spite of weaknesses like these.

    This post is strangely comforting, however. Just to know that I’m not alone with these habits. Thanks for sharing!

  41. Agata Krupa says:

    Great post and comments that follows just top it up. I totally agree with most of them (no 4 hasn’t effected me yet though). The worst one is impatience that for me that also equals “…to begin work on a new project before the final draft of the previous project has been completed…” as Surpreet Singh said.

  42. The western mind is not used to patience, we have been influenced by Madison Avenue to wish for instant gratification.
    Impatience can be a bad habit, but it can also be good if you learn to control it and make it work for you.

  43. Agata Krupa says:

    To control impatience is hard but doable. For me it’s a bit like keeping going forward despite all the obstacles. Later on we realize that various delays, barriers were there for some reason. We just have to believe in ourselves. Now to make impatience work for us sounds like something new.

  44. An insightful article.
    It proves one thing:I *must* be a writer…

  45. M T McGuire says:

    I lurch from one crises to another, shoving opportunities to write in the spaces in between. I didn’t used to check my figures because I didn’t sell any books but I am beginning to notice the beginnings do an addiction to Booktrakr.com.

    Hmmmm… I was thin skinned about reviews but I feel more confident in my work these days. I am also a bit dim. It took me 13 years, at least, and 4 attempts to learn how to write a book.

    Cheers

    MTM

  46. Paul Jenny says:

    Great post! I wrote one on Stories are the Wildest Things about 10 Ways to Know You’re a Writer http://t.co/5I9s3Qpt4p

  47. Sondra Kraak says:

    “We’re all just muddling along.” What an encouragement to know there’s camaraderie in the muddling. Sometimes I worry that I have to have my ducks in order before having a chance with an agent, editor, or publisher. But perfection is something we move toward in degrees. Even reading published authors over the span of their career, I can tell how their writing grows and changes–or doesn’t, or goes backward if they’re spitting out novels too fast. Thanks, Rachelle, for the encouragement.

  48. Rebecca says:

    Haha, this was great! And strangely comforting.

  49. The year my first book was released, I was addicted to check sales numbers. I don’t do it as much anymore because I want to focus my attention on writing more.

  50. I agree with you Cheryl, it is more important to devote time to writing your next book than looking at the sales figures.
    If you write good books that people like, the sales will take care of themselves.

  51. I too like your thought about how the truth is “we’re all just muddling along.” And i identify with Shah’s observation that your post is great because it reminds us we are not a neurotic mess on our own.

    The bad habit I wrestle with most from your list is insecurity. I’ve struggled with this since my Junior High years, despite successes.

    Now if a publisher accepts a manuscript or i receive a letter praising my historical novel about the composer J.S. Bach, I strut about for awhile with my nose in the air until something happens to destroy my illusions of grandeur.

    But you know what? I’ve discovered that pride fences me in and humility sets me free. It truly is a blessing in disguise.

    Thank you so much, Rachelle, for your stimulating blogs.

    RuthAnn Ridley

    • RuthAnn: I think that we are all insecure to some extent, by the nature of what we are, we strive, but we are not sure if we will succeed. Like you, I found that being humble helped me a lot. I was not happy when I had my big job in Corporate America. I am happy now that I am writing, and putting pieces of my soul into the words, maybe it is a message, maybe I can help others, but being humble has made me happier.

  52. Yes. This exactly. I am most guilty of being an Amazon Ranking crack addict. There’s a little chart that shows my exact mood. Updated hourly.

    I’m also extremely impatient. My second book came out on Monday and I’m already in a panic. What if I never sell another book?

  53. Wow. I’m a little of all on some level, but mainly I’m a #7. Squeezin’ it in, baby, and then suddenly there’s a 100K MS in my hand. Tune and tweak, and you’re on your way. Don’t despise the day of small beginnings (or writings). The other thing is believing whether or not the MS is good enough, and finding the RIGHT people to help grow it, cut it, raise it to the next level.

    A classic post :)

  54. Mercey: Good for you! It is better to have more than less. I do the same, write a lot and then start pruning the tree.

  55. lidy says:

    Most definitely, I’m number 7. Even when I set a schedule to write 500 words or 1000 words, or any amount of words for the day, I can’t get it done. So I just squeeze in what writing I can, sometimes before the kids wake up and I leave for work in the morning, during my lunch hour and after I put the kids the bed, when all prep for the next day are completed, dinner cooked, dishes washed and whatever mess was made had been cleaned up. If I’m lucky and not too tired, that I just want a little R&R.

  56. Leanne Dyck says:

    Thank you for this peep talk. Am I human? Oh, yeah. Do I have flaws? Oh, yeah. My biggest failing to write a draft copy of comment before posting it on a blog. Every where I go on-line I’m attempting to build my author career. Yet how professional do I look without a well-written comment. Well at least I’ve never left a nasty comment.

  57. Timothy Kennedy says:

    And, they procrastinate. At least, I procrastinate.

    Rachelle, thanks for reminding us that we’re not alone. Sitting there at your writing station, in the company only of your doubts and anxieties, you can easily forget that you are a member of a privileged group–those who get to write!

  58. Sarah Lentz says:

    Have you been spying on me? No, I’m sure you haven’t, but, boy, can I relate to this list — except for the stuff about being a successful author, because I haven’t published a book of my own. Not yet, anyway. Thank you for this, though. Nice to know I’m not the only writer with these habits. :)

  59. You are not alone. I think I had a brain attack, I had my novel finished, final manuscript, was going to look for an agent, start sending query letter.
    Looking at the manuscript I thought how could I make it more interesting, so I changed the title to THE WITCH AND THE HOUND, and moved the timeline from the present to Victorian London, in 1867. The witch is a member of the aristocracy, Lady Elizabeth Gray, which makes the novel much more interesting than before.
    The downside is that I’m throwing away about 75% of my scenes, but the result will be better. So I’m doing a lot of writing.

  60. Sara Ella says:

    Hmmm….not published yet, but if I ever do get there I’ll possibly be #3. I enter writing contests every other month. While contests are good motivators and give me tangible deadlines to meet, I will say I sometimes get obsessed with waiting for the feedback. I want to know if they liked it, what they would change, what they would add, where they connected with my characters, etc…

    On the upside, great feedback=awesome day. Downside, negative feedback can send me straight to my freezer for a tub of cake batter ice cream BUT I try my best to look at it subjectively and move on :)Not everyone will like what I have to say.

    I think we all have our weaknesses, but they key is to recognize them and try to grow from there.

    Thanks for another fun blog post, Rachelle! I always enjoy reading them.

  61. All of these plus a huge general disgust with my first published book that I can’t seem to get past fiddling with.

  62. Anne says:

    Great article. But am I the only one who does not agree with point #6? I am not a writer who thinks I cannot write. I’ve always known I could write and grow professionally as a writer. I may have other insecurities but writing is not it.