What if It's All Junk?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 10:52
Stack of papers - flickr - ant.photos

I face this fear almost every time I write. What if it’s all junk? What if nobody likes it? The list goes on.

But why do we not ask the opposite? What if it’s great? What if it really connects with a reader in a big way? What if it permanently shifts their perspective on life forever? And all from a single post, how amazing!

In looking at my website stats, I’m always surprised at what articles become hits and what articles never gain any traction. I assume I know what will resonate with others, but how would I know? I don’t live their lives, I don’t know necessarily know what makes them tick.

Redefine the Goal

As I’ve stated in my about section, my goal at this point in my career is to improve my skills as a writer. And I know this is an art form that takes lots of practice and experimentation. So what if this post is junk? I’d rather call it practice.

When I coached track and field, many of my athletes would beat themselves up if they couldn’t execute a jump with perfect form in the first few months of training. But that simply was not a realistic goal, and it actually slowed down their progress because they would rush towards the end goal without getting the basic mechanics down.

So if, like me, you’re still trying to hone your writing skills, stop trying to be the next great American author one week out of the gates. Instead, learn the basics and keep practicing.

Some Resources

None of these are affiliate links. But they are products or tools that I turn to for inspiration and to take my skills to the next level.

  • Writing Tools. This book has changed my life because it stresses learning tools versus rules. It has empowered me to take chances in my writing and focus on the meaning versus judging myself into oblivion.

  • Chris Brogan’s How to Write a Book series. Writing takes more than creativity. It takes the discipline. Chris offers some great pointers on how to get around these mental/emotional/psychological hurdles.

  • The War of Art. This is a step by step guide to beating the enemy of art—resistance. If you find yourself in a slump, check this book out. It’s a fast and powerful read.

Keep on Swinging

Some of my posts may be junk. Well, the best baseball players in the world strike out 7 times out of 10. The key is to keep getting up to the plate. People will eventually forget the strike outs, but many will remember the home runs.

And you? Do you face this fear as well? If so, how do you overcome it? If not, what about this fear is crippling your ability to practice?


Image by ant.photos used under the creative commons.

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.