Setting Boundaries (For You & Your Writing)
Craftsmen and skilled laborers give their work all the attention it needs to finish the job and to do it right. Writers should be the same way.
And yet, most writers don’t allow themselves to treat their writing like professional work. So many of us are told that writing is just a hobby, something you can do for fun but shouldn’t come before the “important” things in life.
Setting boundaries for your writing means that you are ready to take it seriously, and you want the people in your life to take it seriously, too.
Here are a few great ways to set boundaries for yourself and your craft:
1. Don’t Compare Your Writing to Others
Similar to how we shouldn’t compare ourselves to other people, we should not compare our writing to the most recent NYT Bestseller.
Nothing stops you from writing faster than these few intrusive thoughts:
- “[Famous author] already did this… and better.”
- “Oh no, my book is just another version of [popular trope].”
- “My setting isn’t as cool as [your favorite book].”
- “No one is going to love my characters as much as [famous character].”
Comparing yourself and your work to others is extremely bad for your self-esteem. Published books that you compare your writing to not only have undergone several edits and rewrites but also have teams of people who worked on them.
You can’t compare your current draft with a polished piece of fiction that you find on the shelves. You have no idea how terrible that first draft was and never will.
Only focus on your writing as it is right now, and worry about the quality of it later. You can always have a terrible first draft, as long as you finish it first.
Other Authors have Different Circumstances
Ignoring how your writing compares to others is just half the problem. The other half is comparing your output or writing schedule to other authors.