My 10 Guidelines to Staying Sane as a (Published) Writer

1. Even if you take a break from writing, don’t actually stop writing. Always try to keep something creative boiling on the back burner of your mind. Feeling consistently productive is usually the greatest source of a writer’s motivation.

2. If you insist on reading reviews and you feel the need to punch the computer screen with your fist, don’t. And don’t ever respond in any form or fashion. Be careful what you say about reviews in any form or fashion, even to your friends in private. Saying bad things about other people’s opinions (because they really are just opinions)ย rarely comes off making you look good in the long run.

3. Don’t ever assume you are worth less than another writer, no matter how on the bottom-of-the-publishing-barrel you feel.

4. Even if the publishing world crumbles around you (or it threatens to crumble your world) remember nobody can ever take away the books you have written and how they have changed you.

5. Don’t call your friends liars by not believing what they say to you about your writing, good or bad. However, rely on your intuition for choosing what to change from criticism. If someone tells you exactly how to fix something (unless it’s grammar), it’s usually wrong for your book. Take feedback. Figure out the fixes yourself.

6. Making time for reading is as important as making time for writing. Period.

7. Don’t ever judge a method of publication, including your own.

8. If you feel like an outcast in the publishing world, it probably means you’re incredibly unique. Live it up. Nobody really wants to be a lemming.

9. If you’re trying to make a living from your books, remember that for most of us it’s slow-going. Always be writing another book (see above about back burners), and don’t forget to, you know, live.ย 

10. “Breaking out/making it big” on a first book, or fifth book, or tenth book, isn’t always the best way to go. A solid, quality backlist that sells is a stronger foundation and will make you even bigger in the long run. So. Keep. Writing.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle

15 comments

Great post. *bookmarks page*

Donna K. Weaver

All good stuff here, Michelle. I was excited to go and see who'd added my book and didn't realize that a few people who've read it might have already given it stars. While they are awesome so far it's made me hesitant to go back. lol

Linda Cassidy Lewis

Thanks for this list, Michelle. I know it comes from your sometimes difficult experiences. And I need to read it daily.

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Ilima — Thanks! I need to call you or something. I think we're both feeling some difficult things lately.Donna — Oh, Goodreads is a Bad Place to visit for new authors. I am finally (after four published books) to the point where I can go on there and not care about checking new reviews. But it took four published books. Sigh.Linda — It definitely comes from my difficult experiences, but at least I've learned stuff! I need to read it daily too. Sometimes I read through my old posts and I'm like how did I forget this stuff?

Caroline Starr Rose

Well said!

Goodreads absolutely rocks out for new authors. You can watch what serious readers read after they are done with your book. You can see what types of reviews people write in your genre. You can see what fans who add you as a friend do when reading other books.If you have a thick skin, Goodreads is THE place to bee-boop around as an author wanting to get the lay of the land.Goodreads does have community issues. There are some people who are vindictive and elitist for no reason.The positives, however, outweigh negativity.In your case, Michelle, I can see how Goodreads could have been bad for you. But I'm a new author and I've gained readers simply by being up there.I also read every single review. Granted, I don't have many yet, but that's me.

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Caroline — Thanks!Anthony — I had those same thoughts when I put Cinders out there.

Stauna R. Asay

Love! Thanks for your insights!

I needed this post today. I have a serious case of the crazies at the moment. Excellent advise.

Davin Malasarn

Michelle, this list made me feel so good!

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Stauna — Thank you! Robin — Aww, I hope you're doing alright. *hugs* You know my email if you ever need to vent!Davin — Oh, that's good to hear! It made me feel better to write it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kathryn Purdie

Smart advice! Now if I can only live it…when I'm published, of course…okay, IF I'm published. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Great advice. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks.

I love the intuition note …. it is so important to learn how to develop and trust that inner artist. well said here.

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Katie — I think some of this goes for even if you aren't published YET. Because you will be!Monique — Thanks! Good luck in the query contest at Rhemalda!Tess — Intuition is everything to me, especially since I forget so much stuff all the time. Intuition is always a guiding arrow, of sorts!

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