I know a lot of writers, whether they are bloggers, freelancers, or novelists. And over the last decade, I’ve seen quite a few of them prevent their own success. For the most part, it all boils down to various mental hangups.
Now, I can’t tell you how to overcome those mental issues. Everyone is different, and what seems like something minuscule to one person may be enormous to another.
However, I can share how I’ve adapted to some of the things that held me back over the years.
9 Ways People Often Prevent Their Success
So, I can attest to quite a few of these. However, I’ve managed to go past several and achieved some great things.
For the most part, most of this list can fall under “impostor syndrome,” which is something apparently a lot of authors have. Well, at least on Twitter.
I’d say about 90% of the authors I’ve met so far suffer from impostor syndrome in one form or another.
1. Too Much Procrastinating
One of my biggest issues in the past was procrastinating. Hence why it took me nearly a decade to write and publish my first book. And why it’s taking me a lot longer to finish writing Kingmaker and the several story ideas I have for Wattpad.
This isn’t too much of an issue today, as I am more wrapped up with client work and the many other projects I have going on. However, procrastinating is still holding a lot of things back that I want to accomplish.
How often do you put off until tomorrow what you could do today? It’s an exceptionally difficult habit to break.
2. Underestimating Goals
Personally, I don’t underestimate goals because of how I set them up to begin with. For me, it’s all about surpassing my own personal bests. Such as writing one more word today than I did yesterday.
Nonetheless, I know a lot of people who swing for the fences only to fall flat on their faces because they didn’t take into account what the entire process is of any given task.
I’ve also seen a lot of writers set themselves up for failure because their goals were too unrealistic. This is why I am constantly talking about the topic, actually.
3. Taking Criticism to Heart
This is perhaps one of the most heartbreaking issues I’ve seen on Twitter. As a writer, you need to have a bit of a thick skin. Because you cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time, you need to take criticism with a grain of salt.
I saw one potentially good writer give up after one rejection on Textbroker. In fact, she even quit social media altogether because of the experience. She didn’t even want to try looking for private clients or spend time learning what went wrong.
In the beginning, I took every critique from editors and spent time perfecting those points. You don’t have to give up as long as you’re willing to learn.
4. Fear of Failing
Plenty of us has a fear of failing. It’s when it gets to the point where you don’t put in the effort is when it gets to be a problem. A lot of people won’t even try because they have it in their heads that it would be a waste of time.
The turning point for me is when I started viewing things differently. Instead of calling it a “failing,” I’ve decided to view it as more of a learning experience. Because if you learn from the attempt, it only improves the rate of success for next time.
It’s all about personal growth and self-improvement. No one wakes up and is instantly an expert in their field. Persevere through the rough times and you’ll be stronger for it next time.
5. Not Knowing Enough
I’ve seen a lot of people assume they are expert writers without really knowing anything about search intent, SEO content writing, or AP Style knowledge.
In fact, I had a close personal friend give up on writing because he didn’t know enough to be rated higher than average on Textbroker. I actually tell the story about him in my book.
Even after a decade of working from home as a freelancer, blogger, YouTuber, and author, I still don’t know enough. I’m constantly in a state of learning, which is part of the reason why I am so successful.
6. Lack of Direction
Not having a plan of action can ultimately prevent your success. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t be successful by winging it. However, not having a clear direction or path only makes things more difficult.
Especially if you don’t really know where you want your writing career to take you.
In the beginning, all I wanted to do was replace my piddly paycheck from the school district. It wasn’t until three years later that I decided I wanted to be a novelist.
Where do you want to be in 10 years as a writer? The truth is, you probably have no idea where you’ll wind up by then. I had no idea that I would be where I am today when starting in 2012.
7. Simply Doing “Enough” to Get By
As much as I hate to admit this, I was once one of those people who were content with just doing enough to get by. This meant as long as the immediate bills were paid, I was happy.
The truth is that this mindset had held me back quite a bit over the years.
Paying the bills is great. But I would love to have an inflatable hot tub. Or, perhaps be able to take my van in to get fixed. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually go on a date with someone and want to take her somewhere nice.
The point is that just doing enough may be OK for some folk. But it can prevent you from really exploring what you could do as a writer.
8. Dwelling on Personal Faults
A lot of people will dwell on faults, mistakes, or otherwise negative elements. The problem with dwelling on these kinds of things is that it’s not exactly conducive to getting you anywhere.
When you blow a tire on the road, do you stand there and stare at the tire wishing it wasn’t flat and spending all day wondering why it popped? Or, do you change the tire and get back on the road?
You need to find ways to overcome those negative elements and move on. Besides, you could learn an awful lot from those situations that will vastly improve your success later.
9. Lack of Self-Confidence
One of the most prominent things that prevent success for many people is a lack of self-confidence. I had this in spades back in the day. I didn’t know what I was doing and sometimes felt I was in way over my head.
However, as time marched on, I began to realize my abilities as I continued to work on improving myself. Nowadays, I am far more confident in what I do as a freelance writer.
Now, I’m still working on the confidence part as a fictional author. But I’m confident I’ll find the same success as I continue to learn and grow.
It’s not something that’s going to happen instantly. But once you realize your own potential, things get a hell of a lot easier…and fun.
Don’t Focus too Much on Success; Prevent Failure Instead
Instead of worrying too much about failure, why not spend that energy learning how to prevent such issues?
If you’re not sure how to handle SEO or AP Style writing, spend some time learning. Not sure how to start as an author? Learn from others who have found success as published creators.
Working to prevent failure in the first place can help you achieve success. This doesn’t mean that every attempt will be immune to mistakes or problems. But if you take time to learn lessons from those mistakes, you’ll only become that much better next time.
One of my favorite sayings is, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.” And this works in just about every circumstance in life. What it means is that spending a few moments now to prevent something will save you from fixing immense issues that may arise.
What Gets in Your Way from Achieving All that You Want?
I know from personal experience I have been the biggest hurdle in my success. Sure, I became an incredible freelance writer. But I could have been far more than I am today if I would have not let my insecurities run rampant.
Don’t prevent your success by wallowing in the things I mentioned above. A better life is before you, as long as you make the effort to accomplish the things you want.
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