All writers are creative types, with cluttered desks, and messy piles, right? To be a good writer, one lives on coffee and stale potato chips only coming up for air when the book’s done, right? Maybe. Or maybe we as writers have convinced ourselves that this is how a “real” writer acts.
Writers spend so much time trying to determine when they will be a “real” writer. Just like the stereotype that all accountants wear green eyeshades, the stereotypes about writers persist whether they are accurate or not.
RIGHT-BRAIN VS. LEFT-BRAIN
Writing is generally considered a creative “right-brain” activity. However, you don’t have to turn off the left-half of your brain to be a writer. The best writers learn the secrets of when to use their right-brain and when to use their left-brain.
The most successful writers realize that writing is a business, and just like any other business, a certain amount of organization and timeliness is required. The best writers can read their mood. On creative days, they crank out the pages to their novel. On left-brain days, they send out invoices, clean out their files, and clean off their desks.
MESSY VS. ORGANIZED
Certain personality types crave “messes.” The clutter makes them feel comfortable. But it also eats away at their writing time since they spend it searching through piles of papers and old half-eaten sandwiches.
The secret for the messy writer is to confine the messes to a “messy zone.” The messy zone is limited to one shelf in an office or the basket next to a reading chair. The mess is still there for the comfort factor, but it doesn’t take over.
The procrastinating writer writes the book but never sends the manuscript. Their brilliant ideas pile up, but they never send a query. There’s always a better time…later. Unfortunately, the procrastinator never feels the joy of success.
The procrastinator needs rewards, and lots of them. By planning wonderful rewards for simple acts, the procrastinator realizes the best time to write isn’t later. It’s right now.
The perfectionist writes the book but never finishes it. They are constantly revising, editing and reworking. This time eater takes away the fun of writing. Since nothing is ever good enough, what’s the point of writing anything?
The perfectionist needs positive feedback and reinforcement. When they hear others say, “This is really good. You should submit it,” they can silence the inner critic that says, “You could make it sound better.”
Who is a real writer? It’s actually anyone who puts words to paper and sends them out into the world. And while anyone can sit down with a word processor, only real writers overcome the personality traits that could sidetrack them.