I love this writing tip, “80 percent of success is showing up.” There’s some controversy about this quote: who said it first, and which variant was used first, whether it was said about “life”, or about “success.”’
Whatever—it’s a brilliant writing tip.
A fundament writing tip: show up
The quote’s often attributed to Woody Allen, who reports he did say, “80 percent of success is showing up”.
Moreover, he said it about writing, in an interview:
“My observation was that once a person actually completed a play or a novel he was well on his way to getting it produced or published, as opposed to a vast majority of people who tell me their ambition is to write, but who strike out on the very first level and indeed never write the play or book.
“In the midst of the conversation, as I’m now trying to recall it, I did say that 80 percent of success is showing up.”
Show up for your writing (and selling your writing)
I’m a huge proponent of showing up for your writing by writing every day. Here’s why, in a word: habit. Once you form a writing habit, writing becomes easier, because it’s just what you do. You don’t have to think about it.
Showing up for selling your writing is a little more challenging. No matter how often you do it, or how long you’ve done it, there’s an element of doubt involved. Will it sell? That doubt leads to procrastination, which breeds even more doubt. And yet more procrastination.
Reminding yourself to “show up”, even if you’re flooded with doubt, helps.
To help you to show up, choose a writing tip
Whether you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year or not, these tips can help. By the way: these tips work, no matter what kind of writing you do.
- Remember, you have to prime the pump. When you sit down to write, write;
- Trust yourself. Your conscious mind may be filled with doubt, but it’s your creative self (subconscious mind) which does the writing. So doubts don’t matter;
- Expect your first draft of anything to be woeful. You’re writing, and writing isn’t typing. If it’s not chaotic, you’re reining yourself in. Let your creativity soar;
- Write first, edit later. Avoid combining the two processes;
- Avoid comparing yourself to other writers. You do you;
- On any given day, do your best. Think of all your writing as practice. The more writing you do, the more you’ll improve;
- Generally speaking, avoid talking about writing to non-writers. Or if you’re selling your writing, to people who can’t buy it;
- Show up always and keep showing up.
Choose one writing tip from the above tips for this week and put it into practice.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.