10 Signs You Don't Have What It Takes To Make It As A Writer

#2. You see writing as a get-rich-quick scheme.

Shannon Ashley
Feb 9 · 5 min read

1. You haven't made writing a habit.

A lot of people talk about becoming a writer before they've actually written anything. Or, they write so infrequently that it's unclear whether or not they can make the leap to write regularly.

There's no rule in writing that you must write every day, but make no mistake--you must write regularly. Writing is active. You can't just sit on the sidelines and talk about writing until you miraculously become a writer. That's not going to happen.

Your first step to writing successfully is writing before you're successful. If this feels somehow wrong to you, you probably aren't cut out for writing.

2. You look at writing as a get-rich-quick scheme.

Maybe you do have a great writing habit, but you're frustrated because you're not making a lot of money at it. And instead of focusing on your (ahem) writing, you're just spinning your wheels wondering how you can make more money faster.

Or, you're consumed by the idea that you should be making more money. Lots of money. Passive income in your sleep money.

But writing has never been a get rich-quick-scheme. People message me all the time saying they need to make a bunch of money asap. If this is you, your best bet isn't to forge your own writing career.

You'd be better off managing social media accounts for local businesses instead. (And I'll definitely write about that soon.)

3. You need somebody to hold your hand at all times.

There is nothing wrong with asking questions--it's one important way we learn. However, there is a problem with asking other people to hold your hand at every turn as you (try to) launch a writing career.

If you are new to writing, it's only natural to want to learn from anyone ahead of you. I hope you study them well. But as much as other writers would like to help you, you have got to take some damn initiative to teach your own self how to navigate the world of writing.

The writers here ahead of you? They're busy reading and writing. They have not only done their research, but they are still doing their research. They didn't get to their place by having somebody hold their hand every step along the way.

4. You need somebody to pat you on the back for everything you write.

Many people who get into writing are looking for constant feedback--typically in the form of praise. But if you're serious about writing, you need to know that this is a career filled with rejection. Nobody who's actually cut out to make it as a writer can be in it for the kudos. Seriously.

People who want to successfully earn a living as a writer must learn to roll with the punches, get back up after they've been knocked down, and keep writing even without a pat on the back.

5. You get discouraged easily when things get tough.

Do you get discouraged easily? Consider that no writer's journey is going to be a continual rise. There are going to be seasons where you crash and burn. Every writing professional will go through plenty of highs and lows.

If you are the type of person who gets discouraged easily, writing may not be for you. Discouragement is so common among writers--you need to figure out how to manage it for yourself early before you crash and burn.

6. You give up when things don't go the way you want.

Are you a quitter? Be serious. Most people big on quitting do it anytime things don't go their way. You should be prepared for the fact that writing will never go the way you want. That's not a bad thing, but it does mean that you need to be the kind of person who can cope with the unexpected.

Did somebody tell you that writing was easy? If so, that somebody lied. Plenty of people think they shouldn’t have to struggle as writers, but that’s simply not how it works. Most successful writers have known years, if not decades, of struggle. Quit looking for shortcuts.

7. You've got a grand (ahem, rigid) master plan.

Some would-be writers create these rigid master plans for their future writing career, which honestly, make no sense. Sorry, but you're probably not going to be world famous by age 25. Too much of your success as a writer depends upon factors you can't imagine. Like your audience's reaction to your writing.

Sure, we all hope that our work will be well-received. But there's no guarantee of anything that will happen once you put your work out there. Your first book could be a flop. Your writing might even flop for years. Or, you might enjoy a success or two and then flop, flop, flop.

There's nothing wrong with having goals as a writer, but you definitely need to let go of any rigid master plan. Why? Because you'll derail as soon as that master plan fails.

8. You worry about other writers stealing your ideas.

Creativity breeds creativity and we should all inspire each other. But the people who set out to be writers and can't quite cut it--they're not interested in creative collaboration.

A lot of people out there talk a big game about becoming writers and then hoard their ideas. They won't discuss them with anybody else for fear they'll be stolen. If you're one of these folks, you might not be cut out to write after all.

The reality is that you really don't need to protect your ideas like precious little darlings. Write and share freely. Anyone who's made for writing can hold their own in a world of fellow creators. Relax, because writing is not a competition. Besides, a great voice will always trump a similar idea.

9. You worry about other writers having an advantage over you.

Have you ever complained about another writer who was more successful than you? And then chalked up all of their success to luck, clickbait, or some other undeserved explanation? This is a pretty common problem among writers--some people in the community complain that anyone who's doing better than them must have been given an unfair advantage.

Of course, the reality is that writing is damn hard work, and anyone who's been able to make any headway in this business is doing the work. If you're so preoccupied with the careers of other writers that you make assumptions that they don't deserve their success, you haven't focused enough on your own writing.

10. You insist that your audience is everybody.

Many great writers appeal to multiple groups of people, but no writer can write for everyone. The reality is that the writers who try to appeal to all audiences typically fall flat simply because they can’t maintain a strong voice. Their voice is always changing and there’s nothing for any audience to grasp.

But I know, some wanna-be writers insist that they're different--a unicorn. If you honestly believe that you can write for everybody, you haven't bothered to hone your voice, and that's a clear sign of somebody who isn't cut out to be a writer.


Awkwardly Honest

A home for some of my most cringe-worthy tales that have been well-received on Medium.

Shannon Ashley

Written by

Single mama, fulltime writer, exvangelical. It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. Top Writer. http://www.patreon.com/shannonashley

Awkwardly Honest

A home for some of my most cringe-worthy tales that have been well-received on Medium.