Monday, May 29, 2017

Why Expectations Are The Writer's Worst Enemy (And What To Do Instead)

Expectations: The Writer’s Worst Enemy

Next to not writing, expectations can be a writer’s worst enemy. If for no other reason than a writer has no control over expectations. What do I mean?

You’ve written a book, put it through its paces with revisions and editing, and now it’s ready for public consumption. Here’s how expectations can trip us up:


If you’re indie publishing it, expecting to sell hundreds (or more) copies in a day, week, or month.

Expecting a publisher to give you a large advance and tons of promotion.

If you’re submitting to an agent, expecting them to take you on and get a huge book deal.

Expecting all of your family and friends to be supportive of your writing dream.


After I sold my first novel to Pinnacle, a well-known agent took me on. I was excited. This was it. He negotiated my next two books with Pinnacle. After that, I was sure a deal with one of the big five (at the time) publishers awaited. I decided to switch genres and write a crime novel. The book just didn’t work, even after I cut the thing in half and revised the hell out of it. I was expecting the book to sell. Eventually, I parted ways with the agent and went indie.

Instead of focusing on what you expect in a writing career, look at what you can control. Set some measurable goals for yourself, such as:


  • Reading one book on writing craft a week
  • Reading two books per month in your genre and studying the author’s techniques
  • Writing X amount of words per day
  • Blogging a certain number of times per week
  • Sending out two short stories per month to different markets



There are tons of other goals you can set for yourself as a writer. Make these your focus, do the work, and results will come.

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