1. Rejection letters – So you’re cruising along on your current WIP and you get the dreaded rejection letter.  I could write a whole blog post on the different kinds, but they all have the same effect, the writing stops. What to do? Call, email, or text all your writing friends. Whine, complain, rant, have a pity party. Give it a day or two before you get back in the saddle. And yes, I do mean SUBMIT your work elsewhere.  The only way to fail is to give up.
  2. Negative critique – You think your book is the best thing you’ve ever written and happily send it out to critique partners and contests. The results are not pretty. Why is it that we focus on the negative comments rather than the positive? Read the critique, set it aside, have a drink or some chocolate or both. Go back to it after it’s had time to settle. Look for the same complaints from more than one person. Make note of it. Take what speaks to you and will make your work better, let the rest go.
  3. Family drama – I don’t think this needs much explanation.  We all have it, and we all have to deal with it. The truth is your family comes first. Even if you can’t write, read. Stay in writing mode. Think about your work, look up pictures of your hero and heroine, or fill out GMC charts. This way, when the opportunity presents itself, you’re ready to rock!
  4. Health issues – You are literally so ill, or in so much pain, that the last thing you want to do is write. Again, do what you can, even if it’s just watching movies or shows on TV. You can pick apart the story structure and think how it applies to your own work.  And, you can people watch.  See someone who would be a great character? Write it down, figure out where they fit later.
  5. Fear – The most insidious and the hardest to combat.  This can stop you cold. If you don’t write, you don’t have to submit. If you don’t submit, you don’t have to face rejection or critique. The only way to defeat fear is to face it, head on.  Fear is never going away, but we can face it with courage.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain



13 Replies to “5 Creativity Killers & How to Fight Back!”

  1. Love this, Jan! Oh, man, FINALLY somebody itemized FAMILY DRAMA!!! I’m printing this out and post to FB too. You hit on the high ones that most people know about, but you named others too. Good on you for recognizing all of these. BTW Tracy Brogan has a great line that always helps me deal with these things: “Word count is the best medicine.” WRITE ON – ESPECIALLy when these five saboteurs rear their ugly heads. Great blog, Jan!

    1. I know a few things about Family Drama, enough said…So glad you enjoyed the post and appreciate you sharing it. Word count is the best medicine! Now I need to take my own advice! Thanks again, Heather!

  2. Super post, Jan! And I love the Twain quote about fear. Soooooo True. Thanks for the excellent reminder that it’s not easy, but it’s worth it!

  3. Great blog, Jan! When some of these creativity killers hit, it is easy to try to shove them under the rug and pretend they don’t matter, but they do. Recognizing them for what they are takes away their power and helps us keep going, even if in baby steps.

  4. Good blog, Jan. And so darn true. Family drama at times kills creativity. Rejection letters are hard to take. I give myself two days to pout, then pick myself up, brush myself off and try to find a way to fix what it says is wrong.
    I thank you for your friendship and all the support you have given me over the years.

    1. Thank you, Dee. I so enjoy our talks and you always bring a smile to my face. I’m wishing for a published new year for us both!

  5. I would have to add professional jealousy as one of my top creativity killers. I have not been giving my writing the time or attention I should and when I see peers racking up achievements, I get angry at myself for not doing the same. Working past this sense of frustration and being disappointed in myself is difficult for me.

    1. Maria, I think recognizing how you feel is the first step in making a change. I feel a lot of the same frustration. I remind myself of all the great writers who faced mega rejections and went on to be bestsellers. Like Stephen King & J.K Rowling. Keep writing, keep submitting, and our day will come! Wishing you many achievements in 2014!

  6. Did you write this for me? I’m thinking so. Your article couldn’t have come at a better time! I loved your suggestions. Thanks Jan.

  7. Great post, Jan! I just read Sherylin’s speech and it was awe inspiring! I like how you compared it to the Navy SEALs not giving up, no matter what. Write On!

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