Thursday, January 21, 2010

Great Post that I want to share...Is Your "But" Too Big?

Condensed--go to Nathan Bransford's Guest Blog Post to read the whole article.

A novel and short story writer, Jon Gibbs blogs at An Englishman in New Jersey. He's in the process of launching , a free to join/free to use 'database' for writers from all around the world who want to find or set up writing groups near where they live. He can usually be found hunched over the laptop in his kitchen. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

Never shy about giving people the benefit of her opinion (whether it was asked for or not) my old gran was always telling someone their ‘but’ was too big.

On the face of it, that seems a little rude, even for my old gran, but she wasn’t talking about pants’ sizes. She was referring to those built-in excuses we like to keep handy, in case our sub-conscious starts prompting us to chase our dreams.

“But I’m too young/too old.”  
“But he/she’s out of my league.”
“But people might laugh at me.” [Not a problem if your dream is to do standup comedy]

Writers’ buts.
Writers too, have built-in ‘buts’ as it were:

“I’d love to write, but I just don’t have the time.”
“I’d love to write, but I don’t know anything about grammar.”
“I’d love to write, but there’s no writing group where I live.”

If you ask me, none of those ‘buts’ matter. They’re all just a way of avoiding the real problem, the biggest ‘but’ of them all:

“But I might fail.”

The fear of failure can stop a person from even trying. I’ll bet there are thousands of great (or potentially great) storytellers out there who’ll never get published. I suspect for most, it’s because they let their ‘but’ get between themselves and the chance of success.

So what’s the difference between writers who go on to achieve their writing dream and those who don’t?
I don’t believe it’s talent – though it would be naïve to think that talent isn’t a vital part of the equation.
It certainly isn’t luck – that’s just a silly excuse used by folks who think there’s an easy path to success. I believe the difference is simple.

Successful writers refuse to allow their ‘buts’ to get in the way.

What ‘buts’ have you put behind you as you chase your writing dream?

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