Six of the Worst Things About Being a Writer

by James L. Rubart

This is far from a comprehensive list, but don’t you think six is enough for one serving?

1. Comparing Yourself to Others/Doubt/Insecurity– I combined these three into one since they’re brothers, or at least close cousins. We compare because we doubt which comes out of our insecurity.

“Why did I think I should do this?”

“I’ll never make it.”

“How can I call myself a writer when everyone else is so much better?”
This tri-fecta (Comparison, Doubt, Insecurity) is one of the worst of the worst things, but it’s also one you can do something about.

Change your script:

“I can do this.”

“I have the desire and my desire reveals the way I’m designed, and my design reveals my destiny.”

“This is my journey, no one else’s, so I’m not going to compare my path to anybody else.”

2. Lots of Sacrifices- no painter, poet, musician, chef, athlete, etc., etc., ever achieved anything of note without making sacrifices.

Yeah, that means forgoing overpriced coffee for a year so you can go to that writing conference, it means cutting our TV time back, it means getting up an hour early or going to bed an hour later, it means getting together with friends less often.

When people tell me they don’t have time to work on their craft, I say there is always time, what they really mean is too many other things are a higher priority.

That’s okay, but it’s not that the time isn’t there, it’s that they’re not willing to make the sacrifices to excel at the craft.

3. Rejection- This has been written about often on Novel Rocket so I won’t comment except to remind you that EVERYONE faces rejection—including bestselling, award winning novelists. You are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone.

4. Expectations/reactions from family, friends, and acquaintances- When I first dove into novel writing, I was excited to tell people about how I felt God had invited me into the journey.

They’d smile and say, “That’s so cool! When is your novel coming out?”

“Uh, well … I just started writing it, that takes a while and it’s not that easy to get a contract and …”

“So will that take about a year then?”

“Hmmm, probably bit longer …”

Our friends and family mean well, but as with any industry, if you don’t know how it works it’s easy to make assumptions. Be patient with them, they are on your side.

5. The Pay- Overheard at a recent writing conference:

“Let’s see, it took 10 years before I got my first contract, and I spent $5,500 on conferences and books and retreats and travel and got a $6,500 advance and if you factor in all the hours I’ve spent learning the craft and writing my book, I guess I’m making about .03 cents an hour.”

But we’re not doing this for money, right? We’re doing it because we can’t NOT do it.

6. The self-appointed critic-
At a book signing a few years ago, I had a gentleman announce that he’d bought my novel and was going to, “Take it home and go through it page by page and write in the margins all the things you did wrong, then send it back to you.”

No, he wasn’t kidding.

No matter where we’re at on our writing journey, there are people ready to pull us back down to earth. Ignore them. Cut the rope they’re hanging onto and launch yourself into the sky.

Those on the ground struggle when they see those of us who want to fly because they’ve often never found the fortitude to take the risk. You did. We did. Let’s continue to fly together.


Some never found the fortitude to take the risk. You did. We did.~ James L. Rubart (Click to Tweet)

James L. Rubart
is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s the best-selling, Christy BOOK of the YEAR, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of eight novels as well as a professional speaker and the co-host of the Novel Marketing podcast. During the day he runs his branding and marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at