Fellow writers, I know you will enjoy, and relate to, this brief article by Nick Stephenson (email@example.com).
Do you ever look at a magazine article, blog, or Instagram feed about someone you admire, and think: “Wow, it’s so easy for them! Why can’t I figure it out?”
I do. We all do. And it makes you feel crappy. At first.
But the reality is, you have to put in the work. A person’s “front-stage” life is not an accurate depiction of their “backstage” life.
A lot of blood, sweat, tears, mistakes, anger, and frustration goes into making anything a success. Part of the process is understanding that’s natural.
Case in point: I consider myself a good father. Maybe even a great father (we’ll wait and see until they’re older as to whether they have criminal records).
But I still lose my temper. I still shout. The kids still throw up on the floor. The house is still a total mess 97.5% of the time. I still look like I’ve aged 20 years in the last 5.
But my kids are caring, kind, and (generally) a joy to be around.
Whatever anyone tells you, it’s not easy. Nothing worthwhile is.
I occasionally look at those “mommy blogs” you see on the web. You know the ones – smiling parents, happy, well-adjusted (and clean) kids… a spotless house… the latest vegan-organic-tofu-raw snack that little Tarquin just loves and totally never throws at the cats in a tantrum…
And it’s impossible not question yourself.
But then I remember what real life is actually like (hint: it’s not a magazine).
I’m not going to feel bad for giving the kids sugar now and again. Or occasionally putting them in front of the TV when I’m 30 seconds from a pulmonary embolism. Because that’s not the point. Those aren’t the metrics that matter.
It’s not a binary situation. You don’t “fail” because your circumstances aren’t magazine-cover-ready. You don’t “win” just because it feels easy.
The vast majority of us exist somewhere in the middle.
Winners work out a way to get better. Then they go do the work.
Even if it’s just a 1% improvement a day. That adds up fast.
Example: Writing a book is hard. It’s not supposed to be pretty. The reality for most people is they’ll never start. Most who do start will never finish.
Writing and publishing a book puts you in the 1% of the 1%. Actually selling more than a handful of copies puts you in the 1% of those.
And yes, it’s hard. But it’s not impossible. Not by a long shot.
The idea that you can amble on down to your garden shed to tap out a few hundred words on your vintage typewriter when the inspiration arises is just not how it works.
The reality for most is frustration, procrastination, getting stuck half-way through, and generally living day to day feeling guilty about not getting enough writing done.
But you know what? It gets easier.
And one of the quickest ways to learn is to copy what other successful people are doing. Then take that process and make it your own.
That way, instead of taking a year to write and publish something – and possibly even longer – you can accelerate your progress and hit your goals in a fraction of the time.
Nick Stephenson is the author and presenter of Your First 10,000 Readers. For information on Nick’s books, or to attend one of his excellent training webinars, go to