How to Avoid Self-Sabotage as an Author

One function of the ninja is being adept in the art of sabotage. But unless you are in engaged in actual warfare, sabotage is something you want to avoid. No one really wants to purposefully incapacitate, damage, or obstruct someone’s advancement or success, yet that is what we often do to ourselves when we bombard our minds with negative self-talk. Putting yourself down is a big part of “stinkin’ thinkin’,” but there are other ways in which you can sabotage your progress. Are you:

  • Overly critical of your work or abilities?
  • Fearful of what others think of you or might think of you?
  • Always wondering if your efforts and creative projects are good enough?
  • “What iffing” all the time (what if I fail, what if it doesn’t sell, what if I don’t make a good impression, what if I’m not smart enough, etc.)?
  • Distrusting of other people and their motives?
  • Frequently comparing yourself to others?

Develop the right mindset. There will always be people better than you and worse than you in any given ability. Some people will like you, some people will love you, and some people will dismiss or ignore you as if you didn’t exist. They’ll love your writing style or hate it; they’ll hang on your every word or tune you out. That’s called “normal life.” It feels personal, but in a way it’s really little more than the fact that people have different tastes and needs. Does everyone like spicy food? Does everyone enjoy horror movies? Does everyone love liver and onions? No. But some people do.

So stop focusing on the critics and trying to win over every audience, because it’s just not going to happen. No matter how hard you try, you simply cannot please everyone or appeal to everyone’s tastes. Create a niche that works for YOU; something that ignites your creative passions, that stirs your soul. Then build an audience that responds to your style. They’re out there! There are individuals who want and need what you have to offer! And those individuals will like you, follow you, and support you. Those are the people to focus on. Ignore the ones that don’t give a rip, and think about meeting the needs of those that do. Remember this: What you focus on is what you attract, for good or for bad!

By far, the biggest way aspiring authors sabotage their potential success is with excuses.

  • “I don’t have the money to have my book (edited, cover designed, interior laid out).”
  • “I don’t have the money to get the training.”
  • “I don’t have the money to invest in ISBNs.”
  • “When I DO have the money, it seems like an emergency always happens that takes it away.”
  • I don’t have the time (or patience) to work through all the details.”

Here is some hard truth. Can I be frank? The most successful people in life and business are the ones who see obstacles as opportunities. If you want something bad enough you’ll find a way. Be creative with your time and finances. Consider bartering, babysitting, forgoing entertainment for a few months, or having a yard sale. Many people have succeeded with far fewer resources and less opportunities than you or I will ever experience.

These old adages are not just pretty sayings; they’re more like axioms:

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

and…

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Don’t sabotage your efforts or sell yourself short. Ninjas make things happen.

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