How Do You Keep Writing When You’re Not Being Published?

100_1423Sometimes we hit a brick wall with our writing and it has nothing to do with writer’s block. We’re not lost for words. We know what we want to write, but we’re paralysed by fear. What if nobody ever gets the chance/wants to read what we have written?

This is the bain of writers and other creators and it’s called self-doubt.

When you’re being paid a regular wage it’s easier to justify what you do – you’re getting paid – you’re buying food or paying for your kid’s education with your earnings.  You can hold your head high knowing that your hard work is receiving a tangible reward.

But what if you’re not getting paid? What if you’re not getting published? What if those words you’ve crafted with your heart and soul are not being read by anyone but you – are not being heard by anyone except maybe your cat or your pet rabbit when you’re reading your manuscript out loud?

How do you justify being a writer?

The only way I know to respond to this is something that I firmly believe.  You don’t have to justify being a writer.  You don’t have to justify being you.  Being a writer is not just a profession – it’s  part of who you are – it’s an extra layer of skin that sits alongside your epidermis, dermis and hypodermis.

Of course we want to be published and we dream of making our mark in the world of literature – but what’s really important is being true to who we are and appreciating that our unique take on the world is just as valid and important as anyone else’s.

In spite of the hardships of being a writer, there are many benefits – and these are the things I hang onto when my self doubt is blooming and my optimism is at a low ebb – and I’m fairly sure that these conditions afflict even the most successful writers.


  1. You can get away with being an adult and still having imaginary friends
  2. You can stay in your pyjamas all day and work
  3. You can travel to places without leaving home
  4. You never get bored – there are always people to watch, things to be inspired by
  5. You can do your job anywhere – your writing device and your imagination can go with you
  6. It gives you the opportunity to escape to another world if you don’t like the one you’re in
  7. You learn to live like a squirrel – learn to survive on winter scraps
  8. You can control the weather – even if it’s only inside your story world
  9. You have the potential to make a difference to the way people think.
  10. You can use fiction to rewrite history in your favour

What you write is important whether you are well published or not. Stick with it and remember there are so many wonderful things about being who you are – a writer.

If you know any other good things about being a writer (published or not) or have any positive experiences to share, please feel free to post them in the comments section below.

Happy writing:)


10 thoughts on “How Do You Keep Writing When You’re Not Being Published?

  1. Meeting like minded writing friends. My brick wall would be that much taller, in fact possibly even insurmountable if it weren’t for the support of my wonderful critique group.

  2. thank you Dee. It is so hard when you dont seem to be making any progress…one person says hey this is great…just tweak here… then another says…oh i am not understanding this…. i quit a few times recently but then i find that stories keep flowing out and dont leave me alone until i write them down. That’s when i understand that i AM a writer. I am a storyteller. I may only be published in anthologies so far but i cant stop being who I am. And that is a writer.

  3. This is so true, Shelly,

    When i became a member of the children’s writing community I felt like I had found my clan:) It’s so important to have people who understand exactly what you’re going through and want you to succeed as much as you do.

    Good luck on your writing journey:)


  4. I’m so glad this post helped you Tricia:)

    A writer is a writer no matter what they’ve had published. I know that thousands, possibly millions of the words I write will never be published – but that doesn’t make me less of a writer.



  5. Kelly, you are making progress:)

    Every word you write and every manuscript you revise is you honing your craft and that means you are making progress – you are becoming a better writer.

    I’m glad to hear that your stories won’t let you quit. You ARE a writer:)

    Dee x

  6. What I love is there are more publishing options than when I started thirty years ago. Writers have a myriad ways of psyching ourselves out. Mine is “what if my words aren’t good enough?” I know my writing is good. When I pull stories back out of the drawer to read over, I’m often surprised at how entertaining they are. But I hesitate: what if I can make it better? It’s sometimes easier NOT to put it out there, than to take the deep breath and send it out. I’m at that point with several of my books.

  7. That’s a great one, Habisha:) There are many publishing options now that didn’t exist thirty years ago.

    I hope you take that deep breath and send those books out soon.

    Good luck with them:)


  8. You discover things about yourself that your didn’t know before. Hopefully grow from those discoveries into a better person. Writing is conducive to my happiness.

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