Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Got a Couple Letters

About the New Pop-Up…

Called “Nothing’s Good Enough.” Basically, this is about how critical voice creeps in when you least expect it. And ways to identify what is happening and stop it, get back to having fun.

We put it as the first Pop-Up in the Decades Ahead Class as well as a regular Pop-Up you can buy directly. Why in the Decades Ahead Class in February? Because right about now is when this evil little part of critical voice starts showing its head and mucking around with your New Year’s resolution.

One of the questions from someone who hasn’t taken the Pop-Up was if it would help the critical voice when it came to publishing as well?

Answer: Yes, very much.

Only a few people are signed up for the Publishing challenge, even though I am talking about my own publishing there every week in a video per week. Seems the fear of publishing something every month is far, far more intense than writing a short story a week for a year.

Why is that fear there? Simply the name of this Pop-Up. “Nothing’s Good Enough” to dare see print and have actual readers maybe buy it. Yikes!

Writing stories or short novels is one thing, but actually publishing them is when “Nothing ‘s Good Enough” kicks in big time.

And wow have I heard some great excuses so far. (grin) But sadly, most of them boil down to “Nothing’s Good Enough.”

So the answer to the questions if the Pop-Up applies to both writing and publishing, the answer is yes, very much so.

A second question I got about the fear of “Nothing’s Good Enough” was about deadlines. The question was simply, “Do deadlines help this problem?”

Right up against a real deadline, yes. To a degree.

For example, those in the short story writing challenge or the novel challenge have a real deadline that most of the writers taking those challenges will go to great lengths to not miss. Real deadline.

So if you are feeling “Nothing’s Good Enough” what often happens is you start a story and abandon it, start another one, give up, and then at the last possible moment write a story and get it turned in. The deadline kills, for a short moment, the fear.

But without knowing the fear is there, what is causing it, and taking action to correct it, at some point the deadline will fail.

Plus, honestly, writing with that fear and frustration is just no fun. And you end up with a lot of story starts that you have mentally killed because even if they were good, they are not “Good Enough.”

So to answer the question. Real deadlines help, but they are not a long-term fix. Better to find the core of the problem in the first place, cut that off, and just have fun writing all the way.

So this is an important Pop-Up and you can get it directly, through a Pop-Up bundle with other Pop-Ups, or by signing up for the Decade Ahead Class and get it and all the other stuff in that class.

Actually, we will put 4 different Pop-Ups in the Decades Ahead class over the year. $600 value in them. Brings the cost of that class down some, huh? (grin)


  • Topaz

    Looking forward to listen to this pop-up.
    I published my first short story as printed edition in January this year, after messing around the last 14 months to get there. It is far away from being perfect.
    Last week I bought a print book from another author further down the road than I. Wow where there no-gos in the print regarding layout.
    Yet, neither of those commenting nor I did care a lot.
    Figuring this out, I hope to be able to just keep going and accept my layout as good enough. I am expecting this pop up will help too.

    • dwsmith

      Interesting Topaz your use of the word “perfect” since I have yet to see, understand, or have anyone explain to me what “perfect” is. But you seem to know it. Or your critical voice seems to think it does. And that kind of use of language is a massive sign that perfection problems lurk.

      Extreme caution there. There is no such thing as perfect.

  • Kate Pavelle

    It’s true that the Story-a-week challenge is a lot easier than the the publishing challenge. Writing something isn’t so hard, and some of those short stories have found a home in magazines and anthologies.
    My problem is, I usually don’t know where to submit the suckers. (And suckers they are, because at this point they drain my energy in terms of guilt for not having them out there.)
    So I joined the Publishing Challenge. And boy, is it ever so hard! The learning curve for magazine layout is definitely something I’ll have to tackle down the line. Right now I crib from Dean and Lynn when it comes to cover design and layout ideas.
    I tried Vellum, but it’s not as plug-and-play as I thought it would be, so that will have to wait for another time, one with a simpler project and a looser deadline. I will have to tackle it, though, because InDesign is a huge time sink for me (I tried… repeatedly,) and I’ll need a pretty interior for Ingram Sparks, because even though publishing paperbacks through KDP is okay, those books don’t make their way into bookstores.
    When it comes to covers, I started making them and they look a lot better than they used to. I got into making a WHOLE TON of them with a thematic “series” in mind… and there went hours of my writing and publishing time.
    I better stop now or else this post will turn into my whole to-do list.
    Imperfect, I am!

  • Kristi N.

    When I saw the name of the pop up, my first thought was about the Swedish concept of Lagom – in the right amount. It’s not about being perfect, but about giving enough to accomplish what you set out to do. Write a book? “Enough is as good as a feast.” Enjoy the moment, and move on. Sweating over the turn of phrase or agonizing about the trends in your genre wastes energy that could be put towards another book. Keep learning in the right amount, keep working diligently towards your goal, and it will be best. Until the next book, which will be the next best…unless you yard sale all over the place. Then you pick up everything, shake the snow out of your hat and mittens, and try again, because the feast may be waiting for you on the next book. And the next, and so on.

  • Filip Wiltgren

    After fighting with my critical voice for years, I’ve come to two conclusions: good enough is a story someone is willing to buy. Perfect is a story they’re willing to recommend or purchase another after reading.

    Thus you can no more write a perfect story as you can write one that is good enough. Everything you write is both perfect and good enough, it all depends on the reader. All you can do is finish, publish and have fun doing it.

  • Lorri Moulton

    I hate deadlines! A holdover from my time on high school and college newspapers.

    The upside from that experience…when the writing is done, I hit publish. It may not be perfect, but it’s as good as it can be at the moment and time to move on to the next story.