Maggie Wells · Margaret Ethridge · writing advice

Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper

As writers, we spend a lot of time inside our heads. This is both a blessing and a curse. There’s nothing better than those days when your characters are chattering and the words floweth like water.

Then there are the other 364 1/2 days of the year.


And on those days, we are tempted to poke our heads out of the writing cave to do some marketing, touch base with the outside world, and make sure we’re not missing out on anything in the publishing world. This is the most dangerous time of all for writers.

Those are the times when we forget we’re chasing plot bunnies and fall down the rabbit hole.

We fall victim to the 3D world – Distraction, deflection, and drama.

At the beginning of the year, I stumbled across a list of resolutions that really spoke to me and I want to share them with you. I have searched my files and the interwebz in vain trying to find the correct person to credit, but I’m coming up empty. So let me state plainly that these are not my words of wisdom, but they sure have helped me.

So, thank you to whoever you are. I’ve printed off a copy and I have it taped above my desk as a reminder to keep my eyes on my own paper.

Stop showing and telling everything to everyone.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Stop worrying about what others think of you.

Stop waiting.

Stop doubting.

Stop being a stranger.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Stop standing in your own way.

Stop feeling guilty.

Stop thinking money creates value.

Stop feeling obligated.

Stop saying yes all the time

Stop thinking everything is a competition.

Stop trying to be like everyone else.

Stop thinking you have to get it right on the first try.


Who or what do you turn to when you need a reality check?


3 thoughts on “Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper

  1. What a great list. I think I’ll have to print myself a copy of this too. I have inspirational words and phrases stuck to the walls in my room. That’s my daily dose of reality and motivation to get the job done. 🙂

  2. I turn to a cool group of women. Awesome chicks these gals are. I really believe they will call me on my bulls**t and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the many different perspectives I get when ever I need a sounding board.

  3. Excellent list. My reality check is always life is too short. Stop waiting is my favourite on the list. Stop waiting to lose weight. Stop waiting to go on that trip. Stop waiting to pick up the phone to call that person who has been on your mind. Stop waiting for life to happen. Stop waiting to apply for that job you really want. Just basically, stop waiting.
    That list completely summarizes my thoughts on life…especially this last year.

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