Sometimes writing can be a lonely journey marked by self-doubt and rejection letters. This is why it’s very important to find a like-minded writing community and surround yourself with support and encouragement. Connecting with other writers can provide a camaraderie that will enrich your life while refining your writing skills. But, while most writers are friendly and helpful, at Writer’s Relief we know there are a few personality types who might not have your best interests at heart. Here are 5 toxic personalities writers should avoid.
Toxic Writer Personalities To Avoid
The Overachiever: All writers have different lives and schedules. A writer with more time available might complete hours of work each day, then boast in the writers’ group about WIPs, awards, and submissions made. Meanwhile, a writer with a full work schedule and many other responsibilities may be lucky to write a paragraph or two each week. Don’t compare your output or success rate to someone else in your writing group. And don’t let an Overachiever make you feel like an impostor!
The Critical Critic: Being told to change or revise your work can sting, even when the critique is well-intentioned and offered in a supportive manner. And unfortunately, sometimes you may experience an especially difficult or mean-spirited critique of your work. Before you toss your latest story or poem into the trash, take a step back. If you’re getting good feedback from most of your critique partners, but really bad feedback from Critical Critic in particular, you might consider the source. Focus instead on critique that is meant to help, not hurt.
The Publications Snob: You got an acceptance! Break out your happy dance shoes! But when you mention the name of the literary journal to certain Publication Snobs, suddenly their noses are higher up in the air than a passing jet. Sure, it would be great to be published in the Paris Review (which regularly receives 15,000 – 20,000 submissions a year). But that doesn’t mean a publication in a lesser-known, smaller journal isn’t also worthy of kudos. In fact, there are many benefits to being published in a less-famous journal. Most small to midsized journals regularly nominate their published writers for well-known, prestigious prizes like Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. And with less competition at a mid-tier journal, your odds are better for getting a nomination!
The Negative Nellie: This is the writer who tries to hijack every group meeting with complaints. You can’t get published unless you’re published! Editors don’t know what good writing is (simply because they aren’t accepting Nellie’s work)!
The fact is, you CAN get published even if you’ve never been published. Good writing is very important, but just as important is smart targeting when choosing literary magazines for your submissions. And unlike the Negative Nellies who feel they’re also above following the journal’s submission guidelines because the rules don’t apply to their work (and then wonder why they never get an acceptance)—be sure to read and follow each journal’s guidelines to a T.
If you need help finding the right markets for your writing, Writer’s Relief can help! Our research experts will target the best markets and boost your odds of getting an acceptance. Learn more and submit your writing sample to our Review Board today!
The Dictator: You may choose to collaborate with a co-author on a writing project. But instead of sharing the responsibilities, the Dictator immediately demotes you to minion status. Working with another writer requires compromise and boundaries—not blind obedience to your writing partner. Remember, your thoughts, ideas, and opinions are worthwhile too! Your writing partner should be cooperative and supportive, not controlling. Since you and your co-author will be spending a lot of time together, make sure you choose someone you like who wants to work as an equal partner.
Having the support of other writers can help make you a better writer. But be sure to choose those who are truly interested in you and your writing. Avoid writers who are toxic. They may work against your success, be a source of discouragement and confusion—and even be bad for your health!
Question: Which of these toxic writer personalities have you encountered?