13 Survival Reminders for Writers

One writer says to survive as a writer you need to allow yourself to accept these 13 things.

1. It’s all right to want to be alone.

2. It’s all right to refuse (nicely) dinner and party invitations.

3. It’s all right, even if they, or your social conscience, nags, “It’s for only one evening.”


Noelle Sterne, Author, Head ShotThis guest post is by Noelle Sterne, author, editor, writing coach, and spiritual counselor. Sterne writes fiction and nonfiction, having published over 300 pieces in print and online venues, including Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Women on Writing, Funds for Writers, and Transformation Magazine. Her monthly column, “Bloom Where You’re Writing,” appears in Coffeehouse for Writers. With a Ph.D. from Columbia University, for over 28 years Noelle has assisted doctoral candidates in completing their dissertations (finally). Her practical-psychological-spiritual handbook in progress helps them further. In her book Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books; one of ten best 2011 ebooks), Noelle draws examples from her practice and other aspects of life to help writers and others release regrets, relabel their past, and reach their lifelong yearnings. Her webinar about the book, with narrative and slides, is available  on YouTube.  Noelle explores writing, creativity, and spirituality on Author magazine’s “Authors’ Blog”:  Visit Noelle at her website: www.trustyourlifenow.com.


4. It’s all right to have few friends—very few.

5. It’s all right not to want to go to lunch with them, stay on the phone, or trade incessant cute emails.

6. It’s all right not to want to go on vacation.

7. If you do, it’s all right to pack current writing projects.

8. It’s all right, on the cruise ship or in the hotel, to settle in at midafternoon in the empty club lounge, your writing materials spread out on a cocktail table and tall glass of herbal tea nearby.

9. It’s all right not be up on the latest movies/TV series/games/reality sensations/sports playoffs, and in conversation to mutely nod and smile.

10. It’s all right to announce to your significant other(s) that you need this hour/evening/day/weekend/week to work on your writing.

11. It’s all right to make dates with your significant other(s) so they know you haven’t forgotten them and want to be with them but that you’re not available all the time.

12. It’s all right not to join a writing group, enlist a critique partner, engage a beta reader, post your work on a public authors’ site, no matter how many blogs you read about how helpful they are.

13. It’s all right, over and over, to choose to follow your inner knowing and sit, stand, stretch, or pace at your desk—alone, blissful, writing.

Thanks for visiting The Writer’s Dig blog. For more great writing advice, click here.


Brian A. Klems is the online editor of Writer’s Digest and author of the popular gift book Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Sign up for Brian’s free Writer’s Digest eNewsletter: WD Newsletter

You might also like:

4 thoughts on “13 Survival Reminders for Writers

  1. Lisdoonvarna

    Thank you for 12 and 13. I like to work by myself but keep reading that writers shouldn’t write in a vacuum and that we all need to be in critique groups. I had a critique group in a creative writing class and they weren’t very helpful; I’ve been much happier working alone and putting my stories away till I can view them with clearer eyes. Thanks for emphasizing that it’s okay to throw this oft-repeated advice away.

    1. Noelle Sterne


      Thank you for your comments. You’ve discovered a major technique of improving our writing, alone–distance. It is amazing what we see and teach ourselves when we return. We must each have the courage to follow what truly works for us.

  2. marcglewis

    I always tell myself these things over and over again. I work in a restaurant full of extroverts who are always inviting me out for drinks and to parties and all I ever want to do after work is to go home and read or write by myself. I always have to remind myself that it’s okay and that I’m just not built like them but every now and then the question does creep into my mind: Am I broken? Thanks for reminding me that I’m not the only one. 🙂


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.