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How to sabotage your writing and publishing efforts

It is a new year and I hope 2022 will be a healthy, contented, and successful one for you. The successful part requires hard work and diligence. It also requires productive habits and some learned skills.

But perhaps you do not want to be successful. So, with tongue firmly planted in-cheek, here are the top ways to sabotage your writing and publishing efforts this year.

  • Do not set a schedule for writing: Instead of carving out specific times during the day or week to work on your writing or research, just leave it to when the mood strikes you, or when you have “free time.”
  • Keep looking for one more piece of literature or study: Instead of realizing your article or book is a moment in time that requires you to commit to moving forward and closing the project out, always be waiting for one more article that you might find or one another literature search. Or one more. Or one more.
  • Procrastinate: Instead of setting goals with firm end dates, and holding yourself accountable for them, simply procrastinate. How about checking Facebook? Or isn’t there a new episode of that show on Netflix? Maybe another cup of coffee? That bookshelf needs organizing, right?
  • Do not share your ideas or work with others: Instead of getting feedback from colleagues and trusted friends on the direction and quality of your ideas, keep them to yourself. Do all that work and let the editors tell you if you are off base.
  • Do not proofread your work: Your query letter, book proposal, or manuscript are good as is, right? No need to closely review them for errors or inconsistencies, or clarity. After all, spellcheck is fine. Why triple check it or use sophisticated grammar software to catch simply miss steaks?
  • Do not have something important to say: You just need to get published. Where and what doesn’t really matter. Why would I want to add to the body of literature and burnish my professional reputation? Anyway, one journal is as good as the other, right?
  • Do not understand the market or competition: What do I care about the other textbooks in the field? Mine will be better. I am not sure why, but I hope it will be. And understanding the market sounds too business like. I don’t think I can do that.
  • Have a boring or poorly executed title and cover: Titles don’t matter, do they? Or how about I use a pun in my title? Twenty-five words isn’t too long for a title, or is it? As for a cover, my sister’s daughter is an art student, albeit in high school, and she has an idea for a collage of photos she downloaded from the internet.
  • Do not promote or market your work: I don’t like talking about myself or my work. It just feels so, I don’t know, yucky. And besides, isn’t that the publisher’s job? Why would I want to promote a work I spent a thousand hours on? For my career, to increase its dissemination, and my royalties, I guess, but would it help?
  • Do not be committed to your writing and publishing success: Indifference suits me. This all seems so hard. And do I really want tenure? And besides another episode just came on Netflix.

All my snarky sarcasm aside, the formula for you to make 2022 a successful year for your writing projects is straightforward. Please do not follow my advice above. Do set yourself a plan and schedule for the week or month and stay accountable for it. Realize your writing and publishing journey consist of single small steps. Take them one at a time and know at times you may be miss a day or two. It is a marathon which requires you simply putting one foot in front of the other. I hope it is a successful and productive year for you.

John Bond

John Bond is a publishing consultant at Riverwinds Consulting. He works with individuals on publishing and writing projects. Schedule an initial complimentary phone call at Publishing Fundamentals. In his career, he has directed the publishing of over 500 book titles and 20,000 journal articles. He is the host of the YouTube channel “Publishing Defined.” Contact him at