The worst thing you can ever do to yourself as a writer is to publish work you aren’t proud of.
Sometimes it can feel like it’s too hard to make a name for yourself as a great writer. It seems like an impossible task to compete with the authors you admire.
But trust me, it’s much easier to produce a masterful work of art than trying to deal with the consequences of pumping out junk.
Read on to find the top 3 reasons you should only publish your highest quality writing.
#1 Better Reputation = More Sales
Whenever you write a book, blog post or article you’re putting your reputation on the line.
This is both your biggest vulnerability and your greatest asset.
If somebody finds your work for the first time, and discovers that you give poor advice, have no idea what you’re talking about and only care about running off with their money, you can be damn certain that they’ll never come back.
This has two massive effects that will strangle the long term potential of your writing career.
First off, you will never see returning customers. You can trick somebody into opening their wallet once with a flashy sales page and a fancy book cover, but nobody is going to let you do that to them twice. But imagine the opposite.
If somebody discovers your book, and you change their life, what do you think they’re going to do when they look for more of your books?
They buy it. Now you’ve turned a customer into a follower.
Followers are infintely more precious than customers, and we’ll get to the reasons why in a sec.
For now, let’s take a look at the second way that poor quality writing will kill your income as a writer forever.
Whenever a reader is disappointed by what they’ve read, they’ll be quick to let the world know exactly what they think of you, your book and everything else you’ve ever done.
Even if you can spend thousands on adverts and marketing, you can’t hide people’s negative reviews on the best marketplaces such as Amazon.
When potential readers come to your page, they’ll run away when they start seeing you’ve only got pathetic ratings.
On the otherhand, somebody who becomes an avid fan of your work will work as free advertising. They’ll be eager to tell everybody they know what an amazing writer you are, how you’ve got the world figured out and transformed their lives.
There’s nothing more infectious than enthusiasm.
This is why only publishing high quality work has to be your priority. At first it might seem daunting to spend days revising the same manuscript, shelling out for professional editors’ services and getting the formatting just so.
But it’s a lot less work than trying to fix a ruined reputation.
#2 You Become a Better Writer
This is possibly the biggest personal benefit of only accepting the best from yourself.
By being more open to throwing away anything that’s less than your absolute best work, you force yourself to improve your skills.
One of my biggest problem areas when I started working as a professional writer was dialogue.
Instead of just shrugging my shoulders and hoping that my readers wouldn’t notice the poor quality of the dialogue if everything else was good, I decided to take care of it permenantly.
I read dozens of novels by my favourite writers, analysing everything from how they made the speech seem realistic, to how they formatted the speech and made it easy to follow who was saying what.
In the end, when I sat down and attempted to improve my dialogue it was just as difficult as it had been before. But there was a difference. Although it felt just as difficult, the end result was much better.
You won’t enjoy every aspect of being a writer.
It’s the same as any job. There are always going to be things you don’t like doing, but they’re so important that you can’t afford not to be competent.
In fact, I still hate writing dialogue. But I never let myself take the easy road and give my readers the bare minimum. I owe it to them to do my best, and you owe your readers just as much.
It might not be dialogue that you’re struggling with. It could be any aspect of writing. It could even be researching the topics of your book that you can’t stand doing.
But no matter what it is, by forcing yourself to tackle that issue head on, you advance to the next level. You should always focus on improving yourself.
Stagnation is death.
#3 Get Over the Fear of Failure
Everybody deals with this problem at some point.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, a physicist or a plumber.
Everybody wants to feel like they know what they’re doing, that they’re good enough.
In order to deal with this, people simply avoid the problem by never trying.
In school you probably knew at least one person who was more than smart enough to be getting A grades but usually only scraped by with middling grades.
It might even have been you.
More often than not, the driving psychological mechanism behind underachievement is the fear of failure. By never giving it your best shot, you never have to risk receiving proof that you really aren’t as good as you want to be.
But that doesn’t make the fear of failure go away. It still haunts you.
In fact, it’s probably even worse because you create long-term anxiety. It’s like being in a bad relationship but never having building up the courage to leave.
On the other hand, if you try your best one of two things can happen.
You MIGHT fail. It’s true.
But the chances of this happening are pretty damn low. Most people on this planet never give 100% of their efforts. Just by doing that, you’ve already put yourself in the best possible position to stand out. On top of that, if you know you’ve tried your hardest, then you’ll know that there are no possible further improvements to make.
Now there’s the temptation to fall into the trap of perfectionism.
This is when you start to think nothing is good enough.
Be realistic with yourself. Apply the Pareto Principle (aka the 80/20 rule) to your writing. You don’t have to work yourself to the bone. Instead, figure out what the most important elements are, and apply most of your efforts to those. You can edit and revise your book a million times, but eventually you’re going to have to publish it or it’s not going to be worth anything no matter how good it is.