Monday, May 9, 2011

Guest Post by Marietta Taylor

Dallas, thanks for hosting me today! I recently took a writers class online. One topic of discussion was things that derail your writing time. I'd like to share from the class one cool way to keep your writing on track.

Have you ever heard of gremlins? Gremlins are, by definition, mischievous imaginary creatures. As they apply to our writing, they can seem very real. And their effects can be damaging to our writing time. Gremlins are those activities or “voices” that derail our writing efforts. We begin with the best of intentions. But invariably, the gremlin shows up and starts making mischief. The first thing I learned was that to get rid of it, I had to first identify it.

My gremlin is the “you're not as good as” variety. It shows up and begins to say things like:

Why even waste your time? You'll never be as good a writer as (insert favorite author here).
• If you're not going to be a bestseller like (insert NYT bestseller author here) then why even waste this time. You could be doing something else.
• There are already a million (insert type of book or article here) out there. Can you guarantee yours is going to be any better than the others?

When I listen to these statements, I start doubting myself and my writing session ends. Gremlin 1. Mari 0. That is not the margin of victory I'm looking for!

The next step to victory over the gremlin is to figure out ways to disarm it. For me that means having rebuttal statements ready. I fight back with statements like:

• I don't have to as good as anyone. I just need to be my best self while I write today.
• I write to inform, encourage and inspire. NYT Bestseller or not, as long as someone “gets it”, my writing has succeeded.
• There are no guarantees in the writing business. All I need to do is put my unique stamp on my work and then let the readers decide if it resonates with them.

Having these statements ready has helped me keep my writing sessions on track. What are your gremlins? How can you disarm them? Give it a try and watch your writing soar!

* * *

Marietta (Mari) Taylor resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband of seventeen years and her two teenage daughters. The move from Chicago, IL to Raleigh proved a breeding ground for dusting off her dream of writing. Mari is the author of Surviving Unemployment Devotions to Go, released March 2010 and Girlfriends On…Surviving Unemployment. Mari was also published in Penned From The Heart VOL XV, a devotional anthology. Her column, Frugal Elegance, appears in Girlfriend 2 Girlfriend, an online magazine published by Extreme Diva Media.

Connect with Mari here:

Personal Blog:

You can also buy Mari's book, Surviving Unemployment Devotions to Go:


Kindle Edition:


Donna M. McDine said...


Wonderful post. Yes, those negative gremins can certainly get the better of us. Thanks for this important exercise.

Best wishes,

Dallas said...

Thank you so much Mari for being my guest today! This post is something we all should keep for those "gremlin" days. And thanks Donna for visiting! :)

J.R. Turner said...

Awesome post. I think we are own worst enemies sometimes. This is great advice and I'm so glad you shared!


Mari said...

Thank you again Dallas for hosting me. Donna and J.R for stopping by. I'm committed to keeping my gremlins at bay. I'm sure you are too!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mari, long time no see. Its important for a writer to understand they are not in competition with NY Bestseller. We write because we are inspired to and have a message to share with the world.

Magdalena Ball said...

Well put Marietta. Seth Godin calls it "the lizard brain", referring to the amygdala - "the pre-historic lump near the brain stem," Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of having to take responsibility for the lives we lead and what we create. Finding ways to accept that the fear and gremlins are part of the process, and to keep working is the difference between a successful, and an unsuccessful writer. I like to deal with those gremlins (like I do with most things that irk me) by using them for material. Amazing how, when you look hard at fear it changes into something more managable.

Mari said...

Magdelana, well put! I should have had you write this post!

Mari said...

Robert, well said. I have had to put to bed many an irrational thought about that.

Virginia S Grenier said...

What a great post to motivate us from letting those gremins taking over our writing.

Martha said...

Great post. Information we all need to hear sometimes.

Karen Cioffi said...


Great post. Saying positive affirmations for anything in life is an effective way of helping to move past obstacles and achieve goals.

Thanks for sharing!