Archive for December 8th, 2010

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 by Bob Mayer
Blind Spots: A Writer’s Fatal Flaw

A blind spot is a part of character where we simply don’t see what’s keeping us from success.  As writers we must uncover our blind spot and deal with it.  Until we do, we’ll keep making the same mistakes over and over.

Blind spots arise out of a number of factors:

  1. Loss aversion.  People are often more motivated to prevent losses than to achieve gains.  Casinos count on this.  It can also produce tragic results.  The deadliest air crash ever was partly the result of loss aversion when the pilot of a Boeing 747, anxious to take off, crashed into another 747.  He didn’t want to have a late departure.
  2. Planning fallacy:  Under-estimating task completion times.  Writers are notorious for this.  I’m not where I want to be with my work in progress; the reality is, for 20 years, I’ve never been where I planned on being with my writing.  Someone asked how do we get more prolific:  I think it comes down to bum glue.  You just got to put the time in at the keyboard.  Or pencil and paper.  Or recorder.  There is no substitute for actually writing.  On the flip side, though, don’t constantly beat yourself up for being ‘behind’.  Try to set realistic goals.
  3. Wishful thinking:  the formation of beliefs and the making of decisions according to what is pleasing to imagine rather than reality.  This is where many publishers are right now in response to ebooks.  I just don’t think the $14.99 eBook is going to last.
  4. Need for closure:  Can you live with ambiguity?  Writing a novel is living with ambiguity for a long time.  Until you write the words:  The End.  Some people can’t stand it and need things to end.  So they end them too quickly.  I used to not do enough rewriting.  I would know there were parts of the manuscript that needed work, but I just wanted it done.  I wanted it out there on the market.  Now.  There is no Now in publishing.
  5. Illusion of transparency:  Overestimating other people’s abilities to know us and our ability to know others.  When all you have are the printed words, you’re very limited in what people can get from you as a writer.
  6. Negativity bias:  It takes five compliments to make up for one negative comment in a relationship.  As writers, we tend to obsess over negative criticism and ignore positive feedback.
  7. Fashionable darkness bias:  this is an interesting one, especially for writers.  Novels, movies and shows that have a dark ending are thought of as being more literary than ones having the HEA—happily ever after.
  8. The amazing success formula fallacy:  this is something many people who to become writers fall for.  That success happens overnight.  My friend Susan Wiggs had her last book debut at #1 on the NY Times Bestseller list.  In 2010.  Her first book was published in 1988.
  9. The real life up ahead fallacy:  That what you’re doing right now is the preparation for your ‘real life’ that will come some day.

Find your blind spot and conquer it.  Warrior Writer is a path to success and a key part of it, is uncovering blinds spots and overcoming them.