Six Surefire Ways to Make Yourself Miserable as a Writer

In honor of one of my all-time favorite books, Dan Greenburg’s How to Make Yourself Miserable, I offer these six surefire ways to torture yourself as a writer and insure continuous misery:

  1. Spend hours each day lurking on social media and reading about the sweet publishing deals your writer friends have gotten while you count your rejection slips.
  2. Visit Goodreads often and re-read the awful reviews on your last book; ignore the good ones.
  3. Obsess over those writers you secretly don’t think are very good but whose careers are going way better than yours.
  4. Make a list of authors whose work is so good you know you’ll never measure up.
  5. If you don’t have an agent, lament that you’ll never get one; if you do have an agent, convince yourself that you’re about to be dumped when he doesn’t immediately respond to your last email.
  6. To insure continued misery, repeat all of the above as needed.


So there you have it. If you are determined to be miserable, these are amazingly effective strategies. If you’re a writer, I’d love to hear from you. What strategies have you found work well? All additions to my list are welcome!

And if you’re not a writer, I’m eager to hear about the strategies you use either at school or in your field to insure misery.

Of course, there is a limit to how much misery I can wallow in, so next week, I’ll talk about the antidotes to making yourself miserable.














  1. Katie McGinley on May 26, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    The way I most often beat myself up is to wallow in how slowly I write and the gaps in my publications that seem to get longer and longer when I have a ton of writer friends who keep nose to the grindstone pumping out book after book. I feel like a bad writer and that I’m letting my readers down/risking losing them. Tell me you have an antidote! 🙂

  2. Patti Kurtz on May 26, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Hi, Lynn! How about: read your fellow writers’ posts about how they wrote 10,000 words in one day while you can barely manage 500 words in the same time period? Or even: read about author friends who don’t need to work a day job while you’re struggling to balance your own job with your writing?

    I can’t wait to read the antidotes you offer!

  3. Lynn Slaughter on May 28, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Great additions to my list, Katie and Patti. I’m going to have to think long and hard for my antidotes’ list!

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