Mary Campisi
Mary Campisi
Mary Campisi

Just. Shut. It. Down.

Just. Shut. It. Down.

I think for the next several weeks, I will not read blogs, interviews, articles, or engage in conversations that tell me what I have to do in regard to my writing career. I’m going to just. shut. it. down. Actually, the writing and publishing world are starting to feel like reality TV. There’s the constant barrage that sounds something like the following:

You must do this to…

If you don’t do this, you will never…

You should always…

Rule #1 says…

Rule #17 says…

Those are the rules…

Only a few people are…

Don’t ever…

Hmm. Several years ago, I was going through a painful divorce and had to find housing for myself and three small daughters. I happened upon a tiny rental bungalow and when I told the landlord the reason for my move, she looked at me and said, “You need to stay together for your children. You can divorce him when they grow up.”  My oldest daughter was 5 1/2, my youngest was 1 year old. Needlesss to say, I did not rent from that woman. The point is, that was her reality. She truly believed the children would be better off. My reality? I was not going to live a life  that would ultimately teach my daughters to de-value themselves. So, I left. Never looked back.

Just because someone says something, doesn’t make it true or accurate…or right for you. Trust yourself. Look deep inside and follow your gut and your heart. If you must listen to rules, how about these?

Rule #1 says believe in yourself and your unique gifts…

Rule #17 stay true to yourself….

Yes, this is hard to do with so many naysayers trying to disprove your beliefs, but if you just. shut. it. down. you won’t hear them.


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10 years ago

Wonderful post! I can’t agree more with what you said about all the rules. When I first joined a local writing group (it has since disbanded), a multi-published author with Harlequin who belonged to the group told me I couldn’t have a dog in my manuscript because her latest release had the same type of dog, that it was a rule that you couldn’t use the same type of dog as someone who’d already published a story with the same breed in it. I was such a newbie, I actually asked other writers if they’d heard of this rule. I… Read more »

10 years ago
Reply to  Katherine

Hi Katherine: I have heard of ‘must do and can’t do’ stories, but I think yours is a classic! Shutting down the dark side/negativity/rules applies to life in general. My daughter graduated from college a few years ago when the market was upside down and jobs were so scarce. A few months before graduation, in a minor fit of panic she told me if she couldn’t find a job, she’d have to return home and live with us, where she would remain for years. (Okay, not so dramatic, but almost…and I don’t know who was panicking more – her or… Read more »

10 years ago

Mary, your timing on this blog could not have come at a better time! Thanks for this sage bit of wisdom and great reminder.

10 years ago
Reply to  cheryl

Hi Cheryl!

Well, I’ve lived it, so can speak to it…which means I let too many things influence my writing and my life until they became such a jumble, I didn’t recognize them…

Amber Dane
10 years ago

Thank you for such a good post. Talk about timing. I’ve been posting affirmations all over my writing area to remind me of being true to self…Thanks for sharing.

10 years ago
Reply to  Amber Dane

Good for you! Keep reading those positive messages you’ve posted and don’t listen to the negative ones. I love Max Ehrmann’s, Desiderata. I’ve had the plaque hanging in my study for 17 years and the other week, I read it again – really read it. The first line is ‘Go placidly amidst the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.’ Beautiful. Best wishes and much success with your writing!


A. Wolf
A. Wolf
10 years ago

And the wild man runs away with your shoes…………

10 years ago
Reply to  A. Wolf

Wild indeed…funny how we are the ones who drive ourselves crazy listening to everything and everyone except….ourselves….

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