If you don’t, you should probably quit. What gets in the way? Money, usually. Sometimes it’s comfort. Sometimes it’s fear. Most of the time, however, it’s money. We don’t want to quit because the skills we have pay the bills, and the better they pay, the less we’re inclined to start over.
Most writers don’t want to improve. They just want to be writers. They crave the feeling of being a writer more so than the process, and there is no level of outward success past which that pattern fades. In fact, when you’re doing well by external measures, it’s often harder to change what you’re doing.
That’s why even successful writers get stuck writing the same posts, covering the same topics, and no longer surprising you with anything you couldn’t already guess after reading the headline. They have money, they have reputation, and they’re too comfortable and afraid to risk losing either just to try something new.
It’s tough, reinventing yourself. It’s not an easy thing to do, let alone do over and over again, especially after some of your reinventions have failed. Do you think Avicii liked being booed at on the Ultra stage? “Country and EDM don’t mix,” people said – and then Wake Me Up became the most popular song in the world.
Unlike staying on a path out of habit, improving takes courage. The only way you’ll find it is if you truly want to improve. Check in with yourself from time to time. Is your flame of passion still strong enough to drive out the fear? Are you shying away from sacrifices made in service of your craft? Why?
It’s easy to change what you’re doing when nothing’s working. The hardest part of success is continuing to do what you did before you found it: keep improving. Even if, this time, it means abandoning something that works.