Writer’s Discouragement

Writers are a mixed lot.  Embarrassingly, it took some time to come to this realization – about ten years.

Yes, chuckle all you want. I deserve it. But I know there’s a select group out there who understands where I’m coming from. You’ve been there before. You lived in your own little bubble, not realizing the vast amount of people out there who really aren’t all that different from you.

Maybe, like me, you thought writers were fun-loving extroverts – successful platform builders and public speakers. Ready to take on the world with their mad social skills and bestselling novels.

These delusions filled my head for the first leg of my writing journey. It took a writers conference to shed light over my misconception. There – wonder of wonders – I found writers who were introverted recluses, just like me! It was great! By gradation I discovered that writers encompassed every range from introvert to extrovert – lazy to ADHD.

Do you know what else I discovered?

No matter their personality, all writers share a common ground – discouragement.

It’s easy to feel as though your writing isn’t up to par. Self-criticism can be a constant combatant. Then – depending on the stage of writing you currently face – there’s critique groups, editors, publishers, the media and reviewers – all of which can at any given time bombard you with reasons why your writing falls short.

Time is also a factor.

At this juncture, It happens to be the factor I struggle with the most. I’ve studied writing craft, researched my given topics and worked on the same novel/series for twelve years.

Count them 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11, TWELVE YEARS!

Do you know how many times I’ve wanted to throw in the towel within that twelve year duration? Neither do I.

I’ve lost count.

Does it really matter? No, and I need to keep telling myself that.  But sometimes it’s hard. In the past three years I’ve watched several friends start novels and see them through to publication. All the while, here am I, still plugging away.

It’s discouraging. Often I sit and wonder – “Am I really ever going to get published?”

“God’s timing is not my timing.”

It’s easy to let cynicism bite anytime I hear that mantra. Yet, if that’s what I truly believe, then why isn’t it a source of encouragement?

Probably for the same reason any of God’s truths ring our bell  like a gong to the head. We sit dazed – smarting from the blow – because we’re too absorbed in circumstances to see what He’s doing.

It’s only after the stars clear from our vision that we regain a sense of what’s going on around us. At those times I can sit back and see – “Oh! He’s been working through me this whole time.”

Tunnel vision kept me from perceiving the progress made and the lessons learned during those years. They weren’t spent idly.

And I’m a better writer for them.

So how about you? Has discouragement gotten the better of you? What pulled you out? What keeps you going?

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