January 8, 2012

Writers—Six Ways to Beat Discouragement

Did you enter 2012 feeling discouraged about your writing? Maybe one of your goals for last year was to get your work published and that didn’t happen. You might be weary of the business side of writing, watching sales figures drop, working hard to promote your work and receiving little in return. Whatever the source of your discouragement, here are six surefire ways to beat it.

1. Fine-tune your workspace. Clean off your desk, rearrange the furniture, and change your screensaver to something bright and cheerful. Treat your space to some new, whimsical writing tools. Let in the light. Soak your space with sunshine.

2. Expand your horizons. Put your WIP aside and write in an unfamiliar genre. It doesn’t have to be epic or perfect. Just write. Try a poem, a play, or write an article about beating discouragement! An hour or two of unfamiliar territory might even inspire fresh, new ideas for your WIP or set you in an altogether new writing direction.

3. Tell it to your journal. Get all your discouragement down on paper. Let out the frustration, anger, and tears. Journal a letter to the agents and editors who turned you down last year. Tell them how you really feel. Sometimes just letting the discouragement flood out helps to get rid of it.

4. Ask the “you-too?” question. Network with other writers, either in person or on Facebook or other social media venues. Ask them if they get discouraged and what they do to beat it. You might be surprised to find that you have lots of company. Even multi-published writers get discouraged.

5. Use words to chase discouragement away. Choose and meditate on one positive, uplifting word like faith, hope, courage, or success. Read and think about quotations or scripture verses that relate to your word. Let them sink deep into your soul.

6. Focus on the gift. Concentrate more on the talent you have been given to write instead of your purpose for writing. I believe, and maybe you do too, that each of us is endowed with special skills. The reason for that endowment isn’t always clear. Maybe the purpose of your gift is to publish, or maybe it is to write blog posts that inspire. Perhaps your purpose is to write something that touches just one person in a way that changes his or her life. When you put the gift of writing above your perceived writing purpose you may find encouragement in unexpected places.

Vincent Van Gogh once said, “In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.”

So, dump your discouragement. Take up your pencil and write!


Karen Lange said...

Posted along similar lines this week because, yes, I was discouraged about my writing and other life issues. Frustrated, too, about how my time seemed to disappear each day with little to show for it. Working to quell doubts and other hindrances, and generally making a better start for the new year. Thanks for the tips and encouragement, Jean!

Linda McQuinn Carlblom said...

These are great tips, Jean. Thanks for the encouragement. I needed it. I shall indeed take up my pen and write!

Jamie said...

Cleaning up my desk and writing inspirational words sound like a breath of fresh encouragement. Thanks for the hopeful post.

Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

Thank you, Jean! Very Encouraging!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Thank you, Jean! These are wonderful suggestions, many of which I'll implement.

The one thing that gets me discouraged is when I don't have clear direction for the next step. When the emotions settle down and I get quiet before the Lord, it's easier to find the pathway.