A writer friend of mine recently posed the following question on Facebook (which I’m paraphrasing here): What helps see you through the dark moments, when you’re thinking it’s too hard and you should just abandon your writing (or whatever art form)?
I started to answer but realized I had way more to say than would fit in a Facebook comment. So, here’s my response:
- I think about what I would do instead. Gotta make money somehow…. The easiest answer is to continue what I’m already doing, which is copyediting, designing, and publishing for other authors, which I do enjoy well enough. But I quickly realize that I’d just get depressed working on other people’s books, knowing I gave up my own dream. So, what else? I don’t believe it’s ever too late to start a new career…but I have no idea what I’d even want to do. Nothing else fires up my passion.
- I realize that if I give up, I’ll disappoint people—like my writing mentors, Kris & Dean, who’ve been pounding their knowledge into me for the past thirteen years. Or Ken, who’s supported me for longer than that and been my biggest cheerleader. I’ll disappoint the writers who look up to me, who tell me they admire my work ethic or my prose or whatever. Hell, I’ll disappoint the twelve-year-old me who write a hundred handwritten pages on a novel, and the seventeen-year-old me who completed and submitted her first novel, which got positive rejections.
- I look at the list I keep of positive reviews and the Kudos folder in my email (where I save any email where someone has said something nice about my writing). I remember that I’ve had two call-outs in Publisher’s Weekly. Clearly I occasionally do something right when it comes to writing. Just because it’s a struggle right now doesn’t mean good writing doesn’t come out of it, and stories and novels people want to read.
- I re-watch the videos from an online Productivity Workshop (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/online-workshops/). I remind myself to Go Play, that this is supposed to be fun.
- If all else fails, I just wait it out. After a few days, I’ll be so cranky because I’m not writing that I’ll just cave and start again.
What’s your answer?