Thursday, April 24, 2014

Understanding Tough Times

All of us go through it. No matter what stage of the journey, we’ll encounter struggles. And they can beat the ever-living snot out of us.

How do we deal with it? How do we handle writer’s block, rejections, and crappy reviews?

Here are some things I’ve discovered along the way that help get through those tough times –

It’s a learning process. Sometimes it’s the only way we’ll improve.

It’s natural. There’s and ebb and flow and season for all things.

It makes us stronger and more determined.

It keeps us humble.

It can force us to step back and reevaluate or see the big picture.

It helps us develop a sense of humor!

It can force us onto a better path.

It makes us better writers and often a better person.

What tough times are you facing and how will you handle it?

A to Z Challenge

31 comments:

Cecilia said...

I made the very risky decision to write full time, follow my dream and leave my safe, long term day job to dedicate my days to writing. I took a years leave without pay and it is sometimes terribly frightening wondering if I will be able to survive the year on minimal funds. I did this because a year ago I was diagnosed with and required three lots of surgery so writing seemed the perfect activity for my recovery. I am writing like crazy and sending work out and am determined to be published under my own cover. I have no expectations of grand 'overnight' success and million dollar mansions but meeting the rent would be good. All of your statements about troubled times are very valid and I keep my chin up knowing that the struggle adds to my repertoire of things to write about. :)

Pinky Poinker said...

Lovely post which I'm sure strikes a chord in all of us. Every second day I scream internally, "I hate my blog!" and have serious thoughts of abandoning it altogether. Then... someone makes a lovely comment!

Fanny Barnes Thornton said...

Alex, you're right with all those points.
I don't fear rejection so much as success. Success terrifies me. Yet, I want to improve.
Someone should write about how to overcome the fear of success.
I must be the only person who feels like this. I'm so weird!

Kirsten said...

Thank you for sharing this! Knowing that we all face obstacles regardless of where we are on our writing journey is reassuring.
I struggle with getting one of my many projects all the way to completion. I'm already a slow reviser, and if I add other projects to the process I never finish anything! I've determined to choose the one that calls me the most and stick with it as best I can until I get it out the door. :)
Kirsten @ A Scenic Route

Elsie Amata said...

Ahh, humility. That can be a tough pill to swallow. I don't look forward to that first terrible review. Maybe I'll keep all my work to myself just to avoid it <---that's the sense of humor I'll need to keep me sane once I publish something =P

Elsie
AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

J.L. Campbell said...

Going through a tiny bit of a tough time now, but that has to do with not doing enough because of time constraints.


As you noted, the seasons ebb and flow and as with everything else, we need to exercise patience, keep moving and have the confidence of knowing that we'll get to where we want to be in due time.

kaykuala said...

Tough times are challenging!
http://imagery77.blogspot.com/2014/04/shadows-of-endearment.html

Hank

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Great post. I always had a certain vision of what my writing career would look like but I've had to step back, reevaluate and change that up a number of times in my life. Those moments are both heartbreaking and freeing.

Dean K Miller said...

I am fortunate to love my writing time, but not be dependent upon it to support our family. I've weathered what some would call "tough times," but my perspective is different. Passionate, for sure. Exhilarated, most definitely. Stung by criticism and rejection? You bet. But I am new at this quest, I am blessed with great support, and find every chance to write another reason to smile.

Christine Rains said...

Wonderful post! My tough times lately have been dealing with busy schedules and not enough writing time, but in the overall scheme of things, that's not so tough. :)

Ella said...

Thank you Alex! This is a timely post for me. I am weathering a medicine storm. Yes, I do agree with your wisdom-it redirects our path and we come out better from the storm-but first we must weather it~

Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks for sharing this, Alex. When I started writing full time, I had no idea that writers had to face lots of rejection, harsh criticism, writer's block and an errant muse. I was under the impression that a writer's life would be easy. Sigh. All illusions shattered.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cecilia, you just keep writing and believing.

Pinky, don't quit!

Fanny, success as a writer is one of my concerns as well.

Kirsten, I bet I'm slower...

Madeline, we are always growing and changing.

Dean, I'm not dependent either. Thank God!

Ella, just hang on!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I like that you're looking at the positives for the tough times we face Alex. Thanks for this!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Right in the middle of tough times with my publisher, a dear friend asked if I'd like to do an anthology. I said sure, which turned out to be the hardest thing I've ever written. It's coming out next month, and no things aren't any better with my publisher. Thank goodness for spring!

Laurel Garver said...

The very worst thing for any of us is stagnation. I'm learning to embrace the tough moments as gifts that do all the good things you summarized so well for us. Walking forward with humility onto paths unknown is far better than being stuck.

Laurel's Leaves

cleemckenzie said...

I suppose the toughest time right now is trying to decide how to handle my next books. Should I go Indie? Should I try for traditional? Should I find a small press that wants my stuff? I love having more choices, but more choices means more thought has to go into the next move.

Fil said...

We'd just been talking about this at lunch today - reading reviews is a terrible one and lots of performers say that they never read any reviews - good or bad. I suppose they can pay people to take out the bad ones anyway before they read them. but they do make life very hard.

I too have been going through a tough time from not having enough time to work on my writing/practising. This blog challenge has really highlighted a lot of things that I need to let go of.

And fear of success is a huge one for me too …

Fil at
Fil's Place - Old Songs and Memories

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elizabeth, doesn't do any good to look at the negatives.

Joylene, I'm sorry, but glad you took that opportunity.

Lee, very true.

Fil, glad they are helping.

Pat Hatt said...

Being crazy and a stubborn sob gets me through the tough times

Birgit said...

well I have had tough times-hahahaha from the years you have picked it seems I always have them but I agree with all you say here and for writing-never give up...never surrender-I couldn't help myself with that quote but it is true. To all the writers out there you will succeed!

Jennifer Chandler said...

Tough times...right now, things are pretty good. We've come through some tough times and are working our way to even better times. For me, being able to look back and see how much I've grown, how much I've learned, is what I try to take from every tough experience. Challenges make us the people we are today. They add character and experience and humility. We are better at helping others having gone through the crap that comes our way. As long as we keep going, keep trying, keep climbing we'll be fine.

In the words of Bob Marley: "Don't worry about a thing cause every little thing is gonna be all right". That's hard to do, but necessary.

Great post!
Jen

Chrys Fey said...

April has been one big struggle for me, and not because of the A to Z Challenge, so this most help me. Thank you!

Terri Rochenski said...

Ah, that negative review. Just got my first one. A true dagger to the heart. Unfortunately, I won't share here since I've already made notes for my next IWSG post in May. :)

Definitely makes you want to stick your head in the sand & give up. Like you, Alex, it's made me more determined, and gave me a better understanding of something I've often told others:

You can't please everyone every time.

Great post as usual!!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I don't have much to complain about though a few things continue to frustrate me. Probably all of us would do better with more time in each day.

Michelle Wallace said...

Tough moments are constant. They pop up here and there, when you least expect it.
I've accepted that they're part of the journey...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Tough time never last but tough people do.

Nana Prah said...

Everything you said is correct. But can I just add that it's also annoying to go through tough times?

Lynda R Young said...

I've been so thoroughly humbled. Not sure I can take more ;)
lol, yeah I can. I can't deny how much I love writing.
Wonderful post, Alex

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - I'm at the point of needing to pull all things together and create some books etc - so a huge learning curve ... but there are people who can help and that's fantastic ... one I haven't 'seen' for about three years ... suddenly reappeared and offered to help - it's that support while I plod on ... I must do more than just blog now .. and as Fanny says .. success can be a challenge ..

Cheers Hilary

Franny Stevenson said...

Well the biggest difficulty for me is that I'm trying to write in English while I'm Italian native speaker....I'm trying to study more and read more and so on but it seems that the problem will be always there...so I'm not handling that good! Any advice....