A writer’s life is not an easy one. It can sometimes feel like we are trying to reach the stars from the top rung of a ladder. Not only do we need to master story structure, the ins and outs of grammar and the nuances of character creation, we also need to become masters of marketing and social media as well. We need to find time to write between all our other commitments, we need to edit and polish and know when our stories are ready. And we need to keep going despite less than wonderful reviews, or countless rejections, or family pressure to get a ‘real job,’ or a multitude of other obstacles a writer faces.
When the writer’s life gets particularly rough, and the ladder collapses under our feet, there are four things we can do:
1. Give up
2. Take a break
3. Seek solace
4. Keep writing
1. Give up: This is not recommended. While writing isn’t for everyone, most of us are drawn to writing because we must. The ideas keep coming whether we write or not and if we cut off our creative outlet altogether, then the pressure builds and comes out in other less pleasant ways, such as dissatisfaction, restlessness, or even grumpiness.
2. Take a break: This works a treat. Sometimes a writer has to take a step back. It doesn’t have to be for very long. The writer may need the time to reassess what he or she wants from writing, to recharge the creative batteries, or simply to take a breath, enjoy life and learn to love writing again despite the difficulties.
3. Seek solace: There’s something deeply satisfying to learn you aren’t alone in the writing struggle. Groups like the Insecure Writer’s Support Group have been founded because of the need to connect with other writers. Through the support of those writers, you might learn you need a break, or you can keep going because you love writing so much. Being a part of this kind of community can also change your thinking so it’s no longer about survival, but about your undeniable passion for writing.
4. Keep writing: This is my personal favorite. I particularly like to mix it with the previous option as well. Through the encouragement of the writing community, I’m able to keep writing. When we keep writing, we keep moving forward, we keep creating and improving and loving the act of stringing words into polished manuscripts. When we keep writing, the setbacks become less important, because that’s all they become: temporary setbacks.
What helps you to stay optimistic when your dreams seem impossible to reach?
Image: Photoshop creation by Lynda R. Young