We’ve all been there. Sitting at our desks, staring at that piece of writing we worked so hard on, that thing we were at first so proud of, feeling like giving up. What’s the point, anyway? No one is going to read it. They haven’t yet. And even if they do, they probably aren’t going to like it. It’s not relatable. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not even that good.
I’m not even that good.
The truth is, whether you feel like it or not, you are a good writer. At least, you are as good of a writer right now as you have ever been. Yes, discouragement is hard. You would give anything for someone to come along and try to cheer you up … yet you know that, in that moment, nothing is going to make you feel better. You feel like a failure. That is one of a writer’s biggest fears: never reaching that end goal, whatever it may be for you.
I am one person with my own writing experience. I cannot say I know exactly how you feel or understand the experiences you have had as an aspiring writer. But the help I have for you today is a set of tools you can take away and apply to your own writing life in whichever way you choose, if you choose to at all. Here is what I can tell you now.
First, focus on yourself.
Remember why you started writing in the first place? More likely than not, it was because you had to satisfy a creative urge you did not understand. That is how many writers who are just starting out feel. They may not have a formal mission statement or know which genre they prefer to write in or even know how to construct a good story. They just know they have a story in their head that needs to be told.
You are a writer for a reason. How can you use this simple fact as a motivation booster?
- Always remember to write what you want to write, especially when you are feeling down. It doesn’t matter if there are 500 vampire novels already out there and the trend has passed. Write your vampire novel anyway.
- Never compare yourself to another writer. Every single writer’s journey, style and platform is different. So-and-so may have published her first novel at xyz age after submitting only one query letter, but just because you can’t fulfill those requirements doesn’t mean you have failed.
- You want to do this. YOU. Not anyone else. Never let anyone try to talk you out of trying to write for a living or listen to anyone who tells you that you do not have what it takes. There is no “one thing” that determines whether an aspiring writer will “make it” or not.
Though you will meet fellow writers on the way and maybe even a few mentors too, at the end of the day, whether you write or not, how successful you consider yourself, whether or not you get any enjoyment out of writing, that is all up to you. No one can make you do anything or stop you from doing it.
Then, prepare for the moments you really, really want to quit.
These moments will come. They are often sudden, strong and impossible to ignore. Feeling discouraged comes along with all sorts of other feelings: anger; frustration; mental exhaustion. How in the world are we supposed to write when we’re feeling all these awful emotions?
Here are some links to posts that might help you, depending on what’s really bothering you beneath the surface.
For when you need to remember why your words matter:
- The Benefit of Creating When No One Is Watching
- Why You Should Never Give Up On Your Ideas (No Matter How Small)
- Giving Up Is Not An Option
- How to Use Writing to Better Understand How Other People Feel
- How to Get Over Feeling Vulnerable As a Writer
For when other people just don’t get it:
- Many People Still Don’t Understand Writing As a Job
- How to Find Helpful Feedback On Your Writing
- The Most Difficult Things Writers Have to Explain to Non-Writers, Part I and Part II
For when you are sick and tired of being rejected:
- Rejection Is the Best Thing That Will Ever Happen to You
- A Writer’s Guide to Bouncing Back from Rejection
- How to Bounce Back from Failure
- What If You Write Something People Don’t Like?
- How to Handle Negative Feedback
For when you can’t seem to get any writing done:
- You Don’t Need Motivation to Write – You Just Need Fewer Distractions
- Here’s What to Do When You’re Struggling to Focus
- How to Minimize Writing Distractions
- Every Excuse You’ve Made for Not Writing (and Your Career Goals’ Responses)
- Three Things Stopping You from Starting Your Book (and How to Handle Them)
Feeling discouraged as a writer is normal. We have all felt it at one point or another. I know I didn’t have a guide like this when I felt my most frustrated and worthless as a writer in college. So I hope this helps you, or might be able to help someone you know.
If you have any other words of encouragement for a fellow writer, or just need to voice your own frustrations, the comments section is a safe and supportive place for everyone. Leave your thoughts down below.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in MotivationGrid, Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.
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