Writing doesn’t just drain you physically and mentally. It messes with your emotions, too. Sometimes it can feel like you’ve lost your way, as if you can’t even remember why you bother writing at all.
Why is it so easy to get discouraged – even if it doesn’t stop you from writing? Your emotions matter. Here’s why, sometimes, stuff just gets to you, where it comes from and how to handle it.
Sometimes the internet makes it seem like everyone is doing better than you are
There are days I just can’t handle scrolling through my Facebook feed. It has nothing to do with writing – it’s more of the fact that all my friends are getting married and having babies and I just can’t deal right now. Sometimes you just can’t stand seeing other people succeeding when you feel like you’re falling behind. What? This person’s publishing a book? Why can’t I do that … ?
Always remember that behind avatars, people exaggerate. It’s part marketing, part insecurity … in the publishing world, anyway. Often we try to make it seem like we’ve accomplished more than we actually have, whether intentionally or completely by accident. Just remember that you’re not competing against anyone else. Your journey is unique, just like your writing is. Keep on keepin’ on.
The writing life gets lonely sometimes
Everyone’s daily structure is different. Some people work in an office all day, come home to spend time with their families and somehow manage to squeeze in writing time at the end of their days. I work from home, communicate with clients via email on other messaging and, honestly, I don’t get out much. It gets lonely. Sometimes it can feel like no one gets why you spend so much of your time writing … but you are definitely not alone.
There are people out there who understand you – I promise. That’s one of the main reasons why I started this blog: to remind you that you’re not the only one stumbling through this really weird, unpredictable, confusing life. And there are plenty of other places like this online. If you can’t find a writing group near where you live, the internet, though sometimes unfriendly, can lead you to like-minded creatives who get what you’re going through.
Most people aren’t good at giving more than they receive
A really weird thing about the editor-writer relationship is that I hand out compliments, as the superior, and very rarely get anything in return. It doesn’t bother me and it’s nothing personal. But sometimes it can feel like you’re putting a lot of effort into lifting other people up, only to have them step on you without a single thank-you. What can you do? You can’t change other people. Writers especially often forget to return an offer with an offer of their own; we’re just forgetful, it happens. You can change that, though.
Set an example for everyone you meet. Offer to give and try not to expect much in return. Help fellow writers in any way you can. I’m not saying you should work for free: don’t let people take advantage of you. Just be kind. Do your best to encourage people when they’re struggling, even if their problems seem small and insignificant to you. This behavior draws you to other writers who will be willing to do the same for you, if you ever need it.
Don’t let yourself get too discouraged. Feeling left behind, lonely and unappreciated are all common emotional roadblocks for writers, but that doesn’t mean you have to give into them. Keep trying, even when it seems pointless. Discouragement is a sign that you really want to go after something. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t feel so down. Move forward. Other people’s successes and opinions matter, but they don’t define you. YOU define you. YOU decide where to go from here.
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 Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.