Writers: Be Thankful for the Grind

If nothing else, give thanks.

There are days it can feel like nothing you’re doing is going to mater tomorrow. In a month. In 10 years.

I know this because I have one of those days at least twice a week.

I love writing. I love being a writer. But this business comes with so many unspoken challenges a lot of us are afraid to talk about. Like how sometimes you don’t feel like writing and feel guilty when you don’t. How you want to be a successful writer but sometimes don’t think anyone will care about your ideas.

Honestly? I am tired. Sometimes it feels like I’m always tired. I am very happy. But progress only happens when you make it happen, and sometimes that effort just starts to feel like too much.

I’m hanging on — and I hope you are too. But I get what it’s like not to feel okay.

When it feels like there’s no way you could write even one more word, believe it or not, all hope is not lost. Because all you have to do is take a deep breath and write a single word. And then the next. And then the next. Day after day, month after month, until all those words have come together to make a Finished Product.

We don’t like to think about the small steps. We only want to celebrate what we’ve accomplished. You can’t do that if you don’t put a little work into it at a time, over a long period of time.

This can be draining. But it can be worthwhile, too.

My advice? Be thankful for the grind.

Even when you’re tired, when you’re frustrated, when it feels like everything would be so much easier if you just quit writing altogether, be thankful. Remember that every single writer you admire worked very hard to get where they are right now. Be thankful that you have a dream, that you have the means to pursue it — the time, the skill, the drive.

Be thankful that there are stories in your heart and that you’re brave enough to claim them as your own.

Be thankful for the unrecognized effort, for the rejection letters, for the negative criticisms. All of it. Not because that will make it easier, but because it will carry you through the toughest of the times ahead.

Be thankful you are here, with ideas, with dreams. That is a blessing. Hold onto it. It matters.

But also remember that things will not always be as difficult as they might seem right now. Things change with time. Sometimes even for the better.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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5 thoughts on “Writers: Be Thankful for the Grind

  1. I like how you referred to the “grind” of writing to carry those ideas to completion. I retired from the daily grind of teaching, but I enjoy the daily grind of writing. I hope that I am saying that a year from now. I expect that I will be!

  2. I often feel tired, and it really does make one doubt oneself, but as you say, progress only happens when you make it.
    I often tell myself that my role, my responsibility, is to try, to put in the time and crank out some words.
    It’s not my role to create some pristine and emaculate something, it’s just to put in the time, crank out the words, and hope for the best.
    Granted, I do need to try, and try my best, but I remind myself that I don’t get to decide whether what I write “this time” is a winner or not.
    All I get to do is decide whether or not to keep trying.
    And I find it helps, to remind myself of that. Often I find the biggest barrier is this vague, unrealistic expectation that I will make something wondrous, and the answer is to instead simply aim to create “something”, and leave the rest to time, chance, and luck.

    1. Yes, yes yes, to ALL OF THIS. Fearing imperfection should not stop anyone from creating. It might come out flawed, but at least it was made.

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