Writing is hard. Even worse, to most of our friends and family, it’s a fleeting dream and unimportant in their busy worlds.
It’s a mystery why the average Joe doesn’t see writing as a career. They consider it . . . a hobby. We get the occasional pat on the shoulder or a “That’s nice,” followed by an inquiry about our day job and questions on how we get paid.
Despite ourselves, we drag into our offices, open the laptop and continue to pound away at the words buried deep in our souls. Every word that hits the page seems only to be appreciated by ourselves. Where on earth do we get encouragement?
Writers are a breed all their own. Our imaginations run like horses across the plains. It’s hard for others to see the depths of a hard-boiled egg exploding in a pot. But we do. We see the story around the explosion and our minds begin to twist and turn a simple incident into a full-blown murder mystery. It’s just who we are.
It breaks my heart at conferences, when I see a writer tear up explaining how unsupportive their family is. I can see the excitement rise when I gently take their work from their hands and begin to read. They even lean over, craning their neck to see if they can figure where I’m reading. To some it wouldn’t matter if I acquired their work. Simply reading it gives them hope.
Regardless of who you are or how accomplished at the writing craft you become –everyone needs encouragement. The question looms again. Where do we get this encouragement?
Look over these ways to seek out encouragement and take hold. Your writing is important and your stories need to be told.
Encouragement begins on your knees – I’m a firm believer prayer makes a difference. Our gifts and talents are given to us long before we were hidden away in the secret place. God specifically chose you to do the work you do. Your encouragement begins at the feet of the One who wants you to write. Take time to offer your work back to God. Ask Him to work through you, be it fiction or non-fiction. Christian or secular. Ask for Him to fill you with a pure confidence to work when others do not see its importance. There is encouragement in prayer.
Attend a writers conference – No one knows a writer better than another writer. There’s nowhere else on earth we can go and find hundreds of others who see the plot behind the exploding hard-boiled egg. Conferences offer you the opportunity to network and find others who are like minded. In the presence of these like-minded folks, you can share your worries, lift others up, and be lifted yourself.
Don’t fall into a pity party – When you feel yourself dropping into the depths of despair, take a walk. Carry a pad with you. Jot down ideas and when you re-read them, give yourself credit for a good idea. You are, after all, a writer. Better yet, begin to write. Some of your most emotional words and work come from despair and hardship. When you scratch these scabs until they bleed, you’ll weave words together into beautiful sentences that touch lives. Rather than letting sadness get the best of you, turn the tables and get the best from it. Be proud of that and remain determined as you walk your writing path.
Study to improve your craft – There is great encouragement in writing a paragraph and then rewriting it into perfection. The more you study and learn the art of writing, the more confident you are in the work you do – the better the quality of work you turn out. AND the more apt you are to be published.
Build your tribe – Gather those around you who love the work you do. I have a friend I can send an article to and ask her to read through. “Could you let me know if this has any value?” And she does. Her comments are genuine, even if some of it is criticism. Criticism given in love is encouraging. It tells us we’re on the right path. So build your tribe and surround yourself with those who appreciate your effort.
Continue to write – Even when you feel as though there is no hope of being published, keep writing. Keep in mind the feelings of frustration are normal. As I said earlier, writing is hard. It sometimes takes years for us to see real success. Keep at it. Persistence in something you believe in brings you joy and encouragement.
When encouragement wanes and discouragement tries to beat you down, meet it head on with ways to overcome. Remember, you are special. You are good. You are a writer and your words literally change lives.
Photo used by permission morguefile.com & pippalou
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