Well I had my little pity party, now it’s time to knock the cotton out of my head and get back to work. So, let’s talk about some ways to get over discouragement.
1. Don’t read books within the genre you are writing if they make you feel like your own manuscript can’t measure up. It’s great to read them, and LOTS of them, before and after, but for me, it’s a mistake to read them during. I don’t know about you, but there always comes a time during the writing process where I feel like every word I write is crap. It doesn’t help to be reading the best examples of your genre at that moment. Trust me, I know. In other words, last night I put down the Sarah Dessen and picked up a J.D. Robb mystery instead. Better already!
2. Take a break. Go for a long walk. Play with your kids. Pet your dog. Spend some time with loved ones. Watch a good movie. Take a bath, get a back rub, whatever makes you feel a little better. Then, get back to work.
3. If you’re discouraged over a problem, like I was, brainstorm some ideas on how to fix it. Talk to someone you trust and ask for suggestions. Even if you don’t use them, they might spark some thought within you that gets the creative process rolling.
4. Go through your piles of rejections from agents and editors, and pick out the ones that aren’t form rejections. DO NOT look at the form rejections. I mean it. They won’t help. Go through the ones that aren’t forms. In my experience they usually tell you at least one thing they like about your writing, sometimes even more. Re-read those parts, and ONLY those parts.
4. Read books on writing, especially ones that are inspirational. I mean inspirational like get-your-butt-in-your-chair-and-get-to-work inspirational. Here are some of my favorite books that will inspire you to write. I own all of these and read them regularly. They are the best of the best.
1. Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams by Heather Sellers
2. Page after page by Heather sellers
3. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
4. Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft by Jane Yolen
5. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
6. Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You by Ray Bradbury
6. And above all, remember, we are lucky to get to do this. Try not to stress too much, and remember we could be forced to clean sewers for a living instead.