Discouragement and the Writer

Michelle Ule

Blogger: Michelle Ule

Sitting in for Wendy Lawton who is traveling this week.

As a writer do you ever deal with discouragement?

Wait! Isn’t that the definition of a writer?

Rejection and discouragement dog all artists, and the writing life is full of reasons to be downhearted.

I’m just like the rest of you, and I battle discouragement all the time.

The operative word in that sentence, however, is battle.

As in, fight against discouragement and all its attendant downer friends.

To that end, I’ve come up with things to do when my confidence in my ability and my work feels . . . threatened.

Home Sweat Home 01348; discouragement

Will this ever work? Photo by Nevit Dilmen

Five ways to battle discouragement in the writing life

1. Take a break.

That’s right. Step away from your computer and do something else.

It may be as simple as going out to dinner, watching a movie, playing Monopoly, taking a walk.

Remove yourself from the source of discouragement for a time.

Plan it deliberately: “I’m going on sabbatical for three days.”

Tell your family and friends.

Vacations can be helpful–that’s the point of a vacation, right?

And if you can’t figure out how to disconnect without worrying, check out my blog post on ways to disconnect from social media.

2. Check in with someone who believes in your ability.

It can be difficult, as a solitary writer, to remember your talent if you rarely receive positive feedback.

If you’re feeling like a fraud–in truth you don’t really know how to string together words–maybe it’s time to talk to someone who can give you an objective opinion.

You could ask your mother, but someone who knows something about writing might be more helpful.

Avoid negative people. You need a cheerleader.

If you don’t have anyone like that–well, have you been showing your work to anybody?

3. Reevaluate your priorities

Maybe you’re discouraged because this is not a good season for you to be writing.

Are you neglecting some of the enriching areas of your life to write? Like, say, those children needing to play Monopoly?

Maybe your partner needs attention?

Perhaps your spiritual life is drying up, and you need refreshment there?

You may be feeling discouraged because other things in your life are out of balance. Once you put them back in their right order, the writing may go better.

4. Reexamine why you write.

Has anything changed in this area?

Do you need to earn a certain sum of money or else?

Are your goals realistic?

What do the significant people in your life think about your goals?

(If you haven’t discussed your goals with them, why not?)

Write out what success looks like to you, and examine that list–asking yourself at least five “why” questions to analyze your emotional reaction to the question.

5. Look back over your writing life to see the hand of God and/or when you received clear indications you’re a writer.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded of past events that confirm our “call” to be a writer.

Often, we can best see the will of God by looking in the rear view mirror of our lives–to see where He has led us and why.

I’m walking by faith, not sight, right now for a project I spent a lot of time writing.

I could try to deny the clear signs that God was leading me in a writing direction, but what would be the point?

I know He is.

I’m in the wait mode right now.

Many of you know you’re a writer because of your answer to this bonus question:


Feeling better yet?

Bonus: Ask yourself what you’d do instead of write.

Can’t think of anything?

You may return to your computer, now.


Writers and Discouragement; 5 ideas to battle the blues. Click to Tweet

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Discouraged writer? 5 tips to help. Click to tweet