4 Ways to Battle Discouragement


4 Ways to Battle Discouragement

When you are so very, very tired of yet another rejection, when discouragement threatens to overwhelm you, what do you do?

Friends: One antidote is to stop writing and be with friends. Writer-friends are especially helpful because you can commiserate endlessly (read: complain) about how callous those horrible editors are, how short-sighted, how bad their taste in literature is not to recognize genius when they read YOUR mss. Second best is a DH, who’s been there through the worst of it with you and been there through the good (Thanks, D!) Mostly, you just need someone who love you and understands that these creative efforts are necessary for your well-being–even when you get rejection after rejection.

Past Successes: Yes, you have past successes. You have finished a story, maybe even a whole novel. Don’t look right now at the fact that it needs a big overhaul; just look at what you’ve accomplished! 50,000 words in a month! 3 picture book manuscripts polished and sent out this year. You’ve taken solid, positive steps in the right direction. Your cup is half full, not half empty! Look!

Get out of Town: This weekend, my DH and I went camping and hiking. Back to nature, where no words on a paper/computer screen make a difference. Here’s a couple shots from the Buffalo National River. One thing this does for me is remind me to look for small details. It fills my tank of sights, sounds, smells, textures, so I have something to put in my writing later. The shoe was at an old abandoned farmhouse. You may not like camping (silly you!), but sometimes you need a break, a change of scenery, a day off. Get out of town!

Earbie Campground, Buffalo National River. Click to enlarge

The view from Goat Bluff, near Earbie Campground. Click to enlarge

Shoe: found at Farmer's Farmstead, abandoned farm near Earbie Campground. Click to enlarge

Read Art and Fear

If all else fails? Read Art and Fear. It’s a book that I cherish as something that keeps me grounded. It talks about common fears that artists (they talk about painters and photographers, but it applies to us) must face as they work and publicize their work. We walk in a dichotomy of needing to create, yet needing to grow the audience for our work, so we can create more.

There have been days–when I receive a rejection letter after 14 months of assurance that a contract was coming–when all I can do is sit at my desk and cry. And read Art and Fear one more time. And turn to the computer and start to write because everything this small book says is true. I write because I must; and those who love me best know that I must. Discouraged? There is help. Read this book.

  • caroline starr rose
    October 10, 2011

    What gorgeous pictures! I love the richness of the sunlight this time of year. I remember you reading a portion of Art and Fear at your retreat. Must get my hands on this.

  • Darcy Pattison
    October 10, 2011

    Art and Fear is indeed a gem!
    And yes, the light that morning was amazing.