You Can Do This

mountain-climbingSo, am I the only one noticing how hard and frustrating the publishing business is getting?

Ha. I didn’t think so.

Things are changing fast and more and more, I realize that writers need encouragement. It’s a hard business to break into, it’s easy to lose hope, and you just want to hear something positive every now and then. I was wondering what I could say today that would be encouraging, then I started pondering… what exactly do we mean by encouragement, anyway?

Sometimes the encouragement writers want is for someone to say, “It’s not that hard. You can do it.” And the reason you keep feeling discouraged is because people keep telling you the opposite. “It’s hard. This is a challenging and competitive business.”

I don’t think anyone is trying to discourage you — at least I’m not. But I do try to tell the truth. There’s no point in having a false sense of optimism about publishing; it only leads to disappointment. But if reality is not all rosy, can we still somehow find encouragement in it?

Encouragement (according to Webster’s) is something that gives you courage, or inspires you or gives you hope. Something that spurs you on, stimulates you, incites you to action.

I think hearing the difficult truth can be encouraging, because it forces you to make an internal decision:

Am I up for this, or not? How much am I willing to give this? How badly do I want it?

If you have passion and drive, this is the time you rise up and say to yourself, yes, I can do this. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it takes work, perhaps more than I’d want. But I can do this. When you go through this soul-searching and come out more determined than ever, you’ve found your encouragement. You’ve found your hope.

All the platitudes in the world, camouflaged as encouraging words, aren’t going to do you any good. Only the truth can get you where you want to go. The truth separates the passionate from the daydreamers. The truth leads you to the resolve—the courage, the grit, the sheer perseverance—you’ll need in order to find success as a writer.

So let me ask you:

How do you find encouragement in the midst of this difficult business?

Does the challenging nature of it tend to beat you down, or spur you on… or do you alternate between extremes?

EXTRA: I’m also blogging over at ACFW today, looking at Genesis 1 and asking, “Do You Have Enough Thinking Time?

  1. I’ve been published before and hope to be again, but it is, indeed, a hard and difficult road. Every time I think about packing it in, someone comes along or writes to me to tell me how important one of my short stories or books was to them, how it affected them, or changed their outlook. That’s all I need to keep going!

  2. Rachelle,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I just wanted to say thank you for your encouragement to writers! I love your words of wisdom.

  3. Don Weston says:

    It’s how we respond to rejection that makes us who we are.
    As writers, if we avoid it, we don’t do ourselves any favors. As potential authors, if we continue to put our work out there and it is rejected, it does have an overall effect on us.
    Sometimes I listened to my own inner voice, critical after so many years of rejection.
    Recently, I have been learning to shut my inner critic off. I realize now, that my inner critic was always wrong.
    I am good enough. Good enough to get published, good enough to sell many books, good enough to enjoy life.
    The only way my inner critic could be right, is if I don’t push through to my passion.
    The only way we can truly fail, is if we don’t try in the first place. I can look back of my life and say “Well I tried to write but I never got published. Or I can look back on my life and wish I would’ve tried.
    From now on, I will commit that each time I get rejected, I will send out two more query letters.
    I also have a list of affirmations that I use daily. My favorite is, “I am doing the best I can with the awareness I have today. Six months from now I will have a different awareness.”
    This means I’m good enough today. My work is good enough today. As long as I keep writing, and saying my affirmation, I will do fine.
    The rest I turn over to god. He knows better than me.

  4. C. T. Blaise says:

    Any business right now is tough. I consider myself so blessed to be doing what I love doing.

  5. Susan Scott says:

    I continue to write because of what the process forces me to become as a person. As I learn and grow I am becoming more prepared for the opportunities that come my way. One day I will be “lucky” because preparedness and opportunity will meet and my book will show up in your local bookstore.

  6. Cindy Dwyer says:

    For me, someone who works full-time in a non-writing career, has kids, a husband, a blog, and am putting my final writing group edits on my first novel, it’s more a matter of stamina over inspiration!

    You know you’re serious about being a writer when you’re willing to sacrifice everything else in order to write. I stopped watching TV, barely read anything other than critiques for my writer’s group and dear God whatever you do, don’t look too closely at my kitchen floor!

  7. Kathy N. Garvin says:

    Heck yes I am up for this. I can do this, and am more passionate, determined, and dedicated than ever!I admit,I have mumbled more than twice about “that darn Rachelle causing me to doubt my work.” The result? A re-written query letter, a knock-out book proposal including market analysis, and a more concise table of contents. I have moved this story from above-average entertainment to an impacting, life-changing experience for the readers. Your challenges to treat this like a business and part-time job has led me to dedicate every weekend to this until the final edit is complete. I am dedicated, fearless, and now armed with a query letter, book proposal, and solid chapters. Thanks to you, Rachelle, I know my genre and platform. I will draw in the right agent like a magnet and see my life’s work through to successful publication and sales.

    So, er, yes, your challenges have definitely driven me forward and helped me focus.

  8. gp farah says:

    Thanks for this post, Rachelle. One year ago I “gave up” writing and after 6 months realized, I write because I’m a writer. So I’ve had a blast the last 6 months doing what I love todo…write. However, for a change of pace I think I’ll tell myself “I write AND publish.”

  9. I alternate between the extremes…sometimes minute by mintute, because I am crazy like that.

    But seriously, I just had this hard conversation with myself over the last couple of weeks. I was at a crossroads, and I had to figure out if I really, really wanted this. I decided yes, after some encouragement (honest encouragement, but still) from you and from two dear writer friends.

    Now I am more determined than ever. In fact, I started my second book last week, even though my first one didn’t come to publishing fruition as I’d hoped (yet!).

  10. How do you find encouragement in the midst of this difficult business?

    I am part of a writing group and find that my classmates are very encouraging. They encourage me through honest feedback and critique of my submission, and also, by showing me there are actual, live people in the world who care about writing enough to keep trying.

    Does the challenging nature of it tend to beat you down, or spur you on… or do you alternate between extremes?

    I alternate between extremes. It depends on the day, really.

  11. nuku says:

    “I don’t think anyone is trying to discourage you — at least I’m not.”

    Thank you! I’ve been searching for somebody who will represent my faith, and not edit it to suit others, but so far it’s a no go. The Christian publishers don’t want me because they think I’m not Christian, the mainstream don’t want me because the ones who represent fantasy absolutely don’t want “spiritual/inspirational”.
    So, I guess I’m not Christian enough to be Christian, but I’m to religious to be published by mainstream.
    Anyway, I just want to thank you for those encouraging words! (^_^)

  12. L. Norma Cox says:

    I find myself going between the two extremes and many of the posts/emails from you, fill up my my “spur me on” bucket.

    I do have a great deal of pressure to complete my narrative non-fiction book AND sell it! Why? I will probable lose my home. Who would have thought this would be a sign of the times in the writer’s world?

    Thank you for all you do….

  13. Joseph Baran says:

    Just like anything else in life, publishing is a roller coaster ride. It’s a way to learn about yourself and also about others in this business and what we all are made of. People that I thought I knew, often surprise me, not necessarily in a good way.

    The biggest encouragement, I think, is the level of control that authors have these days.

  14. Sue Harrison says:

    The challenge of those hardships spurs me on, as does your post today. Thank you, Rachelle.

  15. I’m Irish – it’s safe to say everything I do alternates between extremes. We breathe to overreact.  Lineage aside, I receive a great deal of encouragement reading other success stories – especially those of fellow bloggers I’ve befriended on this crazy journey. A little hope goes a long way.

  16. Bret Draven says:

    I don’t think it is so much the need for overall encouragement (although encouraging words are appreciative), but more of the ability to determine that you are in fact NOT INSANE for choosing this career path!

    But hell, sometimes I even question that too!

  17. Bobbi says:

    I liked this post, because the encouragement that counts the most ultimately is the one that comes from within.

    I write because I can’t imagine not writing.
    I wake up thinking about how much writing time I can manage around my paycheck job, my family time etc…
    If my writing is not going well, then I read writers I admire
    I end my day typically thinking about some aspect of my writing even if its that fact that I didn’t’ write.
    If it was easy to get published I imagine everyone would be writing.

  18. Challenges tend to spur me on. I don’t like being told I can’t do something. LOL That said, many things are out of control. I get encouragement from other writers’ successes and from God. 🙂

  19. Else says:

    The fact that this business is so competitive forces us to become better writers than we ever thought we could be.

  20. Joe Pote says:

    I feel rather like I’ve settled into a marathon pace of simply continuing to put one foot in front of the other. I know it will take time, but there’s also no reason to be in a hurry.

    Yes, sometimes I wonder why I keep doing it… then someone drops me a message letting me know how much a blog post or book meant to them, and I know…

    Thank you, Rachelle, for the encouragement!

  21. I love your posts and this one is no exception. One can easily get addicted to your words because you speak honesty and through it you give us a sense of renewed vigor, the belief that it’s possible to make it to the final line with enough persistence and sound judgment. Reading your post is what i need sometimes to keep on going, to keep on trying.
    Thanks for your words!

  22. Donna Pyle says:

    Maybe I’m different, but encouragement often surprises me. It tends to show up unexpectedly and in the most unexpected ways. Just last night I received an email from a young lady who lives in another state whom I’ve never met who’s walking through my DVD Bible study series. It has sparked in her the passion to read through the entire Bible for the first time. Simply knowing the soul treasures that she’ll uncover delights me to no end. When I seek encouragement, I realize I’m trying to placate my own insecurities. When it shows up unexpectedly, I know it’s exactly what I need from a loving God who knows me from the inside out.

    • Camille Eide says:

      Good point about placating insecurities, Donna, and good girl for recognizing (& admitting) that. Funny how self-absorbed we can be when we think we’re not. Maybe this goes along with the idea of giving to others being more rewarding (blessed) than receiving. When we feel discouraged, do an ego check, then get out there and encourage someone else. Not with empty fluff, but honestly, sincerely. Amazing how uplifting that can be.

      Sorry if I’m wandering off the publishing topic, but as long as we’re inspecting our need to be encouraged… guess it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that we should look at why we feel the need. Is it ego?

      Know your goal and try not to let anyone else redefine it for you. Trust the Source of your goal (and talents). (I’m preaching to ME here. :-))

  23. Susan Bourgeois says:

    You have a near perfect way of summing things up.

    I am going to try to print out this post and tack it on my motivation bulletin board at home. Everything you said is true.

    I became aware of the difficulty of becoming published through a great deal of research.

    Yes, I was initially discouraged. I felt like there was little to say that was of a positive or encouraging nature.

    Is that a bad a thing? I don’t think so. It’s an important reality check. It’s what separates a daydreamer from a person who possesses enough dedication and passion to travel the path needed to reach success in this business.

    I’m thankful for the reality check and I realize it’s up to me to come up with what’s needed.

    I become encouraged when I hear of authors like Kathryn Stockett.

    I’m now going to go over and check out your post on “Do You Have Enough Thinking Time?”

    I think I need to not be writing so much on your wonderful blog. You write such great posts and I love to participate with comments.

    The reality is, I need to concentrate on completing my novel!

  24. One of the hardest things about writing and seeking publication is rejection. Everyone agrees. You work so hard–your blood, sweat, and tears are given for your work. You float it out there to your critical, carefully-chosen first-readers. They critique. You adjust and edit. The typical short article you edit about twenty times or more. The typical novel 20-50 times, depending. The Bible study material you go over and over; each word can have eternal implications.

    Writing a rough draft is a thrill, an emotional ride. You’re juiced by the inspiration coursing through you. Pumped! God is motivating; your brain is firing. Editing is another beast altogether. Anyone can write a rough draft. Many, many people do. But revising, that’s another creature. Not everyone has the guts and fortitude to do it. It’s all about character development and perseverance and being willing to learn and perfect your craft. God builds into your life; You lean on Him, the Master Storyteller, the Author of Scripture. It requires more tears, more begging God for help and clarity, hours and hours and hours of precious time.

    You finally get it the way you want it. You put it before the Lord: Is it done, Lord? It seems it is. Off it goes again. This time to editors and agents. Some are gracious enough to critique your work when they reject you. Some reject by silence. Some reject by form letter. Some accept your work. You’re thrilled. When they later reject, it’s devastating.

    You learn how to rely more entirely on the Lord. He is yours, and you are His. He never rejects.

    I crawl into bed and wrap my arms about Him: “Lord, I love You with all my heart and soul; I cling to You. Thank You that You are always near, that You always love me, that You showed me and every other being in heaven and on earth this truth by shedding Your blood for me. Thank you for Your gruesome death to pay for my sins. Your love is proven. Comfort my heart. Draw me ever nearer.”

    Whispering into my dreams, He tells me: “Your responsibility is to use the gifts I’ve given you. My responsibility is the outcome.”

    What happens is entirely up to Him. It’s as much about my growth in godliness and placing all my hope and trust in Him as it is about the audience who will receive my work, when He wants it received. My writing is a tool to be used in His hands, if He chooses. He is the Master. I am the slave. I fight the good fight, growing in godliness and character. I persevere.

  25. I find encouragement – in any difficulty-by going for a long meditative walk. Sometimes, my walks yield clarity. Occasionally , what seems like a direct word from God. But, mostly, my walks remind me of the simple act of continuing to put one foot in front of the other.

    The writing itself spurs me on.
    The doing anything with the writing (attempting to publish), beats me down. I must keep putting one foot in front of the other; taking one step at a time.

  26. Megan B. says:

    Like many people have said, I’ll keep writing no matter what. But I do need encouragement as I prepare to seek traditional publication for my novel. One thing that helps a lot is simply knowing how much work I’ve put in already. How much I’ve researched the process, how much I’ve read about querying, etc. I feel prepared, and I know that I will be a step ahead of the game when the time comes because of that preparation.

  27. Wow, Rachelle. Were you just reading my mind? Really needed this today. It’s why I love your blog. The mixture of encouragement with reminders of realities. The kind that picks the person up, slaps them on the back and says, “Now get back out there.”
    When I started writing seriously I was enamored by the process. How could something I enjoy so immensely ever be a means of employment? Then I “heard” that still, small, voice that said, “It won’t always be fun. It will be hard, painful work.” Really. I felt this in my soul. I am so grateful for that “voice” because IT is the reason I still write today. Because, though I still really enjoy it, it’s some of the hardest work I’ve ever taken on. I didn’t go in with blinders. So I’m more prepared for the inevitable setbacks.
    Thanks, Rachelle, for always keeping it in perspective.

  28. Jillian Kent says:

    Happy Monday!
    Great questions, Rachelle,

    How do you find encouragement in the midst of this difficult business?

    Although I’m recently published, just last year, it has been an incredibly difficult journey to publication. I decided I wanted to write in 1989 and I got published in 2011. There were many hurdles along the way, many, including a very serious illness of my oldest child. But I decided to educate myself during those years; I attended conferences, studied the craft, practiced, learned, persevered. I got good advice and some really bad advice.

    I think what helped me most was looking forward to writers conferences like RWA and ACFW. I entered contests for the feedback although I always wanted to win, I do have a competitive spirit, but I don’t think that’s bad if you keep it in perspective.

    Does the challenging nature of it tend to beat you down, or spur you on… or do you alternate between extremes?

    The challenging nature definitely spurs me on. But so do the wonderful people in the publishing world. I’ve been blessed with great mentors along the way and if you can find someone like that to encourage you then you just keep going. I’d challenge any writer to discover just how much of their potential is untapped. Oh, and that has nothing to do with that old myth that we only use 10% of our brain. 🙂

    If you enjoy writing, then write, and keep hope of publication alive. You can’t get published if you don’t have a product so I’d encourage you to write just as though you are expected to produce a book a year and a darn good one.

  29. Gary says:

    I am more of a speaker than a writer. Blogging is becoming a great way to communicate insights and truths (I thought). I found out that writing to communicate is vastly different. The preciseness of words to be humorous have to overshadow facial expressions. I now love writing but I’m dribbling the ball in the infield so far with an occasional good hit. I’ve quite a ways to go to hit a home run and be worth publishing. I will get there with a lot of help. Thanks for the encouragement.

  30. Sarah Thomas says:

    I stop and take a look at other “nearly impossible” things that have come to pass in my life. The job God led me to–my husband sitting beside me in church–the beautiful baby girl my brother adopted. Just think if I’d given up before those things came to fruition!

  31. Bob Mayer says:

    After over 20 years in publishing, having experienced most everything from midlist to low list to bestseller status, I truly believe it’s the greatest time ever to be an author because you control so much. That also means authors have much more responsibility than ever before.

    For others in the business: agents, publishers, bookstores, not so great a time. But writers produce the product, readers consume the product and the gap between the two is shorter and faster than ever before.

    • Rachelle says:

      Bob, you’re so right – it’s the greatest time ever to be a writer because we have so many ways to get our work to our audience. I’m thrilled about this.

      One thing I’ve become very aware of is that this new access doesn’t seem to serve everyone equally. Rather, it strongly favors authors who have an entrepreneurial spirit, an interest in being a small-business-person, and the time to not only write and promote but also administer that small business.

      Additionally, I wanted to point out that you’re correct this might not be the best time for agents & publishers, but that really only applies to those who are married to the “old ways.” However, many of us are diligently working behind the scenes to put new business models into place, and to help keep our authors aware of all their publishing options.

      I know many people like to characterize agents as “running scared,” terrified for their jobs, and hovering on the brink of irrelevancy. But the truth is, those of us who have been in the business of “words” for many years have skills and interests that will never become irrelevant. It’s exactly the same for agents as it is for everyone else: we’ll either adapt or die. (Metaphorically, of course!)

      Thanks for the comment!

  32. Thanks for the encouragement! Just what I needed at 32,000 words and not counting (non-fiction).

  33. I got to my journal and I read certain entries….they remind me why I’m doing this and they remind me that I’ve pushed through difficult things before. 🙂

  34. Jennifer M says:

    I also began writing through my online journal community. I asked them point blank if I what I was writing was worth their time, their attention (two different things) and their interest. I’ve had many positive responses from people in many different walks of life. From an agnostic to a Jewish Bubbe, they all said to keep going!If what I write entertains, educates and uplifts my pie-chart of readers, then I think I have a chance. And as many here have said, I write because I love it! One of my technical advisors even liked what he was reading, and all I wanted from him was how to torch a mansion, so I was thrilled he got into the story too! (And in case you’re curious, kerosene is not an effective accelerant, add some oil and paper. This from a Hazmat expert)Several other advisors said the same thing. So I take my encouragement where and when it comes. To have people who do not know me ask me to keep writing is a real kick. I encourage everyone here to get a few opinions from people who have no emotional or professional connection to your writing. There is much to learn when you take your baby for a walk outside the box.

  35. When I get discouraged, I look up. I ask God for guidance and try to make sure I am on the right track. Prayer, Bible study, surrounding myself with positive people and staying informed with sources like this blog also help.

  36. TC Avey says:

    Being discouraged takes too much time and energy and I don’t have any extra to spare. I’m not saying I don’t get down occasionally, just that I don’t allow myself to wallow in it. If I need a day off, I take A DAY OFF, not more.
    Overall, I just remember that my steps are directed by God. He won’t lead me wrong. I may not understand, but I don’t have to. I only have to trust in the one who holds my best interest at heart.

  37. Timothy Fish says:

    While saying “It’s not that hard, you can do it!” falls short, encouragement must inspires someone to believe they can do it. This makes it hard when we’re talking about an industry in which it is impossible for more than a few to achieve great success. Nevertheless, encouragement and respect go hand in hand. How hard it is doesn’t matter. To encourage someone, you must have enough respect for that person’s abilities to believe they can overcome the challenges they face.

    Look at the way Jesus encouraged his disciples. He never said it would be easy. In fact, he told them that they would be hated and people would kill them. But in Acts 1:8 he says, “…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” In the face of certain death, Christians have been doing that for hundreds of years, because Jesus assured them of success.

    There is no promise from Jesus that any of us will have success as writers, but respect drives us forward. Often, just to have a friend ask about our writing is enough to encourage us to keep going. Knowing that someone values our writing is enough to encourage us to keep going.

  38. Jamie says:

    My biggest discouragement comes not from the publishing industry–as I am still dabbling in the inkwells and have yet to dip my quill fully–but from being a stay-at-home-mom to a very active 2-year-old boy. He keeps me busy. As do the household chores that demand attention every day. I struggle with finding the time to write. I try to carve it out in the morning before my boy wakes, and then throughout the day when he’s playing quietly, but I feel guilty about it.

    What keeps me going is the thought of going back to work once he starts school. I don’t want to do that, so if I can make enough money with my writing to help out a bit, great. If I can make more, awesome!

  39. I appreciate truth. It’s not always pretty, but it’s led me here and I have learned just how much I’m in this.

    When I think of encouragement, I think of a verse in the Bible (The Message) where Jesus says to his disciples, “Take courage.” I love how that’s worded. It speaks volumes to me about walking in encouragement.

    Challenges motivate me. And as far as finding encouragement goes, I heed the words of Jesus and I take it because he gives it (again & again & again).
    ~ Wendy

  40. CG Blake says:

    Writers need all the encouragement they can get. I get it from other writers. Nobody should go it alone in this business. We are a community and new writers especially need to engage with that community. Every novel is a team effort, not a solo project. I just self-published my first novel and there was a whole team of people behind me. Thanks for another thought-provoking post.

  41. I posted this response on another writing blog, but before I cut and paste, I want to remind your readers that if they’re writing for God, finding an excellent agent is only the first hurdle. Rachelle knows that; that’s why she’s trying to encourage you! So here’s what I wrote (abridged):

    There are always going to be people who are mistaken about us. I make mistakes, too, but the worst mistake I can make is to believe destructive criticism. Here’s the point–God knows me better than that. My reaction should be to read my Bible and pray. I need to focus on who God says I am, what He says I can do. If I don’t, I fall back into believing Satan’s lies, horrible lies like, “You’re not good enough; you will never be able to do it; your writing stinks.”

    You have to want it more than anything else in the world. Don’t depend on your friends or your family or anyone else to make you feel good about your writing, because they probably won’t understand what you need to hear. The desire to write has to come from inside yourself and you must keep that desire alive. No one else can. What keeps my writing desire alive (in the battle with Goliath) is my faith.

  42. Scott says:

    Thanks Rachelle for encouraging all of us writers. As a writer that writes everyday about encouragement and hope, at times I need a dose of my own medicine. I really appreciate what you are doing. Keep up the awesome work you are doing and thanks again very much.
    Scott Wimberly
    Tuscaloosa, AL

  43. Jessica Kent says:

    After writing for ten years and having no paid publications to my name, it can be very hard. I think the worst is being told you’re very good by those around you – family, friends, professors, etc. – but it’s just not translating with the professionals.
    Still, I write because I can’t not write. Just like you can’t just stop breathing. Somehow I’ve had the grace to keep going, keep going…

    • Anonymous says:

      Having professors in a MFA program tell me my work is not only publishable but will win awards, and then getting silent rejections from editors for an agented manuscript is what makes me crazy. However, I’ve decided to self-publish my long out-of-print novel as an e-book, and if that goes well, I’ll probably go that route with some of my newer work even though it means forgoing the awards my professors think I should win.

  44. carol brill says:

    When I get encouraged I read. Story and characters recharge my batteries and remind me that success happens.
    Writing is definitely about progress not perfection. Recognizing that I learn something and become a better writer with every rewrite keeps me going, and growing 🙂

  45. KBR says:

    Perhaps mine is an odd way of self-encouragment, but whenever I hit a low, when I think publishing has gotten to difficult to break into, I imagine a future of having given up and what that would feel like? Whew! Wakes me up every time. Then I put some music on (love those old French caberet singers), dance around a bit and ‘feel’ my writing. It’s energizing, it’s in my blood and I will keep on keeping on.

  46. Self publishing “Angel Blood” and “From Chicago with Hope” gave me encouragement. Through these, I was able to get feedback from people who were not related to me and had no reason to take a moment to tell me their thoughts on the books. One woman read “From Chicago with Hope” right before her mother died. The words of the book kept coming to her as she grieved her loss. Although sad for her, I was encouraged that my book made a difference.
    Angel Blood, on the other hand, is a fantasy/family saga that I thought would not appeal to women readers. It has an open ending by leaving some characters in the field for a sequel. Several women readers keep asking me when the sequel is coming out because they want to know what happens next.

    While giving me no hope for publishing these books in this market, the responses encourage me to keep writing. Something in my words is connecting with people and that is all the encouragement I need. 🙂

  47. Kae West says:

    My online readers give me encouragement. There ARE people that like what I do. And after all, this is what really matters.

    On the other hand, writing is sort of like breathing for me. If you stop it, you stop everything.

    (Sorry for my English, it isn’t my mother tounge.)

  48. EnnisP says:

    If a person has something to say they will write and that alone brings a certain degree of encouragement.

    Publishing, however, is not writing. It involves many things that have nothing to do with how cleverly one might express their ideas in print. Writing and publishing are two different arts completely so the discouragement – which no person likes to admit to – comes between the two.

    I might feel a bit held off by the publishing exercise but it’s only a matter of time.

  49. Camille Eide says:

    How do you find encouragement in the midst of this difficult business?

    I am dipping my toes in this business so far, wading along the edges, watching and listening, but so far not directly affected by the “difficulty.” Unless I consider it difficult that I began writing my first novel for publication 5 years ago and I have not yet published a full length, print novel. I live in blissful ignorance of “easier” times in publishing, I suppose. Since many facets of this business are still uncharted territory for me, I have only what I’ve experienced of the biz to assess. And so far, my experience has introduced the need for LOTS of patience and hard work. I’ve also experienced a steadily growing trickle of positive feedback on my work. I guess that’s the only encouragement needed to keep me writing: knowing what I write makes a difference to someone. (Yes, I’m a cheap date, too. 🙂 )

    Does the challenging nature of it tend to beat you down, or spur you on… or do you alternate between extremes?

    Yeah, things sound bleak for the unpublished author and don’t seem to be getting better. But I’m a big picture gal. The nature of the biz is only challenging if we keep pitbull-clamped jaws on tradition/strategy and forget to stay focused on the core goal. Communicating. Connecting. And with the way things are changing, limits on those are falling off more every day. So I’m neither beaten or spurred, but giving my all in faith that God is a big-picture God.

    • Rachelle says:

      Camille, you make great points! I especially agree that it helps that you never got used to the “good old days” of publishing – especially since they never existed. 🙂

      I also love that you look at the big picture. So do I!

  50. Malin says:

    That it’s going to be hard work has never discouraged me, but it feels that it’s something else that plays in, something beyond what one can learn. And I don’t think I have it; that thing that makes others want to read you.

    Sometimes it feels as if something is trying to beat into my head that this is the wrong path for me, and that I’m an idiot for not listening to it.

    • TC Avey says:

      Hang in there Malin. Life’s too short to give up on things… if it’s something you really want. You may just need to redefine what your goal of success is. For me, while I aspire to be a published author I am not willing to compromise and rush into self publishing. I am not saying that self publishing is a bad, only that at this time it is not for me. Likewise, I have come to realize it is okay if I don’t ever have a “Best Seller”- though I’m still working towards that. Regardless, I am happy. I hope you find that balance in pursuing your goals.

      • Malin says:

        I have a modest goal – I want more than a handful of people to read my stories. I want them to WANT to read my stories. Self publishing is not an option because as long as traditional publishing and beta readers reject my writing, the stories aren’t good enough.

        Just throwing this thought out there because I’m curious about what people think – What is the difference between “giving up” and “realising your own limitations”? If I accept I’m not built to be an elite marathon runner then I’m wise, but saying I might not be a good writer points me out as pathetic? (not your words but others’) Is it because people see writing simply as an acquired skill that doesn’t demand a necessary composition or talent? For me, writing is an art so you need to be born with a level of talent to be good.

        Kind words such as I find in this blog and in the mere act of replying to my comment fuel my hope. So I’ll grit my teeth for a little longer, I promise.

        • I know what you mean about wondering whether the writing is worth trying to get it out there. A writing friend of mine said he writes because he writes–always has and always will. He claims not to care whether he’s read. I do care. Do you? Either way, some of us write because we simply can’t NOT write–to find out things, to discover what we know and don’t know, to entertain, to enlighten, and in my case, to get the therapeutic value for myself that I’d like to think I could pass on. Let’s keep going.

          • Malin says:

            Joan, the answer to your questions is that I’m writing for others to read it. I tell stories for my own amusement but I don’t need to write them down for myself – I think them out in my head when I’m walking, or trying to fall asleep, or travelling.

            Thanks everyone!

        • TC Avey says:

          I say, “Forget what people say”. Everyone has an opinion. Don’t let others determine your goals and how hard you are willing to work to reach them. While some critique is useful, not all of it is. Take what is beneficial and the rest throw out.

          Above all, look at yourself and your writing through the eyes of God. Does your writing bring him glory? Are your stories what he desires people to hear? If so, keep going and know that Satan never likes for us to follow Christ.

          Build upon your relationship with God, know his voice like you know your best friends, that way you can distinguish when it is God telling you to move on and when it is Satan trying to deceive you. Having this type of relationship takes daily commitment.

          Finally, there are obviously some people more talented than others, but that doesn’t mean hard work won’t pay off. That being said, I have also met some people who I would encourage to not quit their day job. I know I have a LONG way to go. I write daily, but this is not how I earn my living- though I hope one day to earn something from it.

          I hope some of this helps. Trust God to lead you Malin. I will pray his peace guides you.

    • Malin, I like what you wrote, and I can tell that you write from the heart. I hear the same destructive voice that you do, even after two books. Choose not to listen. Persevere.

    • Megan B. says:


      It may be the subject matter, not the actual writing, that has led to rejections for you. If you like the stuff you’re writing, there is someone out there who will also like it. Maybe you just have to find the right audience. Find the right editor at the right publication.

      And if your writing needs work, well that’s just a matter of practice and perseverance. If you love writing, keep at it. I believe that everyone who cares about writing enough to keep going will eventually find some type of success or satisfaction. The only difference between a bad writer and a good writer is time and work.

  51. I keep in mind my favorite quote, a little something Winston Churchill once said: “Never quit!”

    And I won’t!

  52. Sra says:

    I find mine exactly how you said.

    I’m naturally inclined to find the easiest route to everything. And that included college majors, and life decisions. I was trying to get through life without having to work at anything.

    That was, until the writing thing happened. And my first rejection letter came. And then, very suddenly, I realized that I would do just about anything to make this dream happen, and I didn’t even mind that it was hard work.

  53. I write because I love people. They fascinate me. People are one of my encouragements – I write to understand them, I write to show them as they are, I write to record and imagine them. My love for writing has it’s roots in my love for people and their stories, and so as long as people continue to fascinate me, I’ll continue writing.

  54. Much appreciated. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  55. I remember my first really honest critique. She asked if I wanted the whole truth. My reply, “If it’s a matter of hard work. If I can learn it, then lay it on me girl! If not, and I just don’t have the talent and should quit, break it to me softly because I love to write.”

    I’m still learning!

    Thanks for being honest. I always feel encouraged here.

    • I love your attitude and your response to the critic. Yes, I love to write and will continue to write no matter what. Unfortunately, I am also an affirmation addict, needy of positive encouragement; and those dang semi-colons and commas keep tripping me up on my way to applause.

      • Ah, yes. Hubby and I have discussed that too because verbal affirmation is a biggie for him. I’m not wired that way. I find so much satisfaction in the doing and not as much in the sharing. That’s were God is challenging me. To be a light! Not satisfied with solitude. I understand your struggle thought because of my husband. God uses so many people in different ways.

  56. Honestly, Ms. Gardner, I write because I love writing. The encouragement comes from the habit of doing something familiar each and every day. It’s heart-warming. If the publishing business were to fade away altogether, I would still write.



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