Have you ever started a project with gusto and then while in the middle of it realize that you may have made a terrible mistake?
It could be a book, an organizational task, a move, or a garage sale. But you and I have both had that sinking feeling of “Oh no. What have I done!”
My blogs, books, and several of my moves over the last ten years have felt this way. I stand there, wondering what the next step is, and consider eating seven slices of pizza as the answer to feeling overwhelmed. It’ll never get done anyway.
I wrote a while back about the U shaped journey of the creative referenced in Todd Henry’s book Louder Than Words. The visionary starts their journey with joy. They can see the other side and it should be a quick hike down into the valley and up the other side. Once the sun is out of view, however, the forest grows tall and dark, and the traveler hears a wolf howl. So they stumble forward with suborn single-mindedness and soon enough, find ourselves out the other side.
Life is not this easy. But the truth is that anything worth doing is bound to get really difficult. I am not sure who said writing books and having four kids was easy but they were lying. Sure I love my novels and non-fiction stories and love my kids even more than that but I’d like to commiserate with you and say we’ve all been there, feeling like everything we do is terrible.
That ___ is a mistake.
That ___ will amount to nothing.
It wasn’t always this hard or energy sapping but it feels like it will forever be so going forward.
Friend, great writers weren’t magically endowed with the writing gift when they were born. Sure some might have a leg up, but I know many writers that are incredibly talented that struggle with doubt in the middle of every project.
I have heard it said that when you get to the place of being really uncomfortable or feeling like you are lost then you have crossed the border between imitation and originality in art.
If you feel like giving up, I implore you to move forward. There are so many books and blogs that have encouraged and inspired me on my journey. I know that it may seem impossible to continue onward but I hope you do. Remember the joy that came at the beginning and write from there.
It will take time but keep writing. That is the one and only way to know if your work will be worth it in the end.
Do you feel like giving up?
How can I encourage you today?