When You Feel Like Giving Up

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!”

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Photo Credit: TheNoxid via Compfight cc

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?

 

My Writing Update

Its been a rewarding and exhausting week in writing, work, and my home life. But that does not mean it hasn’t been great, because it has. I hope you had a chance this week to get tired by going after what you love.

Below is a summary of my writing activities this past week and a glimpse of what’s coming up.

Photo Credit: Vanessa Lynn. via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Vanessa Lynn. via Compfight cc

Blog Recap

10 Ways To Get Your Blog Back On Track

We all have times when we struggle in the middle of our blog. I’ve posted 10 tips to help you dig in and get back in the groove. Click Here To Read It.

How To Eradicate The Fear Of Failure Once And For All

Fear can follow us around like a shadow. We want to make a career jump, write that book, or try our hand at painting but we don’t because secretly deep down we are afraid of what others might think or what’s on the other side of our currently comfortable lifestyle.  Here I talked about taking consistent steps toward what we want. Click Here To Read It.

If You Don’t Succeed Is The Journey Worth It? Lessons From A Failed Novel

For the past decade I wrote multiple drafts of one story. It was terrible but better in the end. I’ve put it on the shelf for now. As I reflect back I wonder if all of the struggle and thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of words were a waste. Click Here To Read It.

On Removing Impulse And Instilling Good Habits

Life can be easily lived like floating in a lazy river. But if want to be brave and grab the life we want it means swimming against the current. Here I talk about how I tipped the scales at 200lbs for the first time in my life and what I am going to about it. Click Here To Read It.

Don’t Be A Cover Band

Many artists want to repeat the same success as the greats. In this blog I discuss how we need to blaze our own trail if we want to find our unique voice. Click Here To Read It.

How To Always Have Something To Write About

As a blogger or writer or anyone trying to fit their dream into their day stuffed with obligation, you can feel a bit like Sisyphus rolling his bolder up a hill over and over again. It can seem pointless and dull or overwhelming, trying to come up with something write about every day. Click Here To Read It.

My Current Project

I’m working on a middle grade book (4-8th grade target audience) and am nearly a quarter of the way through. I said last week I hope to get 10,000 written. Looking back, that was such an unrealistic goal! I probably wrote 1,000. My hope this week is to at least triple that. This should be realistic as I look at my schedule this week.

Speaking

Next month I’ll be speaking at the Jot Conference on Blogging. I’m excited to be a part of this conference again.

Plan to live this week. Life won’t just happen to you. Go and get it.

If You Don’t Succeed Is The Journey Worth It? Lessons From A Failed Novel

Over ten years ago I had a grand vision for a book series. I still do. I wrote the first book over and over again until I had about seven drafts. After much toil I decided to lay the book to rest. It was hard but it was time to move on.

Have you ever experienced this? Great expectations followed by severe disappointment?

I ask this not just to writers or artists but to anyone in any walk of life.

Often we have a grand vision for how something should go, but all we end up with is a horrible mess.

This prompts a question that can only come from retrospect.

Was the journey worth it?

Photo Credit: jimcrotty.com via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: jimcrotty.com via Compfight cc

Leaving with high hopes and coming up with nothing may seem like failure. Perhaps it is the Top Five Strength of Positivity shining through right now, but I firmly believe it doesn’t have to be this way. We can have fresh restarts and life giving lessons from these experiences.

Take my novel for instance. I worked for over a decade on it and poured hundreds of thousands of words and thousands of hours all for a novel that ends terribly.

But I learned that finishing well is important. That a book cannot end openly, even for a series. I had outstanding critiques and input from friends that shaped it in a beautiful way and learned about the joy of community that every writer needs.

Most of all, failure made me a better writer.

Now, I have a new project. One that has a solid ending, good characters, and a focused POV from the start.

And I wouldn’t have any of this if I didn’t go on the previous novel writing journey.

So I’ll let you decide. Was it worth it?