Let’s face it, this is a tough game. Sometimes it can be downright discouraging. We all know failure is an important part of the process. We know we can’t fully succeed until we’ve experienced sufficient failure to make us into the writers we need to be. But it can sometimes be exceptionally discouraging.
So here are some ideas for dealing with discouragement:
Don’t make decisions while you’re feeling down. It’s just a bad time to do it. If there’s something you’re considering (such as giving up on the industry to go indie, or divorcing your agent), don’t decide it while you’re down. Take a deep breath, write yourself a note to consider the question later, and then make your decision when you’re in a good mood. If it feels right when you’re happy (and yes, you will be soon), then it’s probably a good decision.
Give yourself a break. Don’t start a writing fast, just give yourself the day off. If you feel better tomorrow, great. If things are bad enough that you’re considering taking 6 months off writing, don’t bind yourself to it. You may feel like writing again next week, and if you’ve bound yourself to 6 months, you may miss a great story or opportunity. Just tell yourself you’re taking an indefinite break, but that if you haven’t started feeling like it in three weeks, you’ll force yourself to start writing again. By then, you’ll probably catch the bug again once you start.
When you talk to people, be positive. You can talk about your struggles if you need to, but be optimistic. Sometimes hearing yourself say things convinces you’re mind that they’re true. And sometimes that convincing is all it takes to pull you out of the dumps.
Regularly remind yourself of your motives. In the midst of all the writing related stuff that’s not writing, it’s easy to forget the main reason you write. And though that reason will be different for every person, your reason is good enough to carry you a long way, even through discouragement.
Stay close to people. You have lots of teams cheering you on. Family, friends, fellow authors, are all cheering for you. Let yourself lean on them sometimes. Because, as I said, this is a tough game. Soon, you’ll be the one offering a shoulder. In fact, one of the best ways to boost your own feelings is to lift someone else’s. Surround yourself with people you care about. Throw a party if it helps. Just invite those who are encouraging of your efforts, though. this is probably a good time to avoid conversations with detractors.
Cheer for the Little Successes. This can be hard when your big goals seem to be plummeting. The little thank you emails from readers, the small purchases, the kind comments on social networks, they’re all worth something. Give them the appreciation they deserve. Respond in genuine gratitude to those little successes, and it will feed the opportunities for more and bigger successes.