Dealing With Discouragement

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.

About Chas Hathaway

Chas is an author, musician, husband, dad, and X-grave digger. He's always enjoyed writing. He started keeping a daily journal when he was 13, and that started a pattern of regular writing that has continued to this day.

His first book, Giraffe Tracks, a memoir of his missionary experiences in South Africa, was published in 2010, and in July 2011, Cedar Fort published his book, Marriage is Ordained of God, but WHO Came Up with DATING?!

Chas has been playing piano since 1994, and actively writing New Age piano compositions since 1996. He has long felt that the greatest factor in the influence of a piece of music is the intent of its author. He has also written numerous LDS Hymn arrangements, many of which are available in sheet music, including the favorite hymns, If You Could Hie to Kolob and Come Thou Fount.

So far, Chas has 4 albums out:

Tune My Heart, Released 2012
Anthem of Hope, 2010
The Ancestor, 2009
Dayspring, 2007

While music and writing are his most time-consuming work, he also enjoys gardening, inventing games, and most of all, spending time with his beautiful wife and adorable little kids.