There have been plenty of occasions I have felt like giving up and quit writing. In fact, only the last couple of weeks were excruciatingly busy. Things became especially bad after I announced my two upcoming historical fiction novels, part five and six of THE COUNTRY GIRL EMPRESS series. I couldn’t help but wonder if the insanity was worth it!? Like many others, our family has a LOT going on, particularly during this time of the year.
At one point while I was running myself ragged with editing while feeling ill, I couldn't stop myself from burying my face in my hands and groaning "Am I trying to do too much? Is it really worth it?" I sobbed and complained for a few minutes. Then I shook off the doom and gloom, and promptly went back to work. Once in a while, it feels good to have a pity-party, even if it’s only for a moment or two. But this latest experience forced me to take stock of what I'm doing and why.
When I feel like giving up, it often helps to remind myself of the following:
The truth is...
This won’t be the last time my emotions rise and take control, nor will it be the last time I feel like giving up for any number of reasons. In this instance, it was because I was overwhelmed with juggling writing, life, and obligations. But I have also felt like giving up once or twice because I was discouraged that the process is taking so long and is much harder than I thought it would be. It also doesn’t help when I get too much negative feedback or not enough positive. There are plenty of reasons why I might feel like giving up, but whatever the situation, it's all too easy to allow those feelings of discouragement to take over.
When I hit those low points, I have to remind myself of the reason why I write. I am a story-teller, and I love to write! It is part of me, and nearly as important as the air in my lungs.
Don’t make life-altering decisions when feeling discouraged!
When I was a child, my grandmother always told me that I shouldn’t make big decisions or resolve a problem right before I go to bed. Why? Because usually by that point in the day I am way too tired and emotional to see things clearly. It is best to get a good night's sleep, in order to gain some perspective. Of course falling asleep when you feel this way is a whole other matter!
The same concept applies to my writing. When I am faced with burnout or overwhelmed, I really shouldn't make the decision to throw in the towel, no matter how tempted I might feel. Instead, I wait until I've had a chance to take a break, and gain a new perspective. Sometimes this process passes by in no time flat; sometimes it takes a little longer.
Take the time to re-evaluate goals.
There are plenty of occasions when I require more than just a good night's sleep. When the pressure of everyday life and responsibilities wear me down it is usually time to re-evaluate my goals and perhaps make some adjustments to the way I do things.
I don’t believe I will ever give up writing altogether. But there are times when I will seriously question whether I really am ready for the demands of being a published author. I'll even consider taking a hiatus from writing in order to take the pressure of publication off myself and just write for the joy of it. Taking an extended break from writing can be very revitalizing…which brings me to my last point:
One thing that keeps me going during discouraging times is nourishing my imagination. I like to feed it in countless ways, but mostly by reading. I'm not sure how or why, but reading the stories of others, keeps my love for story-telling alive and thriving. I try books by new authors, read a broad spectrum of genres, and through it all, allow myself to revel in those stories. This sort of rejuvenation helps me to go back to my own writing with fresh energy and passion.
Do you ever feel like giving up writing? How do you keep yourself going?