Sometimes we all need encouragement to keep writing. I have several things I do when I’m discouraged.
One, since I’m a quote junkie, is read or collect encouraging quotes. Here are some that either encouraged me or were reminders to press on:
“The mere habit of writing, of constantly keeping at it, of never giving up, ultimately teaches you how to write.” – Gabriel Fielding
“It’s easy to think that you haven’t made any progress when you forget where you were when you started out. Be kind to yourself, you’ve come a long way and overcome a lot.” – Patricia Caldwell
“A book might not sell, but that doesn’t mean the writer wasted time on it, not as long as the writer is learning and growing.” – Laurel Gale
“Rejected pieces aren't failure; unwritten pieces are.” – Greg Daugherty
“The voice of the inner critic can shut the whole process down. I tell it to take a number.” – Barbara Taylor Brown
“Have faith in your art, even when others don't.” – Sean Qualls
“The best way to nurture your love of words and language is to be around words and language.” – Mary Kole
This last quote is a good segue into number two. Catch up on reading. This comes in two parts.
Today I’m reading some writing newsletters I’ve not gotten around to. I’m reassured by things I already know. I’m inspired or challenged by others. I learn something new. And I share some of these posts or articles with my tribe.
Part two is reading in and outside my genre(s). That’s always a good reminder of what I want to do. Plus, it gets me into the rhythm of those types of stories or makes me look at something in a new way. Read what Nicholas Sparks has to say on this topic, “By reading a lot of novels in a variety of genres, and asking questions, it's possible to learn how things are done - the mechanics of writing, so to speak - and which genres and authors excel in various areas.” Yes, I learn by what others do and don’t do.
Three, spend time with your writing tribe.
It can be done online or in person. Online is a nice quick fix. I use Facebook groups, writing list serves, and Twitter.
Face to face takes more time, but in the end is more rewarding for me. I have a critique group and just knowing a meeting is coming up makes me want to have something ready for them to hear and comment on. But even if I don’t, I get encouragement from them.
Four, attend writing events.
These can be book signings, talks, workshops, conferences, intensives, retreats, writing times. I almost always get something out of them. Sometimes I get a whole lot. And, I'm with my tribe. But most importantly, they inspire me to write.
So, what helps you have the courage to get back to writing? Feel free to comment below.
I love quotes. I especially love writing quotes. I often retweet them on twitter as a way to find them later. Sometimes I just search by hashtags, such as #writingquote, #justwrite, or #writinginspiration. Here are thirteen I gathered off of twitter today that I hope will encourage you.
"The...thing you have to do to be a writer is to keep on writing." -Robin Hobb
“Read, write & stay informed. The only thing you can control is how hard you’re willing to work at becoming a better writer.” -Claire Kells
"You never know what you will learn 'til you start writing. Then you discover truths you never knew existed." -Anita Brookner
"Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm." -Earl Nightingale
"Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the tap is turned on." -Louis L’Amour
"Sometimes writing is just rubbing words together long enough to make a fire." -Gillian Marchenko
“You don’t make art out of good intentions.” -Gustave Flaubert
“Play around. Dive into absurdity and write. Take chances. You'll succeed if you are fearless of failure.” -Natalie Goldberg
"Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them." -John Ruskin
“If you can quit, then quit. If you can't quit, you're a writer.” -R.A. Salvatore
"My job as a writer is to seduce you. There are a lot of other things you could be reading or doing." -Dara Horn
“If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn’t expecting it." -H.G. Wells
"A word after a word after a word is power." -Margaret Atwood
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.