Oh, yes. You're nodding. You might even be curling your fingers into fists or grinding your teeth or yelling, "Yes! That's my life, right there!" at your monitor.
If anyone gets this, it's me. If anyone commiserates with you, it's me.
I've been to that dark place so often over the years, and it's not pretty. It can be awfully soul-sucking to work hard (really hard) for a long time (really long) and still not achieve your ultimate goal.
I get that. I hear you.
And this is what I have for you:
It applies to life in general, not just our writing journey. I'm pretty sure I can hear your amens echoing through the electronic corridors. How easy is it to look at an empty wallet, an empty garage, an empty savings account. How quick we are to focus on the vacation we can't afford, the dream job we didn't land, the relationship that didn't work out, the recognition we didn't receive, the party we weren't invited to, the college we weren't accepted at, the injury that kept us from playing in the tournament.
Sometimes human nature veers toward the negative. And it's especially prone to do so when we are bombarded with rejection and deferred hope.
You know what I'm going to say next, though -- it's in our hands to change our thinking. If we stay in a negative place, it will ultimately affect our creativity, and where will that leave us? Empty, for sure. Because we're CREATORS, each of us. Our worlds, our characters, our stories, all birthed from the foamy depths of our minds, which have been blessed with the ability and the desire to IMAGINE and then WRITE what we see there.
So instead of sulking in a corner or pouring a second glass of wine or declaring to the world (or at least to ourselves) that we're going to quit, we need to LOOK AT ALL THE GOOD THINGS instead. What we have, what we've accomplished, how far we've come.
Here's my list:
- I have an amazing agent, and I'm not saying this lightly. Danielle is an absolute godsend, and her belief in me and in my work astounds me--and keeps me going. I'm thankful for her every single day.
- I've got a short story published in an anthology.
- My writing has grown, and continues to grow. When I stop to think about it, it's incredible to see where I started, how I journeyed, and where I am now.
- Awesome people have read my work over the years, and I'm so thankful for each of them. A writer without beta readers and critique partners is a writer in a vacuum, and I love not living in a vacuum.
- I get to WRITE STORIES. It's an incredible privilege, and it brings so much LIFE to my life.
- I've got an incredibly high level of artistic excitement over both the novel that's currently on submission and the one I'm revising right now. DOUBLE EXCITEMENT, just because I love and believe in each one of them so strongly, regardless of what is or isn't going on in the journey toward publication.
- I've got a husband who believes in me.
- I've got Other Things in my life that bring me joy, like singing with a symphony chorus and taking ballet classes and reading incredible novels.
- I'm part of an online writing community that continues to blow my mind with its kindness and warmth and solidarity and strength. AND YOU ARE PART OF THAT.
There you have it. If you're floundering today, make a list of your own. Don't sit in the dark and wonder why you can't see -- come into the sunshine and rejoice in what you HAVE. And I will rejoice along with you.