We've all been there. Those late nights where doubts about our writing creep in like unwanted ghosts, where those rejection letters from publishers make us question what the heck we're doing, the guilt that comes with taking the time to write when there are so many other things that need taking care of, and the loneliness that happens when we spend so much time by ourselves versus with the ones we love. The dark side of writing may not be pretty, and it certainly feels discouraging when we're at our lowest.
If you're struggling with any of these, know you're not alone. The dark side of writing is something all writers feel and experience. Here are 7 tips to help uplift your spirit and keep you from quitting.
Flip through our slideshow below to see the common problems writers face on the daily.
Rejection: The unfortunate practice of publishers not accepting your manuscript. Worse yet, sometimes they tend to point out your flaws.
Jealousy: The moment you see another writer gain an opportunity you wanted and your head explodes.
Loneliness: The art of writing for days and looking up to realize there's no one around to bring you food.
Guilt: That 2am thought that creeps into your mind saying how you're not doing enough and you're wasting time when you should be taking care of your family or doing chores you've neglected.
Distracted: Ooh look a piece of candy! Those devious little thoughts that keep you entertained but simultaneously keep words off the page.
Doubt: That nasty voice that tells you aren't good enough, you'll never be published, your book sucks, you catch my drift.
Overwhelmed: When you don't know the meaning of life anymore and it scares you.
Tips For Defeating The Dark Side
1. In this business, rejection is inevitable. Expecting it to occur and accepting that it is a natural part of the writing process can help you cope. While its never fun to receive criticism or letters that tell you your work didn't make it, keep in mind that it's a perspectives game. Instead of feeling bad, cherish this part of the process. Keep the letters as testimony of your courage and know that its only getting you closer to your goal. If this doesn't work, take a deep breath and re-evaluate your approach.
Resources: Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jiang, Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution by Brene Brown, The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday
2. There's a reason jealousy is a sin. If you find yourself falling into this emotional trap, get off social media. In today's digital world everyone else's successes are at the forefront of our phone screens and thus its easy to feel inferior in comparison, especially if we're struggling or not doing well. Keep yourself from playing the comparison game by creating a list of what you've accomplished this year. Need inspiration? Try creating an inspiration board and hanging it above your writing space. This way you feel motivated but have nothing to compare yourself to. Get started with this vision board and supplies: Wall Pops Tambour Printed Cork Board, Inspirational & Motivational Mini Color Note Cards, Yalis 24 Pcs Decorative Thumbtacks Colorful Floret and Bees Pushpins
3. Writing is a solitary sport. I know you've heard this a thousand times before, but it's true. While we're busy clacking away on the keyboard, life moves on around us and sometimes we don't notice we're not taking part in it. Loneliness can set in when reality comes back into focus. We've lost touch with friends, aren't spending enough time with family, and are feeling blue. Taking time to rejoin the world whether it be enjoying a movie night with your partner or engaging with your writer friends online will fix that. Most importantly, make sure you're taking care of yourself by eating right, exercising, and taking time to relax. Here are some of our relaxation favorites: Apple Hill Candle Co. Natural Soy Candle - The Library, Anmaseven Book Ultra Soft Flannel Blanket, Enesco Our Name is Mud Poe Me Some History Coffee Mug
4. To say its hard to juggle life and writing is an understatement. Writing is all-consuming and unfortunately so are the demands of work, children, and household chores. Feeling guilty every time you sit down to write is common, especially if you're a writer with small children. You may be feeling like the time you spend at the computer would be better spent with your family. It sounds like prioritization may benefit you. Take the pressure off yourself and acknowledge that it's okay for you to pursue your passion. It's not selfish and the world won't go to pieces because of it. You may not be the perfect writer (or perfect parent) but you can sufficiently do both. Remind yourself it's okay with the following: Motivational & Inspirational Perpetual Daily Flip Calendar with Self-Standing Easel, Dear Writer, You Need to Quit (QuitBooks for Writers Book 1), Quote Mouse Pad Life is Tough But So are You Floral Inspirational Quotes
5. One of the hardest parts of writing is not getting distracted. With phones, internet access, and television just an arms-length away it's all too easy to binge the latest episode of The Great British Baking Show instead of meeting our word count. To help you stay on track create a writing routine, set goals with incentives for meeting them, and clear a designated space for writing where you won't be tempted to do other things instead. We love these organizational tools to help us keep focused: Hardcover 2021 Planner: (Elegant Floral), To Do List Daily Task Checklist (Floral), PILOT G2 Premium Refillable & Retractable Rolling Ball Gel Pens, Fine Point, Assorted Color Inks, 8-Pack Pouch
6. Doubt can be a book-killer. The best way to pull yourself out of this slump is to build up your self-esteem as a writer. Take the plunge and put yourself and your work out into the world. Join a writing support group on Facebook, submit a poem to a literary magazine, and be mindful to not play the comparison game. Once you start receiving positive feedback and have overcome your stage fright, you'll find your doubts will take a backseat to growth. Try these self-help books and confidence boosters: The Self Confidence Workbook: A Guide to Overcoming Self-Doubt and Improving Self-Esteem, Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts
7. Overwhelmed? Sometimes the sheer scale of our books and writing projects can make us feel like we're drowning in ink and paper. Usually when this happens its because we haven't spent enough time planning. Take a break and do something you enjoy that doesn't revolve around writing (like yoga or painting), do some self-care (such as journaling), and then when you're less frustrated and anxious come back and try to make sense of things again. Focus on the baby steps and try not to look at the big picture all at once. Check out these calming items: Tree of Life Journal (Vegan Leather Notebook) Hardcover, The Healthy Coping Colouring Book and Journal: Creative Activities to Help Manage Stress, Anxiety and Other Big Feelings
Every writer suffers from the dark side of writing. It wouldn't be a true writing experience without some drama and challenges to overcome. But knowing how to overcome what we face is crucial to literary successful. With these 7 tips you can keep the dark side from taking over your creative life too.
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