As writers, we’ve all been there—ready to throw in the towel and send our laptops flying. Maybe it’s the rejections inherent in any creative endeavor. Or maybe it’s the writer’s block that seems to have overtaken every writing moment. Whatever the reason, we have all found ourselves on the cliff ready to jump off.
For me, it was being uncertain about my abilities to make the transition to fiction, having to shelve the novel that inspired this series, and getting nowhere with the query-game for a different novel. I was done. I really was. But, being ever-stubborn, I decided to dig deep, deeper than I had previously. I talked with friends, did a lot of the things listed below and meditated, searching for some clarity about the path I was on. My answers came quickly. But during the period before, when I was certain this was it for me—it was time to quit—I found a few things that helped me gain perspective and back away from the abyss:
- Answer this question - Are You a Writer?
This is a critical first step. I’m not asking “Are you published?” or “Are you good enough?” I’m asking whether or not you’re a writer at all. Do you see the world as a series of scenes? Do you look at people in terms of their character traits? Do you remember good lines and think “I really need to use this in a story”? Is writing one of the top things on your mind everyday? And finally, do you still have something to say to the world? If the answer is YES, than you are a writer!
Yea, I AM a writer – whether I am writing or not.
- Write anything.
If, like me, you decide you ARE a writer – then write. Period.
Write anything you want. Let the creative muse drive your decisions, not your need to be published, or the market, or whatever. Just your muse. Write Anything. And write often.
- Focus on the positives
There are plenty of things to get frustrated with in this business. The key, I think, is to find the POSITIVE things. Like the growth you’ve made as a writer. Or the connections you’ve made with other writers facing the same struggles. Or the ways your craft has improved. Anything.
- Face your fears.
Writing is an interesting thing. It has the power to unlock some of your deepest darkest yuck that lurks inside—or maybe that’s just me. Regardless, pursuing your dreams in this business will require you to face some of your doubts and fears sooner or later. So, you need to be prepared. Personally, I think the only way to deal with the scary stuff is to walk straight through it. You have lots of supporters to help you on this path. Grab their hands, close your eyes, and move forward, no matter how hard it feels at times.
- Take a break.
Yes, you want to cultivate the habit of writing. But, you need to temper that habit with living. If you are like me – an obsessive personality – this can be a daunting task. But, it is so very important to master! After all, if all you do is write, when will you live and find the ideas for your stories?
There you go, a few of the lessons I’ve learned facing the edge of some very high cliffs.
I bet you are curious about the end to that story, aren’t you? The answers I found during my contemplations. Well, Compass Press and I started negotiating the deal for the Requiem Series one day – yes ONE DAY – after I asked for guidance. It was another month or so before things were finalized. So so thankful I held on! The lesson in this, you really never know what lies around the next corner.
What gets you through the hard? Gets you to back away from the Abyss?
School psychologist by day, critically acclaimed YA and nonfiction author by night, Christine Fonseca believes that writing is a great way to explore humanity. Her debut YA Gothic series, The Requiem Series, including DIES IRAE and LACRIMOSA, examines the role of redemption, sacrifice and love. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can be sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her daily thoughts about writing and life onher blog.
For more information about Christine Fonseca or the series, visit her website – http://christinefonseca.com or her blog http://christinefonseca.blogspot.com.
Thanks to Christina for her guest post and to all of you for stopping by.