[Podcast] Making Progress When You Feel Discouraged as a Writer

1 developing the writer's mindset podcast post Mar 11, 2021

By Melissa Parks and Dave Goetz

Making progress in any significant endeavor demands time, persistence, discipline, and even failure. Failure (or at least feeling like one) is often what leads to discouragement.

Just because you feel discouraged as a writer, however, does not mean you are failing. In fact, if you're discouraged, arguably it means you're invested in your work as a writer. You're emotionally connected to what you're writing.

Maxwell Perkins, best remembered for discovering authors Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, knows a thing or two about discouragement in writing. He once said, “If you are not discouraged about your writing on a regular basis, you may not be trying hard enough. Any challenging pursuit will encounter frequent patches of frustration. Writing is nothing if not challenging.”

Discouragement shows up in variety of forms and for a variety of reasons.  If you're a writer, the first step towards pushing through discouragement is to accept it as normal. 

Once you've acknowledged it as normal, the next step might be reflecting on the source of the discouragement. Are you going through a difficult life event? Are you feeling behind in other areas of your life? Often discouragement is a sign of emotional depletion.

If your discouragement is a result of not making progress, then maybe you need to get support from a community of other writers who have pushed through this stifling phase.

Or, maybe you simply need to lean into your writing. Work a little harder, as Perkins says. As you push through the impasse, you'll likely find writing rhythm again--and feel a little less discouraged.

Of course, the opposite is true, too. Taking a step back from your writing--relieving yourself from the pressure to write--can provide space for fresh ideas to emerge. Returning to your work will feel less discouraging with a renewed focus and energy.

These are just a few tips that we cover in our latest episode. Take a listen for the full rundown of why discouragement creeps in and how you can kick it out.



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