Monday, August 6, 2018

Top Ten Tips for Fighting Discouragement

I asked my most ardent fans (my daughter and my husband) what I should write about on my blog and my daughter said I should write about encouraging others to keep writing. I feel like I've learned a lot in writing for the past ten years, and I'd love to share.

Writing, and almost any other creative endeavor is a long process. From the spiritual creation or idea of it until its execution and finished product can take months if not years. Keeping going during that time can become a challenge. Here are my tips to stay motivated.

1. Remember why you started in the first place. I am a storyteller. I always have been. I'm horrid at asking questions but learning. But I think of funny scenarios. I'm the dreamer. Someone tells me a detail and I create a story. I don't write for the royalty check. I don't write to be famous-- although that would be nice. I write because I believe fiction can heal. I write because I believe we all need to safely escape. I write because I want to create happiness for others.

2. Don't listen to the critics and the nay-sayers. There are weak-minded people who will always tell you what you can't do. These people have little imagination and I think they are cowards. Be the brave person who defies the odds, who conquers the mountain, who stands at the top and yells, "I did it!"

3. Find your tribe. This is so important to me. I love finding like-minded people who have the same goal. They will lift you up and remind you about your number one reason for creating. Communicate with your tribe, bear your soul to them let them lift you up.

4. Encourage others. No matter where you stand on the platform, you can always find someone to encourage. Creating isn't a competition or a race. It's a shared experience. And someone can always use an uplifting word.

5. Share you talents. Don't hide your candle under a bushel. Share to me means two things: one, let other people see your work and two, teach someone else how to do what you are doing. You'll be surprised how much you grow from either one of these two exercises. Musicians don't wait until they can preform the Moonlight Sonata before they play in public. "Swans on the Lake" is a concert piece as well as "Für Elise."

6. Just keep going. I lived in Switzerland in my twenties. True story time. Once, a friend and I were painting a bathroom for service in the back of hairdressing shop. While we were painting, a man came in to take a shower. I glanced at my friend, my eyes widened as this man started revealing flesh. "Just keep going," she said. We never would've finished the bathroom if we'd let every little thing stop us. Thankfully, he only took a "spit" bath, but the lesson is still the same. "Just keep going." Don't let anything stop you. Create through good times, through hard times, through sad times, through happy times. You'll be surprised what comes out when you do.

8. Get feedback from the right sources. One of the most discouraging thing for me at the beginning of my writing was rejection without a response. Why was I getting rejected? I wished they give me some clue as to why my work didn't meet their standards. It really couldn't be that "My story didn't resonate with them." I knew that was code for something else. I just didn't know how to decipher agent/editor-ese. At a writer's conference, I found out that there were contests I could enter and I could get feedback from judges who were agents, editors and other novelists. For a mere $25 entry free, I could find out why they would reject my manuscript. That was money well-spent!

9. Ask for help. I'm religious so this is something ingrained in me. I believe that God is a Creator and he wants us to be like him. When I am stuck, I ask Him for help. If you're not into praying, you can ask the universe, the Cosmos or a paid professional.

10. Believe in yourself and in what you are doing. Everyone has a unique perspective on life. If you don't believe me, just ask my kids who started the fight and they'll both give you different answers. You have something unique to give, something that no one else has. Give it, give it generously and it will come back to you generously. You are needed. Your art is needed!

What other tips help you fight discouragement?

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