What do you do when you feel discouraged?
This whole writing thing gets me discouraged a lot. Between the fact that it's been four years since The Unicorn Hunter was released and I still don't have a sequel out, and the inadequacy I feel as a writer every time I read what real writers write, discouragement is often just part of the game.
I usually deal with it in one of these ways:
1. Go to bed. Tired Brown-Eyed Girl + anything negative = debilitating discouragement. Usually a good night's sleep sets me straight and freshens my perspective.
2. Curl into a ball and cry. While this does sound like the sissy's response to discouragement, a good cry every now and then is cleansing for the soul. It gets the gunk out, helps me reset, and again, freshens my perspective.
3. Vent to Mr. Brown Eyes. Usually this one happens unintentionally. I just sit next to him to talk about our day or even to just say good night, and feelings come pouring out. Every husband's dream, right? But he is amazing in that he stops what he's doing and listens, sympathizes, and offers actual helpful solutions. He helps me look at the situation with a fresh perspective.
I'm sensing a pattern here.
Being discouraged is a matter of perspective. That's right. It's choosing to take a negative outlook on what's going on in our lives. I can look ahead at my future as a writer and see a bleak and dreary desert, I can choose to see my writing as inferior and take my rejections personally. Or I can remember that I write because I LOVE it, not because I have to be published, and thus see the future as a road that is winding and steep, but full of spectacular views.
If I've learned anything from being published, it's that discouragement will stalk my every step if I let it. Every bad review, every rejection, can drag me down and make me feel like writing is a waste of my time.
I used to think discouragement meant failure. It meant things weren't going right and I should just give up. When I read the first bad review of my book, I thought my writing life was over. But it wasn't. In that case, I got a good night's sleep and the next day I knew I wanted to keep writing no matter how many people hated what I wrote.
Now I know that if I choose to give up at the first discouragement, I will never succeed. I guess that is the difference between those who succeed and those who don't.
Of course I would be remiss in all this talk of overcoming discouragement if I left out God. In every scenario, He is a huge part in lifting me when I am down. I think some discouragement is so deep and all-encompassing that it is impossible for us to rise above it without His help. I truly believe in the power of prayer.
However you lift your view above the clouds of discouragement, whether it's sleep, crying, venting, prayer, or something else, know that the clouds will part.
And the view will be awesome.
The Brown-Eyed Girl