When You Feel Like Giving Up
Hullo old chaps! Long time, no see! What’s cookin’ with you? Speaking of cooking, I made cookies yesterday, and they were yummy but slimy.
Don’t ask. I think I put too much … oh, who am I kidding? I have no idea what when into those things!
This is my pitiful attempt at a professional, inspirational post. Let us note that I suck at inspiration. Seriously, I am really bad at it. I’m like, “Just get over yourself and do something!” However, I’ve been told that my methods of inspiration at a little rough. So … bear with me.
Some day in your writing life, you will feel like just giving up.
Usually this is during your first draft – known as ‘writer’s block’ – or while revising – known as ‘editor’s horror’
(No, I did not just make that up … well, yes, I did, but it’s gonna be a thing someday! You wait and see!).
Perhaps you’ve felt like giving up in the past or feel like giving up now. If not, trust me, some day you will want to give up.
Why will you? How can you avoid it? Have I ever experienced any of this? Find out by reading on … or, you know, you could leave now … and then you’ll never know …
1: Writing is Emotional.
If you think it isn’t, then you’ve obviously never written! It’s hard. It involves a lot of sweat and blood on the writer’s part, a lot of mental effort, a lot of straining for the right words. But I’m talking about the pain.
Have I ever told you how hard it is to kill off a character you created, fictional as that character is? Have I ever told you how a writer feels every little hurt a character experiences? We live our characters’ lives.
Even if our characters live happy lives, writing is still emotional. It puts a lot of strain on the writer. Is it any good? Will anyone like it? Will they like my character? My plot? My writing style itself? Do I even like it? Writers have a hard time separating their books from themselves sometimes. I know I do. If their book isn’t any good … well, neither are they! Might as well give up, right?
If you write a story you’re passionate about, then you won’t be able to put your pen down (and neither will your readers). The pain will be worth it.
I’ve always had a hard time completing my books because I wasn’t really into them. But let me tell you, when you get into a story, you really zip through it! You know me … I spend hours pondering word choice and order. However, I could barely stop to think when I was writing At Her Fingertips this last November. By the thirtieth, I’d written 65,000 words which are … well, it’s the first draft, but I don’t think I’m gonna be doing a ton of revising.
No, I won’t stop bragging about that … it’s a big deal for me!
2: First Drafts Inevitably Suck
Bluntly put, I know, but it’s so true. And, based on my earlier statement (waaay up there when I was talking about emotions instead of my success as a NaNoer), the writer often interprets this as “I suck.”
Nothing could be further from the truth! Oh, how I wish I could steal first drafts from all your favorite authors, all the greats of the writer world and share them with you, but I can’t. I’m sure, however, that these drafts are every bit as messed up as yours!
But we don’t get to see the original draft, do we? How can we know how lame their first drafts were? We can’t, and so authors (especially beginning authors) give up.
Actually, I think I already made my point, so there’s not really anything to type here.
So … I guess I’d better … sing?
*chokes* Mmkay, that was a bad idea.
The first draft of TDS was in first person. Miss Chattoway was a bubbly society flirt
(in the most innocent sense … shame on you for making me add this in). She had once been engaged to Mr. Parker.
I know. I just scared myself, too …
3: Halfway Through the Story, It Just Ain’t Working
This happened to a project I was writing about four years ago, The Heirs of the Trunk
(and several other projects as well, but I won’t list them). It started out great, but as I got to the middle … it just didn’t work at all. I didn’t know where I wanted to go next. I looked back on what I’d written, and I decided it was pretty lame. I deleted it.
Now? I regret it with every fiber of my being! I have managed to save parts of it, and you know what? For an inexperienced eleven-year-old, the book wasn’t bad.
It isn’t anywhere near as good as what I’ve written more recently (and what I do now is still pretty lame) … but it is a pretty good story up to a certain point, the writing is decent, and the characters are actually somewhat vivid.
I wish I had finished it.
I wish I had saved every version of it that I ever wrote.
It would have been so easy to put it all in a Word file and store it in some hidden place amongst other failed stories. Who cares how much it sucks? Some day you may want it, if only to remind yourself how much you’ve improved.
But a novel that just isn’t working for whatever reason often discourages authors from writing.
Okay, I guess I already did that … again …
Wait … this whole thing was pretty much an example …
There’s no way around it. At some point, someone won’t like your book! I’m so sorry, man, but your writing isn’t for everyone.
Now, I truly believe in the old ‘sticks and stones can break my bones’ saying. If you don’t let words hurt you, they won’t.
Besides, nine times out of ten (well … I’d say more like seven times out of ten), the person who said something ‘mean’ about your work was just trying to hurt! Step back and take a look at what they said.
Maybe there’s some truth to it. Most of the time, you can learn something from negative feedback. Things like, “I didn’t much care for the writer’s style” doesn’t really help you (although it’s always good to see why they didn’t like it, of course) … but “the characters seemed a little dull to me” does help you. Is there a way you can make them more exciting? How? I just bet you’re gonna put that into your next story, aren’t you?
5: You Just Don’t Have New Material
Many authors (including me) suddenly realize that other people are writing books just like theirs. Now, this is a legit fear … but it’s also a lie. Why?
(or rather how … because those two statements contradict each other …)
Every year, somewhere between 600,000 and a million books are published. That’s a lot of competition! Some of those books are yours. Many of those books are probably better than yours. A hundred or so will be best sellers; one or two may even live on to become classics.
But why is other people are writing books just like yours a lie? Here are three reasons.
- Those other authors aren’t you.
Nobody is like you. It’s in the Bible, for goodness’ sake! Normally I don’t buy into that ‘I’m special … I’m unique … I can be whatever I want to be … I’m worthy … I … I … I-phone’ junk, but …
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. ~Psalm 139:13
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. ~Jeremiah 1:5
What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. ~Psalm 8:4-5
You see what I mean? There will never be another Annelika Wazalika, Josephina Hosephina, or [insert your name here]. So it stands to reason that there will never be another author like you. Only you can bring what you bring to the
table writing desk.
- People read the same stupid books over and over again anyway.
Even if you are someone other author’s clone, so what? People read the same stupid books over and over again … with the same stupid plots … the same stupid settings … and the same stupid characters. *shrugs*
(Yes, I am partially kidding … but it’s true! “There’s nothing new under the sun.”)
- You could really bless someone.
I don’t care what you say about being an awful writer, about your stories being terrible, about your ideas being stupid. So what? No one has lived the life you have … and you have a new message, a new idea, to teach someone.
Who is that someone? I don’t know. I plan to keep writing until the right story reaches the right person and that person is blessed by it.
Is that blessing simply a story well-wrought that distracts a depressed teen from an abusive childhood? Is it the book that will launch an annoyed third grader into a life of reading? Is it simply showing someone bored with history that the past is just as exciting as the present if not more so? Is it some deep message that will benefit them as they walk through life?
I don’t know. But whatever it is and whoever the person who needs to receive it might be, I hope and pray that God will guide me to write the words needed … and the person to accept them.
There are many things that drive excellent authors to give up on their stories. However, I’d say that the main one is lack of self-esteem. I know it’s hard to remember sometimes, but, although you may not be special (yes, I did just say that!), you can be special because God made you – you, Hooper Humperdink! – an individual person with the ability to become an amazing human being … and through Him you will be special.
Th – th – th – that’s all, folks!
*hums Looney Tunes theme*
Goodreads · Facebook · Twitter
- Do you ever feel like giving up? Why?
- Are you inclined to post-writtem depression? How ’bout mid-writtem depression? Or pre-writtem depression?
Yes, I’m making these all up … probably …
- Have you ever eaten anything Indian (as in Asian Indian not American Indian)? I’m having a guy (circa 1870s) talk about Indian cuisine and … yeah. It ain’t working for me.
- What is your biggest problem with your current WIP? Is there any way I can help? (DON’T SAY YES I KNOW NOTHING!)
- Do you like Looney-Tunes?
- Do I have a crazy philosophy of life that should be banned with all my ‘not special on your own power’ and ‘words aren’t actually bad unless you let them be’ junk?
- How are you at inspiring people? If you’re good, can you rub on me a little? I mean … theoretically or … not literally. Unliterally. Unliterally rub on me … ’cause otherwise it’d be weird … ;P
- One time while I was at camp, a girl got dared to pretend to be a cat and rub up against someone mewing.
- I just had to chase a boy and hug him. *shivers* After I caught up to him, we just did a side hug (or a guy hug? What do you call those hugs-that-aren’t-really-hugs?), though, ’cause it was a Christian camp and boy, am I glad! (no offense to the boy … just … eesh …)
- How long before a book is published would you recommend doing the cover reveal? (What?)
1.Do you ever feel like giving up? Why?
Ummm.. a lot. Every reason for doing so in the universe has smacked me at some point. XD
2.Are you inclined to post-writtem depression? How ’bout mid-writtem depression? Or pre-writtem depression? Yes, I’m making these all up … probably …
Mostly mid-writtem, sometimes the other two.
3.Have you ever eaten anything Indian (as in Asian Indian not American Indian)? I’m having a guy (circa 1870s) talk about Indian cuisine and … yeah. It ain’t work for me.
That’s almost all I eat! My mom was a MK, and grew up in Pakistan, so Indian food is what we eat in our family… yum… And I’m actually flying to India next Wednesday…
4.What is your biggest problem with your current WIP? Is there any way I can help? (DON’T SAY YES I KNOW NOTHING!)
That I DON”T HAVE ENOUGH TIME IN MY DAY TO WORK ON IT!!!
5.Do you like Looney-Tunes?
6.Do I have a crazy philosophy of life that should be banned with all my ‘not special on your own power’ and ‘words aren’t actually bad unless you let them be’ junk?
Not that I know of…. *looks confused*
7.How are you at inspiring people? If you’re good, can you rub on me a little? I mean … theoretically or … not literally. Unliterally. Unliterally rub on me … ’cause otherwise it’d be weird … ;P
I’m good at inspiring people if I know them well. I’m not good at inspiring myself, though!
8.One time while I was at camp, a girl got dared to pretend to be a cat and rub up against someone mewing. :O
Nope, that is not the worst dare. I promise it gets worse.
9.I just had to chase a boy and hug him. *shivers* After I caught up to him, we just did a side hug (or a guy hug? What do you call those hugs-that-aren’t-really-hugs?), though, ’cause it was a Christian camp and boy, am I glad! (no offense to the boy … just … eesh …)
Where are these questions going?!?
10.How long before a book is published would you recommend doing the cover reveal? (What?)
Eeeuuuummmaahhhh….. No clue. Maybe a few months?
AAAH SOMEONE USED MY SILLY QUESTIONS!!! 😛 I’m gonna answer them all …
1. the universe … ’tis my greatest enemy … 😉
2. same here! Although sometimes I get the old post-writtem, too.
3. Ah, that’s neat! We just eat regular old food here. 😛
4. try putting aside fifteen minutes a day. I can write 500-900 words in fifteen minutes. Just turn off your internet and everything else that’s distracting you and write. You don’t really need to write more than 500 words per day, right? If you’re writing a novel that you want to be around 50,000, you can get it done in 100 days. So … 3-4 months? Not bad. 🙂
5. REALLY!?!? WHY NOT??????
6. *has no response* 😉
7. Good for you! I keep trying, but I keep failing … inspiration is just not my forte.
8. Yeah, I know! I have had to do all kinds of weird stuff! 😀
9. their point is their lack of point. *mysteriousness*
10. yeah, I was thinking either a couple weeks or a couple months. 🙂
Whenever I get frustrated with my work because it is taking forever and I think I should stop changing the worldbuilding or back stories of my characters, I think about the History of Middle Earth books. There are twelve novel-length books about the evolution of Middle Earth over the decades of Tolkien’s life in the series. His world evolved so many times and somewhere in the middle of all of these changes, he managed to write some fantasy novels that helped shape the genre. It reminds me that it is okay to change things because the stories I am creating are mine and I shouldn’t stubbornly stick to old ideas as I grow and change as a person.
That’s very true! You need to let your world change as it will when writing fantasy! I mean, it is “fantasy.” You can stick to the old stuff! 🙂
Don’t worry, Kellyn, my advice to people like that would be exactly the same as yours. “Just get over yourself and do something!” is what I would say if I thought it was helpful and not rude. 😉
I think the knowledge you could bless someone with your book is a big help in urging one too keep writing. Even if your work is never published, you could give it to your grandmother. And if I know anything about grandmothers, she’ll like what you’ve written. 😉
AGH SUCH A GREAT, GREAST POST! It was totally the thing to make me feel better! 🙂
Question answering time!
1. I always feel like giving up. There are just things that are TOO MUCH or I feel I just can’t do, and that makes me want to give up. Sometimes, I’m able to push through and make it, others, not so much.
2. I AM PRONE TO ALL WRITING RELATED DEPRESSIONS. HELP ME.
3. I know I’ve eaten SOME Indian stuff, but I forget what…
4. Oh goodness, I have SO MANY. From what I’ve written so far: voice/style. My writing voice/style for my WIP is very very odd. I mean, I usually don’t write like that. Well, sometimes, but there are some parts that are just like WHAT ARE YOU DOING. My current issue: PLOTTING. WHY IS THIS OUTLINE SO DIFFICULT.
5. Yes, I do! (But I forgot everything about it.)
6. You DO have a crazy philosophy of life BECAUSE YOU’RE CRAZY AND I’M CRAZY AND WE’RE ALL CRAZY.
7. Well. There are moments when I can be extremely witty and not inspiring at all, and there are moments when I can be deep and thoughtful and totally inspiring. So. Yes and no? (Actually, I’m not sure I’m that inspiring. I’m just assuming ’cause, you know, I’m an amazing mango.)
8. O.o Yikes.
9. WHAT’S WRONG WITH BOYS??? (Everything, May, e v e r y t h i n g . BUT GENDER EQUALITY.)
10. *shrugs* I’m horribly versed in the publishing world. I feel like you should do it BEFORE the book’s published??? You know. So everyone’s like OMG THIS IS SO PRETTY I MUST READ IT AGH
1. Yeah, I do a lot of the time, too.
2. Mmhmm …
3. I should really try some Indian food some time …
4. I do that all the time! (which … I think I’ve already told you) Basically, outlining is rambling about your book. 😛
5. n/a (means I don’t have an answer …) 😉
6. WE ARE CRAZY TOGETHER!!!
7. mangoes are always good.
8. Yeah … we’re crazy truth-or-darers …
9. I’m more like, “Boys are bad. Girls are good. *thumbs up*” 😉
10. Yeah, I’m thinking a couple weeks before publishing. 🙂
*awkwardly replies with a smiley face* 😀
XD Sorry, I was bored so I went overkill and was weird. 😛
Pfft, who cares about going overkill or being weird? XD
Um .. *senses that “me” would not be the right answer* 😉 Seriously, though, NOBODY!!!
XD But truly, answering things fully is fun! And being weird is fun. 🙂
Definitely! I love answering questions … I always do. And then people are like, “Um … those are more like guides for discussions than a form you have to fill out …” 😉
Asking and answering questions is the best! I always end up asking MILLIONS of questions, or answering with super long replies. XD
Well, it’s fun! My mom thinks it’s a huge waste of time, though, so I’ve been trying to cut back … while also trying to engage more with people … it’s such a conundrum. :/
XD But engaging with people is so much HARDER than asking/answering questions!
I know, right?! Seriously, though, my mom thinks I’m wasting time if I’m doing anything on the computer BUT writing, so … it’s really hard. XD (not that I mind; she just wants me not to fry my brains out or waste my life; she’s just being a good mom)
My mom thinks I’m wasting time on the computer if I’m doing anything but homework. She thinks I “spend too much time writing on the computer”. 🙁
Haha, seems to be a theme! 🙂
Well, I myself think that I’m spending too much time on the computer. I’m trying to spend less time, but not trying hard enough… XD
Haha, well, I’m not trying hard enough either, then … 😉
XD It’s so hard, though! My computer is a beautiful thing!
1. Sure! But then I’m like, heyyy new plot bunny, let’s go write that! Okay, well, joking aside, at times I feel like giving up on a story because it’s just not working out, but I always end up looking at it later and seeing the good parts. But I try not to give up. Yep.
2. Oh gosh… um…more mid-writtem depression than any other, I suppose. But some post-writtem, I suppose.
3. Yes, but not very much…however, my family loves Thai food, so I’ve had a lot of that. I have no idea how different it would be in the 1870s, but…uh…I can help? Maybe?
4. It doesn’t seem very exciting…it’s very heavy on the character development and there’s not enough action scenes for a sci-fi. So that’s something that’ll need to be revised in the next draft. Can you help? I don’t know, can you?
5. I’ve…only seen them a couple of times. *shrugs*
6. Nah. Freedom of speech! I mean…it might be a little crazy… 😛 But it shouldn’t be banned.
7. I’m okay, I think? At least through writing, not through talking. I don’t know, you’ve read my inspirational posts, you tell me how they are.
10. I have no idea. Probably not less than a week…probably not too much more than a month…but I don’t know, I really haven’t seen a cover reveal in action. 😛 (Wait, what?) But now I’m curious…who made the new cover for TDS?
1. Yeah, same here. (Although I keep on saying that, so I guess for lots of different reasons.)
2. I think most of my writing is post-writtem.
3. Well, I was just having this one character mention that English food is bland compared to the Indian food he’s used to and then I’m like, “Wait … what do I know about India?”
4. haha, probably not. I’m good at character development and bad at action myself! But yeah, I guess just figure out where you need to go and make the going there exciting … furthering the plot while not, you know, throwing in random fight scenes.
5. *glares* But they’re awesome! XD I will never grow up …
6. XD Yeah, freedom of speech …
7. Hmm … pretty good. Better than me. I’m like, “YOU’RE NOT SPECIAL!!!!” XD
10. Willowy Whisper (www.willowywhisper.com)
2. Really? That’s interesting…huh. But to prove my answer, I’m pretty sure that I have mid-writtem depression right now. xD But saying that actually makes me feel better just because of how wonderful of a term that is. 😛
3. Ahhh…but yeah, English food is bland in comparison, so you’re good with that statement. 😉
4. Right, random fight scenes. I could just have…um…some random guy come up and start fighting one of my characters…and then my plot will be AWESOME. Oh wait. You wrote “not”. *totally read that as “furthering the plot while, you know, throwing in random fight scenes”. You know, that advice makes a lot more sense now. 😛
5. Ehh, all my friends have already told me I didn’t have a childhood, so…
7. Yup, that’s really inspirational. Telling someone they’re not special.
10. Oooh, cool! *wants to see it soon*
2: It’s so wonderfully technical … almost makes you want to have it …
3: Yeah, probably.
4: Yeah … I’m not sure throwing random fight scenes in is such a good idea … 😉 But you know it’s your book … so ..
4. Yeah, it’s my book! Don’t tell me what to do! Just kidding, I’m not going to add random fight scenes in. Even when I’m kind of tempted to…
4: I’m always tempted to. Although for me, it’s more like random funny scenes (like the whole Kirk/Alice bit in TDS) as I vainly try to lighten the mood after my ceaseless melodrama.
AHHHHHH. OK. Sorry. AHHHH! Again, sorry. KELLYN THIS POST IS AMAZING!! SO MUCH YES SO MUCH AMEN.
Firstly, thank you for sharing this. =D Yahweh has shown me this very same thing recently, as I tore into revise Seek…. I found myself listening to lies, and of course that isn’t good. So I prayed and God whacked me, lol. He reminded me that no one else has my voice! I can’t have anyone else’s voice. That’s how it is to be writer! 😀 Yahweh made us each unique… Like 1 Corinthians says… We each are different, but each have a part to play for God!
We should be writing for God’s Glory. To share His Love. His Truth. We have no idea how our words will impact people, but I agree with you totally! If you’re passionate about it and you know it’s from God… we don’t have to worry about it being perfect, because God will use us (and the book!) as He wishes. 😀
YES YES YES I LOVE THIS POST. You are very wise.
On a very important note: I LOVE LOVE LOVE THE LOONEY TUNES SHOW! AHH. Who’s your favorite? Mine is Daffy Duck. ♥ ;D
God bless, and write on!
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 God definitely has whacked me a couple times, too; I know what you mean!
It’s a tie between Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. Which feels a little unfair because, you know, he’s BUGS BUNNY and so popular so … I shouldn’t like him? Haha. Society is so weird; it makes you want to not like the popular stuff! 😉
1. I am actually in the middle of writers block at the moment … so this post was such an encouragement too me, thanks!
2. Probably mid-wittem…
3. Yeah a few things, my family likes eating all kinds of food.
4. This is such a stupid reason for problems with my recent WIP… but I lost my plot book!!! And now I can’t remember the notes I had for the chapters, meaning I have no idea what chapter three is supposed to be about. Hahaha
5. Oh yeah!
6. Pretty much kindness all day every day. I have met two friends with depression and they started homeschooling because they didn’t have any friends and their depression wasn’t helping at school… I think kindness is something they both need.
7. I personally, don’t think I’m really inspiring anyone at the moment, but I don’t know their thoughts.
8. That was random…
9. Hahahaha oh the horror!… side hug ;;;;;;;;D i’m dying here!
10. Three, four weeks maybe.
Oh, wow! Not your plot book! That would really throw me off! 😛
Great post Kellyn! I will answer all of the questions and ask my own, because over achievement.
Do you ever feel like giving up? Why?
sadly… I gave it up when I was 11. BUT I COULDN’T STAY AWAY. I imagine my mind is swirls of color, and I just want to get that color on the page… sometimes it turns poop-colored, but sometime its a rainbow.
Are you inclined to post-writtem depression? How ’bout mid-writtem depression? Or pre-writtem depression? Yes, I’m making these all up … probably …
mid-writtem will be the death of me. GAH LET ME FINISH MY BOOK.
Have you ever eaten anything Indian (as in Asian Indian not American Indian)? I’m having a guy (circa 1870s) talk about Indian cuisine and … yeah. It ain’t work for me.
What is your biggest problem with your current WIP? Is there any way I can help? (DON’T SAY YES I KNOW NOTHING!)
where to start…
Do you like Looney-Tunes?
Wasn’t allowed to watch 😛
Do I have a crazy philosophy of life that should be banned with all my ‘not special on your own power’ and ‘words aren’t actually bad unless you let them be’ junk?
nah, not junk “P
How are you at inspiring people? If you’re good, can you rub on me a little? I mean … theoretically or … not literally. Unliterally. Unliterally rub on me … ’cause otherwise it’d be weird … ;P
I hear you can buy some inspiration rubbing cream on Amazon… 5 stars!
One time while I was at camp, a girl got dared to pretend to be a cat and rub up against someone mewing. :O
I just had to chase a boy and hug him. *shivers* After I caught up to him, we just did a side hug (or a guy hug? What do you call those hugs-that-aren’t-really-hugs?), though, ’cause it was a Christian camp and boy, am I glad! (no offense to the boy … just … eesh …)
I lowkey hugged a boy today… oops 😕 LOL
How long before a book is published would you recommend doing the cover reveal? (What?)
3 YEARS BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE A COVER YOU BETTER RELEASE IT RIGHT NOW MISSY
HOW DO YOU THINK OF ALL THESE QUESTIONS?
How do I think of all these questions? They come out of the sky … you know … and just float down and stuff … and I get to see them. 😛
As far as the cover reveal … ack, it’ll probably be closer to the publication. 😛
like… balloons! balloons are cool. and come out of the sky. sometimes.
what noo i need the coverrrr
im a cover junkie 😛
Yeah, balloons! That makes sense …
You definitely don’t suck at an inspiration post! I thought it was great 🙂 I wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the versatile blogger award! Check out my last post for the rules ?
Thanks! I’ll head over and check it out. 🙂
1.Absolutely, for all the reasons you named!
2. Yep, sometimes seconds after the draft is done.
4. The last four scenes and finding time to write them!
5. I can SING the theme song. (And it doesn’t have words.)
6. Nope. 😉
7. You’d have to ask the people.
8. Oh, yeah! We’ve played that game!
9. Dreadfully sorry. 😉
10. Two weeks??? Never done it! 😉
I’m not 100% sure how to answer this question … because not everything needs answers … but here’s my attempt. 😉
4: Finding time to write can really be hard sometimes!
5: I can, too! But, yes, without words …
10: I’ve decided to do it towards the end of May, about a month before I publish the book. 🙂