Author Despair—What To Do When You Feel Like All Is Lost

Image courtesy of Eflon via Flickr Creative Commons

Image courtesy of Eflon via Flickr Creative Commons

We have all heard the saying, The truth shall set you free. But what many people may not realize is the truth doesn’t set us free from others. It sets us free from ourselves.

Like our characters, we are often blinded by our own lies and since we aren’t facing the truth and admitting it, we can make no forward progress. Growth, change, and victory are all impossible.

This said, there are some dark places all writers go, but since we are ashamed to feel these things, we rarely fess up to feeling them and so they remain in the dark. Thus we remain in the dark and sink ever deeper.

It reminds me of that scene from The Neverending Story. We can become like Artax the horse—admit you cried TOO 😛 .

We sink deeper and deeper and deeper never realizing we’re doing it to ourselves.

What I’d like to do today is to tell you, “You are not alone.” I feel this stuff too.

I’m Not Jealous

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If you are taking this writing thing at ALL seriously, you are going to feel jealousy. There is nothing wrong with this. When it is wrong is when we fail to recognize it and inadvertently begin feeding it.

Maybe you’ve been at this writing thing for many years and that newbie you encouraged to attend your writing group landed a sweet book deal her first try. Sure, there can come a point where you are genuinely happy for her, but that will only come after the initial gut punch of Her? Really? Why not me?

Last month I entered the James Patterson contest. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy I did it. I think I have a kickass treatment for my next book. But I do admit, when one of my friends and most passionate followers made the cut and I didn’t? I did NOT feel like yelling SQUEEEE! And throwing her a party at first. There was the beat of….

But…but…but what about meeeeeeee?

Since I’ve been around longer than most, I’ve learned to recognize jealousy when I feel it, take a few moments to experience the emotion…but then move through it. I tackle jealousy pretty much like I tackle everything else.

Head on.

I took the pins out of the voodoo doll I’d crafted in her likeness and then messaged her a truly heartfelt congratulations. And seriously it only took a couple minutes talking with her to become excited for her. I began to question why I was dumb enough to be jealous at all.

***Though word on the street is her writing DOES suck but she worships Satan so he gives her the big breaks 😛 .

Yes, some writers will get that break because they have worked very hard and have great talent. We all hope to be that writer (or be that again since often our career rests on many breaks, not just one biggie).

But, we also have to be honest. The writing business is subjective and a lot also relies on timing and luck. We can’t treat it like a pure meritocracy because often it isn’t. Believing that this profession is fair is just going to make us cray-cray.

There is going to be that friend who hit the right algorithm that day and his blog went viral or his books sold a bazillion copies because he happened to write the first ferret romance novel and suddenly there was an international ferret scandal and now racy rodents are trending.

And be happy for him because, hell all of us wouldn’t mind some of that magic tossed our way.

I’m Tired

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What’s up? Oh, I’m just tired.

This is a HUGE lie and one that I’ve been guilty of more times than I would like to admit. See, in our culture, often other people don’t really want to hear the truth. So? We lie. Then we lie enough it eventually becomes our truth. It’s not “socially acceptable” to say:

I’m discouraged.

I’m angry.

I’m despairing.

So we say we are “tired.”

All writers hit these sour notes. Trust me. You new writers out there? I get it. I wrote my first novel, thought all I needed was an agent and within the year, month week I’d have a movie deal. Since I had no idea how the industry worked, I was ill-prepared. Oh, I’d heard the stories of authors who’d been rejected for years, but that was not going to be ME.

*hair flip*

In fact, my first conference? I was worried about talking to more than one agent because…

Could we still be friends when I had to choose between them for who would represent my novel?

Yeah, seriously wish I were joking.

When reality came crashing down that I was so dumb I wasn’t even aware HOW dumb I was? It was tough. Looking at that really loooooong road ahead? When I had to face the hard truth that maybe I wasn’t any good. Maybe I wouldn’t make it. Maybe, after all, I simply didn’t have what it took?

It was hard.

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If you make it past this newbie phase, you’re likely going to hit The Dip (which is that giant span of suck before our breakthrough).

It is the first book that bombs. It is the royalty check that’s just big enough to supersize a Happy Meal. It’s the blog that is seeming to go nowhere. It’s the first one-star review.

Instead of admitting that we are scared or frustrated or disillusioned?

Well, I have just not been writing because I am really tired.

Of course that is only half of the sentence.

Well, I have just not been writing because I am really tired of not mattering.

Well, I have just not been writing because I am really tired of being stuck.

Well, I have just not been writing because I am really tired of seeing friends outpace me.

And so we sink deeper and deeper.

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Name It And CLAIM It

Back to where we began. For anything to change, we need to be honest. Maybe we are avoiding going to a workshop because we feel like a failure. We are being unrealistic with how long this process takes and so we feel like we are a hack and fooling ourselves. We might be embarrassed. Or we are jealous.

Maybe we are dragging around chugging caffeine because we are “tired” but the reason 20 cups of coffee hasn’t made a dent is we aren’t tired at all. We’re deeply discouraged.

Until we get honest with what is truly going on? We can’t make a plan to get past what we are failing to even acknowledge.

We have to name it to really feel it so we can then move past it.

In the end? Give yourself permission to be fragile. All this is human and best of all? It’s temporary. It is absolutely OKAY to feel jealous, jaded, discouraged, angry…we just can’t camp there 😉 . We ALL feel it. Lately, I seriously misplaced my mojo. I think it is under that pile of laundry I need to do.


What are your thoughts? Have you been in a slump that has just felt like The Swamp of Sadness? ARTAX NO! Is your writing suffering because you can’t focus? Are you in the Why the Hell Do I Try? phase? Have you recently felt sucker punched because a friend or colleague surpassed you? What about meeeeee?

It’s all good. We are friends here. And if you have felt all this stuff and moved through it? What are your tips?

Btw, I have two classes below that are AWESOME for busting past slumps. The antagonist class is fantastic for fixing a WIP that is going nowhere and the business class on how to use FREE? If sales are stuck, check this class out and maybe I can help you jackhammer through that roadblock.

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of APRIL, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Upcoming Classes!

Back by popular demand! Bullies & Baddies—Understanding the Antagonist

All fiction must have a core antagonist. The antagonist is the reason for the story problem, but the term “antagonist” can be highly confusing. Without a proper grasp of how to use antagonists, the plot can become a wandering nightmare for the author and the reader.

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  1. It’s real hard to gain a sense of self-worth in this business. I mean my mom says my books are great, 🙂 thanks, Mom, but the fight to get noticed by the general reading public- yeah, it’s an on-going struggle. Great post, it helps knowing we aren’t alone.

  2. If you don’t mind, would you please stop peeking into my head? 😉 I know a few writers I’ll be sharing this with. Thanks!

  3. You certainly nailed on the head our conversation, and, I would wager, a general malaise I sensed all around the place. Perhaps it’s the age, the new paradigm of publishing, but I feel like people are discouraged. The biggies and their agents (good people, in general I should add) just feed the fear, heap kindling on the fire of despair. Or heap Kindles on the fire of the despair. Whichever, the result is the same. “Why should I bother to write for anyone but myself. I think I will just pull an Emily Dickinson and hide all my writing behind pictures and in sugar bowls for my descendants to find after I have gone the way of the dodo.” But to hear you talk about it, remind us all that it is not just COMMON but UNIVERSAL does go a long way to reaffirming WHY we write and WHY we need each other. It’s the reminder you have made your life’s work: WE ARE NOT ALONE!

    1. Actually I will probably blog on that…this GENERAL MALAISE. This was the first time I had ever gone to a con and despair was palpable. But to keep the blog from being a gazillion words long I talked about the personal side today. But I DO think you are onto something. There is an oppressive feel all around and we have toe tick together or we will sink!

      1. I want to read about this. I certainly have been blocked and “tired” lately–and come to think of it, so is another writer friend. That there’s a *general* malaise is a surprise and yet, I think maybe it makes sense. I look forward to seeing what your take is.

  4. Kristen… you’ve been spying on me with a drone videoing through my kitchen window, haven’t you? 😉

    It gets to the point where I’m disappearing, and I know it, but by the time I push through the wall and decide maybe I should reappear, it feels too late and I have to reintroduce myself to the world again. Or in this case… the on-line communities of writers, who I’m partly afraid haven’t actually noticed that I’ve disappeared. LOL

    I don’t know what the problem is, really. Lack of confidence? Feeling like I’m faking it? Feeling like I actually have something good going, and now I’m going to feel pressured to finish it? All of the above, and then some?

    There’s always something to distract me from it, too. Today I have this appointment; tomorrow that one; oh I need to take the dogs to get groomed, better line that up; going to my sister’s for the weekend… if I wake up the muse now, but have no computer handy, what then? (Oh my God, that last one is so freaking stupid! I’m an idiot! … and around we go again.)

    Nothing that I throw in my way is solvable by anyone but me. I can easily see how each little obstacle can be overcome in the most efficient and rational way possible. But the truth is… it’s me. I am scared. What if it really is good?

    And worse… what if I think it is, and it isn’t?

    1. Cathy, you are my brain clone! My mind goes around and around the same way as yours. You are definitely not alone! 😀

  5. Yes yes yes I’ve felt all these things. But I feel like the longer I’m at it, the less often I’ve felt jealous and hopeless. Because maybe this book I wrote simply isn’t good enough—but that just leaves me tons of room to improve.

  6. Yeah. (Word efficiency at work here.)

  7. My biggest slump was uni, drudging through public university classes, and completely forgetting I truly wanted to be a novelist. I left pages of manuscript in a folder somewhere to die. It wasn’t until Nanowrimo last year that I finally truly started again.

    The biggest thing that pulled me out of it? Owning both my flaws and my passions. Often we hear the advice to own our flaws and acknowledge them. Great advice. Keeps us grounded and moving. Yet we hear terms like “Chase your dreams.” “Follow your passion.” No. Own it. Otherwise, we’re left trailing after that light fading in the distance. Call it zen, call it tao, call it whatever you like. When we own both our flaws and our passions, we turn our inner furnace into a nuclear power core.

    The dip may not go away, but it will certainly not stop us for years on end.

  8. I love you, Kristen. Not like that. 😉 I love you for being not perfectly perfect, but for being you and for seeming to know what I need to hear at the right moment. I’ve been floundering for almost three years now with quite a few starts of stories in various stages and have yet to finish a complete first draft. This past week, two of the writers in my writing group had their first book signings. And they are not the first in our group to be published or self-publish. There have been others and I truly am happy for them. I am, but what I can’t figure out is what the hell my problem is that I can’t work through a crappy first draft. That’s all I want right now. I don’t even let my mind wander to thoughts of being published. Ok. That was a lie. I do think about it but I know that’s way at the other end of where I am right now. Anyway, I could blabber on and on and wallow in self pity (I am that horse in the mud), but I won’t. I just wanted to thank for being there, for being one of us and putting the words out there to keep us from giving up our dreams of being successful writers.

    Today’s post is a good lesson in mindfulness, by acknowledging what we are truly feeling at the moment and by accepting and nurturing our inner child (or inner and outer child like in my case). Thank you!

  9. Reblogged this on Nancy Segovia and commented:
    Despair + Anger + Discouraged = I’m tired, boy am I tired!

  10. I’m tired, I am so very, very tired.

    • rachel thompson on April 25, 2016 at 11:58 am
    • Reply

    The antidote for unsold fiction, for me, is easy, I just publish more freelance stuff to give myself a mental boost. ( Easy to do, anyone can) Or maybe I go to an open mic and read something and let the applauds, whether polite or approving, wash the sad out of my hair. A shot of acceptance is good medicine.Screw Prozac.

  11. Wow. Just…wow.

    I call it the writing flu. For the past almost five months I’ve walked around fully capable of observing those who are writing healthy, who produce works that make me shake my head in amazement. I have continued to review books and edit books and talk about publishing books.

    But writing my own?

    [[Hacking cough] Can someone hand me that thick blanket and a warm bowl of chicken soup, please?]

    Thank you, Kristen. I’m fighting back tears right now as I type this because it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone and simultaneously brings to the front of my mind and heart how much I’ve struggled and how frustrated I am. But mostly it’s just good to know I’m not alone.

    Okay. Now I need the tissue box.

    Thank you, Kristen.

    1. My excuse has been that I’m pregnant and too tired. But really, I could be writing. I’m just “Tired.” You know, the capital t kind, that equates to your flu.

      Sigh. Maybe it’s time to push myself a bit harder.

      1. I’ve been there too, Sophia. I guess one thing we can get out of all of this is that we have to continue encouraging one another and checking in on each other. Wishing you all the best with your pregnancy!

  12. “Maybe we are avoiding going to a workshop because we feel like a failure.” Or avoiding reading a certain fabulous writing blog lately? That would be me missing out on some of your latest posts. But this one hits the spot. Thank you! <3 Off to get serious on my WIP.

    P.S. You spelled Artax wrong both times. 😉

    1. LOL. Will correct. One of those days, LOL! Actually I only misspelled once. The other was a a victim of auto-correct *head desk*

      1. Sometimes, auto-correct just needs to lay off. 😉

    2. I wrote 1,100 words today after posting this, btw 😀 Hope to get even more serious tomorrow!

  13. Good points Kristen. I struggled for years telling myself I wanted to write a novel. It was only day when someone dear to me kept reminded me about my dream that I sat down to achieve it. I guess you could call her my muse. Anyways, it took a few false starts but I eventually did finish a few drafts of that novel, now out for beta reading. But yes, even now it can sometime be depressing when a beta reader disappears on you without word to leave you alone to all your insecurities. You have to keep fighting on though and have faith in your abilities and drive to achieve your goals.

  14. Thanks for sharing! I’m glad to hear that we all go through these emotions!

  15. So needed to read this. Thank you.

  16. Kristen, have I told you lately how much I love you? This is so hilarious but spot on. Even as a literary agent, We ALL go through this same thing. I laughed so hard out loud while reading this I set the neighbors dogs barking. One of my main jobs is talking writers off the ledge. This is a tough business, but we can not expect to go anywhere in leaps and bounds. Each step of the journey is a nec. step. Too many want to jump from A to F, but grasshopper- you must be willing to wax on and wax off. Thank you again for speaking the truth in such an entertaining way. I refer all writers to your blog and book, but especially my clients.

    • Renee on April 25, 2016 at 12:44 pm
    • Reply

    Great emotional post, Kristen, and honest. Thank you.

    I watched a Carol Burnett documentary (“American Masters”) and she auditioned for a part she wanted really, really bad – and watched it go to another actress / comedian. Carol consoled herself by saying, “Well, it’s her turn.”

    Part of what we face is that the entertainment world isn’t as new as it was for Carol in the 1950’s, when television was just emerging and radio was receding. Today, we face an utterly saturated world, where people are bombarded from every angle – from YouTube and Twitter feeds, to TV series streaming, ads that pop up when you visit a website.

    Writers compete with so many entertainment choices – computer gaming revenues eclipse Hollywood box office numbers now, (right?) People don’t read like they used to, and literacy is declining. I read somewhere, that the average song today has the reading level of a fourth or fifth grader. High school teachers can’t assign big literary works to their students. They don’t have the attention span for it. So that plays a part, too.

    On one website, I read where there are 4,000 books published every day. Does that seem even possible?

    This utter saturation also plays a part of the despair. It’s so incredibly difficult to get noticed and stand out, and I remind myself that musicians with dreams face this challenge, as do dancers, actors, playwrights, screenwriters, and so forth.

    So I keep refining my craft. The odds keep me humble and working hard.

    I read where the “democratization” of the Internet led to an explosion of millions of voices being heard, but it seems to me that the Internet requires controversy to be noticed, not necessarily talent, which is what I think reality shows thrive on, outrageousness, not talent.

    Every now and then, though, when I hear Adele sing – and I think she’s got powerhouse talent — rises to the top, and it restores my faith that talent and perseverance still mean something.

    Please don’t feel too badly about the Patterson contest. Contests are terribly subjective, just as the literary world is. As the screenwriter William Goldman once said, “Nobody knows anything.” Nobody can predict a movie blockbuster, a bestselling book, or a breakthrough musical group.

    Heard a story about MTV introducing Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” at five o’clock in the morning, because they (the powers that be) didn’t feel it would be a hit. They were bombarded with calls after the song played. (It’s on Wikipedia, too, this story).

    • Cher Gatto on April 25, 2016 at 12:53 pm
    • Reply

    Kristen, I am always encouraged by your raw genuineness. Thanks for bringing a smile to my day!!! I forwarded your blog to my critique group and am anxiously awaiting my brownie points!!! Maybe a free first ten chapter critique or something ;)… I’ll keep waiting to hear back!!!

  17. Focus? What’s that? I lost that about six years ago.

    Seriously, thanks for posting this. I needed it today, especially when I’m on the verge of a book release. *bites nails*

    • gayleckrause on April 25, 2016 at 1:16 pm
    • Reply

    All this is so very true. It’s nice to know we’re not alone. 🙂

  18. Had booth at a local Woman’s Expo. Talked to a woman at another booth with several writers. She didn’t write my genre (hers was middle-school adventure fiction) still, when she told me about how great her sales were going, stating, “It’s a God thing,” I couldn’t help but think, what about me? I believe in God too. Why doesn’t God bless my writing? Maybe it’s just not my turn. Will be blogging about this.

    1. The way I see it, God wants me to write, so I write. It’s up to God what happens then. I owe him obedience – he doesn’t owe me nuthin’.
      (If you’re tempted to feel jealous, just remember: the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Will she still be able to say “it’s a God thing” when sales slide?)
      I guess what I’m trying to say is that we need to do the work we’re given the best we can, and let God decide what to do with it. Success isn’t a certain level of sales figures, it’s doing what God wants you to be doing.

    • Julie Dibble on April 25, 2016 at 1:18 pm
    • Reply

    This was refreshing as an ice cold glass of tingling lemonade on a sweltering summer day. Thank you for your honesty. I am a newbie at just about everything that has to do with being a Christian Speaker and Author, but I am led by the One who loved me before I was created and who saved me from a Satan – stronghold of a life. I have lots to share in His honor. I have begun to take breaks from social media where apparently temptations to feel less -than exist in the most innocent of posts. I also pray but not as much as I need to, after reading this. Thank you for that wisdom!

  19. Thank you, Kristen. I am good at what I do but the more I have to repeat that to myself as rejection (or silence) keeps coming, the less convincing it is. Or the more I imagine myself rocking in a corner as I say it. Watching the successes around me can be hard as I find my teeth clenching a little tighter with each smile, but honesty with myself gives me the chance to breath and come out both genuinely happy for others and ready to enter the ring again. Thanks for the reminders. Love your blog! 😀 <- (that's the no teeth clenching version)

      • Maree on February 5, 2018 at 5:34 pm
      • Reply

      How did you past this feeling Valerie?

  20. I needed to hear this. I’ve been putting off writing because I’m “tired” when I’m really just having doubts about my work. It’s easy to look at everyone else’s writing and think that you can never do as well as that.
    But after reading this post, I’m ready to write again! 🙂

    • Eugenie Black on April 25, 2016 at 1:46 pm
    • Reply

    Yes I’m discouraged. You spoke right into my quagmire and morass today. Thank you. Yes – my best story so far is going – absolutely nowhere….. Far too much introspection, no action. And I can’t drag it out of the bog! My hero has escaped from the guy who wants to murder him (for the time being). He thinks he’s safe. He has to build himself up so that when the baddie catches up with him he’s ready…… but – blech… And this hero was last time’s baddie (I liked him far better when he was bad!) I have enrolled on your class – because I’m obviously confused…

  21. Kristen, I never miss reading your posts. I’m in the newbie writer category with no publishing “try” history. However, I know what I’m in for! I live in the real world. (chuckling) Love your one liners “hair flips,” “weeps.” And the black and white cartoons…copied to keep the laugh alive when needed. Thanks! Have a wonder-filled week. ? Elizabeth

  22. One of your best, my friend, and one I needed to read today. Was contemplating my name — that usually works for a while. Guess I’ll just sit down and write some more. 🙂

  23. Tired? Yes. Stubborn? That too. I could’ve given up and walked away so many times. I still could. I struggle to be consistent in my blogging, to be present on social media. To just keep up!

    But then I get encouragement, from friends, from editors. I get back up, press on and keep moving forward. I know I can make this work for me, I know I have stories to tell that people out there will read. It just won’t happen overnight, and I am learning to be okay with it.

    I have this novel/series I’ve been working on since 2010. At one time I had agents who put it in front of a senior editor at one of the Big Six. This editor told my agents, “I adore this book! I’m getting people to read it this weekend and corporate behind it.” Agents were 90% certain she would come back with an offer the following Monday. Hubby and I started counting the money.

    Then Hurricane Sandy hit New York, a few weeks later this Big Six publisher announced a merger… and I never got that book deal.

    But I did get another one, and now I have a dog training book published that I’m very proud of. I just have to work on getting word out that it exists… 😉

    And… get that novel, which I’ve re-written, revised and had edited out there into the big world. I will, too. I feel like Dory though – Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

    Reading your blog, Kristen, has helped me more than you know. Thank you!

  24. OMG, I haven’t read your blog in so long I’m embarrassed to come back. But here I am and I apologize for my hiatus. It wasn’t intentional.
    I loved this post, Kristen, because it describes how I’ve felt SO often since 2009 when I bought a MacBook and wrote my first novel. You’ve touched on literally all the salient points of what it’s like to be a writer. I love writing but trying to get an agent or sell my books is not something I love at all. And as the years go by and I see everyone ELSE finding agents and earning money for their books, it’s hard not to be ticked off and angry and humbled and tortured over the whole thing.
    But, hey, I’m not alone. And that makes me feel better.
    Thank you.

  25. Yes, this is getting back to more of the real stuff. I think it is necessary to go one step further. When I was a young nineteen-year-old journalist my mentor told me a truth I didn’t want to accept–that there are ten great writers for every living for a great writer that the market can support. That hasn’t changed appreciatively. Yes, we now have self-publishing. We have lost freelance newspaper writing entirely. We were a profession. We went the way of blacksmiths. Writers have gained some but lost just as much. And just as there were ten hungry freelancers for every newspaper string in the 1990s, there are now ten hungry authors for every mid-lister making a modest living. Sure, there is an occasional genius who stands head and shoulders above the crowd. But mostly there are A LOT of good writers out there. Yes, there are lots who aren’t good too–those who haven’t put in the time, study or years of experience. But there are also a lot of very skilled wordsmiths and not nearly enough writing-livings to be had. The vast majority of us will fail even if we do the work and take the long, hard road, which is the only road to success there is. That’s a fact and it has been hard to stomach.

    But writers write. The fact that you will probably never make a living from it is no reason not to do it. We write because we cannot help ourselves, not because we get paid.

    • Heather Barclay on April 25, 2016 at 2:50 pm
    • Reply

    Are you in my head? What you have said about discouragement in your unique way made me chuckle with delight to know that someone else “knows,”. Thank you,

    Heather Barclay

  26. The dip? First book bomb. Check. Earned enough money to buy lunch. Once. Check. For me, this is how I’m starting out. There’s a dip coming up? OMG.

  27. ALL my writer friends and acquaintances and people who only got interested in writing last night have surpassed me. LOL “Jan, you are your own worst enemy. Get over it.”

  28. I am LIVING the “I’m probably not good enough” phase. Hopefully, it is just a phase. My WIP has been “in progress” for much too long, and I feel like I’m over it! I want to be “done” with this one so I can start over, but refuse to sit my a#% down and do it! Thanks for your words of commiseration. I will finish. I swear!

    • Denise McInerney on April 25, 2016 at 3:08 pm
    • Reply

    OMG! i need a t-shirt with the “easy way/my way” illustration! I think you’ve just encapsulated my entire life. Is the image your own? Seriously, make up some t-shirts with this pic and I’ll be first in line to buy!!! And thank you for this awesome post. Just what I needed to hear today.

  29. Great post. I’ve experienced all of that. I also think I have to remember that my own timeline isn’t going to be like everyone else’s timeline. I’m a stay at home mom with four kids under ten and they NEED me. I get up at 5:00am to write and write when they are in bed, but sometimes it all just takes-too-looong. It’s hard not to be jealous of my childless writer friends who are just doing wonderful things with their writing. BUT, I’m doing pretty wonderful things too and that’s what I try to focus on.

  30. I never actually watched The NeverEnding Story…. so very glad I didn’t now. It would have damaged me for life.

    But yeah, the “I’m thrilled you did that–I never could have won that contest”, the “I’m just not that into this story anymore”, etc…… the stories we tell ourselves when we are afraid to let free our darker humanity.

    Thing is… we all have shadows. They’re a part of us. It just takes a bit more light to cut them down to size.

    • annaerishkigal on April 25, 2016 at 4:38 pm
    • Reply

    I wallowed on the pity-party express about a year before shaking out of it. It’s a nasty process, this feeling of working so hard and not getting ahead. But all you can do is acknowledge the sentiment, and then take action so you don’t continue to sink.

    • susanfaw on April 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm
    • Reply

    Having just dipped my toe into the frigid waters of publication, I must admit I am feeling discouraged right now. My reviews have been fine for the most part….except when it comes to reviews by “reviewers” and they have not be kind. It’s not about kind, and i am not looking for a pat on the back, but I just wish that someone before publication would have said, “Hey, Sue, this aspect SUCKS.” lol… sham, fraud, wanna-be all these terms are floating around in my head. I want to get it right. My own perfectionism is tripping me up, and always the fear is there. What if I REALLY DO SUCK as a writer? lol ahhhhhhhhh!!!!! Thanks for hitting the tender spot. I know the perfect antidote. STOP READING REVIEWS lol. I am going to put that in a very big sticky note that I have to move every single day.

    1. What I do when I get a bad review is I go read the one-star reviews for authors I love and books I know I loved. When you see that even the greatest of all writers endures the same thing it helps ground you that there is no such thing as the perfect book. ((HUGS))

    • Mary on April 25, 2016 at 5:14 pm
    • Reply

    I’m tired a lot, like A LOT. But I read posts like these and gain what I need from them, I commiserate with others, and like you I tackle it head on and then MOVE ON. Thank you. James should have totally picked you. I do, every week.

  31. Thank you for this article. I am relatively a newbie. I’ve written on a blog four years, but recently have started submitting pieces to published of short fiction and poetry. And working a novel. I don’t know where the future leads but I know I’ve been given this talent and will keep nurturing it and trying to get better. Maybe one day I’ll have a good break but maybe never. Whether someone else likes what I read I can’t control. I just do my best and leave the rest to fate.

  32. Wow! My favorite blog, bar none. From the heart. Yes, I would imagine they all are; but this one resonated with me. That thick skin we are all suppose to have comes off when the attacker is ourselves; form that we have no armor.
    I love how you keep getting up and not following with the rest of us, but taking the lead. That’s a cold wind to take, day after day. I hope you know many of us will gladly give you our coat and a warm hug for all you have done for us. Rock on, Boss!

  33. LOL on the racy rodents trending. 😀

    You’re right. The best way to cope is to admit it and move on from there. Great post!

    • we2wises on April 25, 2016 at 6:40 pm
    • Reply

    This is probably a really, really, really, really (ad infinitum) stupid question. What do you do if you know in your bones that you want to write, but there’s absolutely nothing coming? I know what genre I want (I think), I know I want it to be some sort of law enforcement/dystopian book maybe in the future (possibly). That is where the “I’m just tired of being discouraged” comes in. What do you do to finally hone in to what and how you want to write? Thanks, Lori

    On Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 11:54 AM, Kristen Lambs Blog wrote:

    > Author Kristen Lamb posted: ” We have all heard the saying, The truth > shall set you free. But what many people may not realize is the truth > doesn’t set us free from others. It sets us free from ourselves. Like our > characters, we are often blinded by our own lies and since we ar” >

  34. Thank you for this. I truly have felt this way over and over again. Right now I’m at the stage that I’m about to publish again, but if the sales aren’t what I hope for and I don’t at least make my money back, then I’m going to go into the darkness once more. Or the reviews suck, etc. It truly hurts to be there, when you work so hard to get what you want. But I eventually work my way out of it by stepping away and doing some ME things. Right now I’m on the HIGH part, so I’m going to enjoy it. 🙂

  35. Loved your post and its spot on. Sometimes it is just dumb luck. *head desk*

  36. Reblogged this on S Burke. Author and commented:
    A fascinating and insightful post I believe all writers will benefit from reading.

  37. Powerful and insightful. I have reblogged this. Thank you Kristen.

  38. Been there often enough that I’ve given up writing for years at a time, focusing on the income producing day job, only to return later to try again. And give up again. . .

    • saybeller on April 25, 2016 at 8:25 pm
    • Reply

    I am squarely in the “why the hell do I even try” place. I’ve built an adorable little bungalow here so I can be comfortable while I wallow. Thanks for writing this. It’s nice to know I’m not alone!

  39. There are times in life it pays to be stubborn and ignore the apparent facts. The Dip is one of them, I feel.
    Also, how did you manage to get the baby photos of the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog? A quest of great cunning and terrible dangers dared must have been required.

  40. Funny that you posted this, and I’m sure I’m not the first one to make that comment here, but I blogged about my feeling of self-doubt last week. It wasn’t in regard to my writing, although, if I have to be completely honest, it was. I’ve started training to run in a 5k in October. I started with run/walk intervals, one minute each, 10 intervals and last week, on my last one minute run, a voice popped into my head telling me I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t good enough and I never will be. Why should I bother? No one knows I exist and no matter what I do, they never will.

    Anyway, I talked myself into giving up, but when I looked at my watch, my run time was up. I made it. But I was still “tired”. Still am.

    Honestly, before reading your post, I had myself pretty much talked into stopping. Stop writing, stop blogging, stop everything. I guess it’s nice to know I’m not alone in feeling this.

    I will say, I’m tired of being “tired”.

  41. So true. I felt unworthy to call myself a writer. Guilty of lacking a college education. I know it isn’t necessary, but funny how the muse returns when I recently enrolled in college to go after my Business AA. Maybe I’ll learn to market my books in the process.
    Great post!

  42. I have definitely hit a slump like that. Crossing from a place where everyone loves you, hangs off your every word, and begs for more– to a place where people treat you as someone less than the cockroach eating dried gum from the bottom of a shoe (at least the bug has a purpose). Yup. But, as the fish says, Just Keep Swimming!

    • Patty H. on April 25, 2016 at 10:44 pm
    • Reply

    Yep. Over 10 years writing while running my business, raising kids, keeping up a house, volunteering, caring for aging parents, etc. Two novels completed, another started. I attend conferences, enter contests, cold query and pitch face to face, have a great critique group. I’ve done the workshops bought the work books, talked the positive talk. I’ve watched my friends climb the ladder and I’ve cheered for them, pimped their books. Repeatedly. With a smile. Is the universe trying to tell me to just knock it off already? Especially, when the agent that LOVES your pitch and asks for the full and assures you that you will hear something–one way or another–goes awol. No response to sent material or months later, a follow up email. Or the ‘good’ rejections (“I love it! I just don’t love it enough.” Um.Ok.) I’m running a marathon where the finish line keeps moving farther away from me. Tired? Yep.

    • allenbookclub on April 25, 2016 at 11:04 pm
    • Reply

    Oh I needed this blog today tonight right this minute. I should not have checked Amazon author central. No, I should not have done that. I should have just knuckled down and rewritten that last sucky chapter. Because, I started feeling sucky after that only zero books have sold in three days, and feeling sucky is definitely not a good place to be when rewriting sucky. And then spending three hours applying to be adjunct faculty at the local college where you will still get paid if nobody buys your book ends up sucking all that is sane and sanctimonious from your brain. Yes. If only I had read this blog before it’s night. But tomorrow. Tomorrow I will reread it and not be jealous. I will not be tired. I will not camp in the swamp of sadness. I will name it and claim it. I will not spend three hours comparing the merits of soft sided vs hard sided packing cubes or alphabetize the wine. I will rewrite that chapter and be happy in my journey. And maybe drink a glass of wine when the packing cubes arrive.

  43. Thank you. The truly discouraging weeks of rewriting the same few chapters, again and again and again, seem to be ending, but I still needed this post. Thanks for telling it like it is.

  44. Thanks for this. A friend of mine, with whom I’ve been despairing in the trenches, sharing my cookies and milk and writerly advice, just got an offer of representation from an agent. I truly am happy for her — I know how hard this girl has worked, how much she wants to be published traditionally, so I don’t begrudge her this fantastic opportunity. She deserves this more than some authors out there, may I be so bold to say. I sent her a congratulatory email, letting her know how proud I am of her accomplishment.

    But it does feel like the clock is now ticking that much louder for me. There is a wee bit of “what about meeeee?” I have to admit. And if I thought I was exhausted before, I am catatonic now.

    This post is a great boost though. I have been able to put my feelings of envy into perspective, and not take anything out on her or myself. I want to let her achievement help push me forward. But feeling drained is more prevalent than ever — don’t know how to beat that.

  45. I wrote all this “stuff” and then deleted – I’ll just say: Word. cause I’m tired *laugh* But I will say, there is something good that has come out of my “once she was so prolific, and now she hasn’t written a novel in over 2 years!” — this stepping back; this exploding my life into smithereenical pieces, has brought me, not without a lot of angst and struggle, back to why I first began writing – because I love it, because I’m good at it, because it gave me joy. If I can hold onto that and not struggle against it so much — not have so danged many Expectations — write as I did before I even thought about publishing and royalties and reviews (oh my!), then I can be Free, and I can sit down and create without the nail-clawed fingers of anxiety squishing my innards.

  46. I love this! You’re completely on point with this, and I’ve reached “The Dip” quite recently. You’ve made me feel less isolated with this post, and for that I thank you!

  47. Thanks for this. I’ve been fighting with illness for six months or so now and my writing has utterly dried up. I’ve tried to start new projects to get back into the swing of things and the writing is just wooden and painful. My question is how do you restart after a long break? Before this I wrote thousands of words a day for years.

  48. This is great! And so true about hitting “the DIP.” I attended a writing conference (UW Writer’s Institute, Madison, WI) a few weeks ago where Hank Phillippi Ryan, the keynote speaker, talked about all of this. (She was phenomenal, btw.) How amazing and frustrating the world of writing is!

  49. Reblogged this on One Writer's Journey by Chris Owens and commented:
    Nice piece by Kristen Lamb about those times when everyone else seems to be landing an agent or book deal and you feel like you’re dead in the water. Success can seem so far away, the only was to make it any nearer is to keep working.

  50. So much of this article resonated with me – especially the ‘why bother’ bit. You’ve given me much to think about. I might even get my current WIP finished. Maybe.

  51. I’m not so much “stuck” (I look at my bank balance versus my bills and panic sets in, which is a great motivator and how I ended up blowing up a moose two days before deadline… True story.) as I am looking at how do I reach out to a broader audience. I realize that as a writer who’s specialized in romance for so long, and indie-publisher published, it’s up to ME to branch out. I’m starting to self-pub my more mainstream books. I have fantastic readers, many of whom will cross genres into the non-smexy books. And at 100 titles as one pen name, it’ll take a while to build up the other one. And that it’s starting at the bottom in some ways, but that the long-tail game is always my focus.

    For me, since this IS my primary income, I have forced the “guys in the basement” to short-circuit the switch that some people have that turns “off” their writing for a while. I literally cannot afford to do that. Writing is actually a refuge for me when emotionally I feel in a dark place. (If I could REALLY kill people with my mind I’d be on a shit-ton of watch lists, just sayin’…)

    My health is another issue. I have fibromyalgia, CFS, arthritis, and some weird cardiac-related thing that two doctors have scratched their head at, threw meds at me to control the symptoms, and said, “It’s probably related to your fibro.” I can’t just go “get a job.” This IS my job because I can lie (lay?) in bed or on the couch with my laptop and still be working.


    Despite getting the flu shot this season, I got hit, HARD, with flu last month. Literally I refused coffee and didn’t even open my computer one day, spent a whole day in bed and ended up with a migraine as a result. Fought with it for nearly a week with the fever and stuff, coughing up green gak longer. BUT that REALLY hit me hard emotionally. Here I was, deadlines looming (hamster wheel) and I’m LAYING (LYING?) AROUND IN BED LIKE A SLACKER. (I pretty much work every day in some way.)

    In fact, yes, crazy writer, my little dog Gidget “talks.” And one of her things she says to me when she comes looking for me when she finds I’ve left the writing cave is, “Why ah U owt heer slacking, slacker?”

    I guess that’s pretty telling, huh?

    Yeah, I’m a Taurus. (How’d you guess?) And I’m still scrambling to “catch up” from having been “sick.” The fibro I can deal with because at least if I’m exhausted or in pain, I can work. The flu had me seriously asking Hubby if I coded at some point to please not call 911 so I could just DIE because the deep body PAIN was off-the-charts horrible. (And I have a pretty high pain threshold because of my fibro, etc.) And I couldn’t work while being sick-sick.

    Self-care is very crucial for writers. We don’t always realize that. I’m at a point now where I won’t say negative reviews don’t “bug” me, but 9 times out of 10, I’ll just shrug it off. They don’t burrow under my skin like a tick like they did when I was a newbie author. That’s self-care, for me to remind myself, “It’s just their opinion, look at ALL the other opinions that loved/liked it.” And I do.

    On my whiteboards in my office, I have a few things written that I periodically change/update. My long-range goals, so I don’t forget and lose sight. Some of them are flowery, new-agey, and a few are downright brutal. “Suck it up, buttercup!” is one of those. I am making a living from my writing. I’m no Stephen King, and I’m not in the 6-figure range. At any given time right now I’m one quarterly payment away from financial disaster, but if I put it into perspective, while it’s a grind, I’m actually living my dream. I always wanted to be an author for a living–and I am. It’s a lot of sacrifice.

    I see writers sometimes get discouraged because they aren’t where they want to be as writers, and when I look at their feed, it’s full of their family stuff, fun stuff, etc, etc etc. That’s fine, but they need to adjust their goals. It’s OKAY to have a day job and write on the side. It’s OKAY not to be a “superstar.” While I HAVE to make a living with my writing, I don’t do this first for the money. I do this because even if I could work an outside job and that was my primary income, I’d STILL be a writer and STILL be writing, because I’ve been a writer since high school. All the years I did other things, I wrote on the side. If I ever have to go back to writing computer tutorials for a living to bring in more income, I’ll STILL be writing fiction. Because it’s who I AM.

    Any writer who is in this business first to make money will be sadly disappointed and prone to comparing themselves to other writers.

    That is NOT the same as saying that love of the art is not compatible with wanting to make a living at it.

    HOWEVER… Tough love here. I see a lot of writers who are in their 30’s and 40’s who say they never dreamed of writing a book before, they decided to write one, WHY IS IT NOT MAKING MONEY?

    Um……..? Where do you want me to start?

    I was TERRIFIED to try to publish my fiction, which I’d been writing at that point for over 25 years. I’d been writing non-fiction and editing professionally for several years, the whole time working on my craft and honing my skills. At the time, Hubby changed jobs where he got a bump in pay that almost doubled his pay. He “gently” told me to stop writing the tutorials and focus on my fiction.

    “BUT…BUT…I MAKE MONEY WITH THE TUTORIALS!” (Which, admittedly, wasn’t a lot but at the time it covered our mortgage payment every month.) I was TERRIFIED. (Hubby’s also a fiction writer, I should add, and a former journalist, so he “got” it.) But he was right, I had to try.

    Back to the tough love part of this: I’ve seen these same people who complain they’re not making money, when I look at their Kindle sample, their books are full of typos, the cover blurb is a hot mess verging on a Dumpster fire, and their social media feed for their pen name is 99.9% BUY MY BOOK!

    Um…I walk away without comment.

    You have to have a LOVE for this craft before you can make money for it. The two are NOT incompatible. BUT…

    Do you REALLY want to see a doctor who is ONLY in it for the money? Or because they want to try to make a difference in people’s lives? Or because they are fascinated by the human body (in a non-Dexter kind of way) and enjoy medicine?

    Do you REALLY want to use an attorney who is ONLY in it for the money? Or because they felt a pull to want to make a difference, to study law, enjoy the intricacies of what they do?

    Do you REALLY want to use a mechanic who is ONLY in it for the money? Who will possibly slap more things onto your car that you don’t really need because that pads the final bill, or do you want a mechanic who from a young age was fascinated by how things ran and maybe even had a knack for it?

    I’m not saying there’s not a monetary element there. There is, we’re human. HOWEVER, if money is THE first thing that comes to mind when you’re writing, that shows. It shows in everything you do as a writer. People see that. People read that. People back off because they want to FEEL how much you love writing and are SERIOUS about your craft.

    “BUT I DO LOVE WRITING YOU SNARKY BITCH!” Okay, that’s fine, fair statement. However, how many writing classes (in person or online) have you taken? How many writing magazines are you subscribed to? How many writing websites do you visit on a regular basis? How many critique forums have you frequented over the years? Do you have a shelf full of writing/filmmaking books that teach art and craft? Do you know who Joseph Campbell is and what the hero’s journey is, or Save the Cat!, or beat sheets, or a three-act structure, or how to critically analyze a book/movie to pick it apart and see what works and what doesn’t, or how to avoid head-hopping when in an omniscient third-person POV, or…?

    Those are valid questions. LOVING what you do isn’t enough. LOVING what you do enough to constantly dig into the hows and whys of it is part of it.

    The lightning strikes are just that–random chance.

    If you’re in writing as a long-term career choice, then you need to treat it every bit as seriously as a doctor or attorney or mechanic and constantly be working to improve. If you are fortunate enough to have an evil day job that pays the bills, you are LUCKY! And look at it like that, that you ARE lucky, because it gives you FREEDOM to write and grow. If you’re like me and writing IS the EDJ, there’s always a panicky, desperation to the process, but fortunately for me I’m a Taurus and my personality sort of says CHALLENGE ACCEPTED most of the time and comes up with all sorts of fun stuff. (Fun literally, not sarcastically.)

    Would I love to hit Powerball and be able to relax and take weekends off? Duh.

    But I can’t. And that’s okay. I’m in this for the long-haul.

    Long story short (TOO LATE, TYMBER!) all writers need perspective.

    1) Do I have an EDJ that pays my bills?
    2) WHY am I writing? What is my long-term goal?
    3) What can I do to take my writing to the next level?
    4) What can I do to change/improve my social media presence? Am I too spammy? Am I actually interacting with my readers or am I trying for gimmicks to get more followers?


    I created that Walken/Busey 2016 meme, just something that took me 5 minutes and made me giggle, I tossed it up on my Facebook page and walked away giggling.

    It literally went viral and I FREAKED OUT. I PANICKED. I was on IM with my bestie later that night as I was literally hitting refresh and seeing the page stats skyrocket, and she’s like, BREATHE, take a Xanax. Because MILLIONS of people, over 19 million just off my page, saw the thing.

    But guess what? It didn’t translate into book sales. Which I knew it wouldn’t, because a lot of people (most) sharing it were not my target audience. But that was okay, too.

    It actually gave me some insight into the “self-sabotage” mindset we hear about. How people get famous and then seem to do stuff that deliberately knocks the pyramid down that they worked so hard to build. I was literally panicked about how visible I suddenly was. It was scary. I can now understand why people do that. But I learned from that, too. I realized that in some ways I didn’t put enough faith in myself even though I had friends and readers bombarding me with congratulations and laughing at how many times they were seeing it crop up on their feeds.

    Especially that they were seeing it crop up on highly straight-laced, conservative friends’ pages.

    Ahem. *cough*

    NOT my target audience.

    It was a valuable lesson. Visibility =/= equal sales. My sales come from readers who enjoy my work, my core group of supporters, many of whom are on my Fb group. I’m building a sustainable backlist instead of trying to get one big lucky strike.

    More importantly, I’m writing stuff I’m PROUD of. Technically and content-wise. Do I wish I was making more money? Yeah, but I’m not going to go chasing genres that I have no interest in just to try to cash in. It would show in my writing, and would actually lose me readers.

    I think too many writers have unrealistic expectations because they heard about the “bubble” before KDP was opened to all writers and not just publishers. Then KU 1 and now KU 2. But keep in mind some of those high-money earners in KU now are actually scammers. (There are people with videos on YouTube teaching this garbage.) So while it’s easier than ever to become published, it’s harder than ever to get discovered.

    Which rolls back into what you’ve always taught us: We have to reach our core readers. It might only be one at a time at first, but eventually they will give us word-of-mouth advertising, and it will grow. But we have to be patient and use that “waiting” time wisely and keep moving forward.

    So thank you, Kristen, for sticking by our sides and reminding us we’re human, and nudging us in the smart direction. I personally appreciate everything you do in this blog, because time and time again, I’ve seen how RIGHT you are. I rarely disagree with you on anything. You’ve been a HUGE help, and you’re one of the first sites I always refer newbie writers to. You don’t sugar-coat stuff, you don’t try to teach people scammy methods, and you give us kicks in the pants.


    (Sorry this is so long.)

    1. I also was recently diagnosed with Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. I found out my rental house has black mold and I’m hoping moving will stop the constant flairs and weird symptoms I keep getting. If not, I’ll find the next doctor to bother.

      The writing has dried up with all the health issues, stress, and lack of energy. Glad to see I’m not the only one struggling. Hugs.

  52. Reblogged this on Tymber Dalton and commented:
    Another great one from Kristen Lamb. I see so many writers in my feed lately feeling like this.

    • Linda Pitler on April 26, 2016 at 11:16 am
    • Reply

    I’m not a writer. I think you can take these feelings and apply them to any kind of a work situation. Right at this point in time, it certainly applies to mine. You’re right. All you can do is the best you can do and hope it’s enough. I

  53. Thank you for this. That nagging question–Am I wasting my time?–rings louder and louder in my head. Call it Writer’s Tinnitus. But when I quit writing, it makes me sad. So I will redefine success and lower my expectations and plug along.

    Please blog more about this!

    • mcm0704 on April 26, 2016 at 1:20 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks so much for your honesty, Kristen. I used to think I was an awful person because that little green monster would rear it’s ugly head when friends and colleagues had good news to share and all my news should have been flushed. Like you mentioned in the post, I always wait just a bit to get the monster out of the way so I can genuinely congratulate the person. I think taking that pause, however long it needs to last, is always a good thing to do any time the temptation arises to write some hasty note that we are sure to regret if it comes from a highly charged emotion.

  54. When I get discouraged by low sales, I remind myself of how much I enjoyed writing the story. I think of the people who told me it made them laugh. I think of the person who thanked me for writing it. If even a few people loved it, it was worth my time. Thanks for the post. Your honesty is refreshing.

  55. Damn! While I was sitting on my pity pot, I needed to be reading you!!! Thanks for the reminder, Buddy! 🙂

  56. Reblogged this on GILLIAN DOYLE.

  57. Great to read this blog after flying home from a long weekend with my writer-buddies of 30+ years. We had been through the highs and lows of publishing with the Big Six and are now going the Indie route. But I had moved to another state two years ago, and missed our get-togethers to share the good and the bad. As I listened to myself recite all the reasons why I have been doing writing business but not actual writing, I realized how much I have been allowing the feeling of hopelessness to take control. My writer-friends (and this post) remind me I am not alone in my struggle with the demons of despair. Thank you.

    • janarichards on April 27, 2016 at 9:58 am
    • Reply

    Every time I get my royalty payments I wonder why the hell I’m doing this. I’d make much more money as a Walmart greeter. Thanks for letting me know the frustrations and wondering if I’m good enough are not mine alone.

      • janarichards on April 27, 2016 at 10:14 am
      • Reply

      Reblogged this post at

    • Sherry on April 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm
    • Reply

    I’m there. Jealousy hasn’t been a problem to recognize, but revising my YA ms is overwhelming and hate re-reading it AGAIN. lol. Several of my critique members have published or are moving rapidly towards their goals while I seem paralyzed, frustrated, and just plain tired.

      • Sherry on April 27, 2016 at 1:15 pm
      • Reply

      Reblogged this post at

  58. Thanks so much for your honesty, Kristen. I often struggle with so many of the things you’ve mentioned. I’ve been diagnosed with depression, so my go to excuse is “the depression is getting the best of me today.” Te reality is I’m often feeling the sadness due to lack of sales, frustration with the slow progress of my work in progress, or simple despair that more people don’t seem interested in giving my sweet romances a try.
    On a brighter note, I heard a quote recently that I try repeating daily. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I use that to remind myself that I CAN’T get caught up in what others are doing. I need to focus on how I’m doing. Writing books is not a competition with others. It’s a competition with myself to write the best book I can.
    Anyway, thanks again for your honesty. You’re the best!

  59. I cried.
    Thank you for reminding me that I need to name it before I can finally move through it.
    Thank you ?

    1. Me too, Hon. It’s been a rough time for most of us and it happens. But it is HUGELY beneficial to be honest what is really wrong or we are just putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound ((HUGS)).

  60. Reblogged this on Sizzling Romance and commented:
    I’ve read three articles tonight about this very phenomenon and they are all great!

  61. I agree with all of this. Sometimes it’s so hard to keep your eyes on your own paper.

  62. Loved the post- forwarded it to my sister, Roxanne, who is also a writer. Big thanks for reminding us.

  63. I most definitely did cry when Artax went under. :'( My recent bout of despair was for another reason outside of writing. Usually I can get myself out of a rut, but sometimes when I’ve been there for a few days, the rut gets comfortable. And when that happens, it is even more difficult to get my motivation back. I’m reading your blog and other writers’ blogs in order to inspire myself out of it, and I think it’s working. 🙂

    • Patti on April 28, 2016 at 6:33 pm
    • Reply

    I am discouraged and can’t focus on writing the next book in the series. My husband thinks I’m depressed about life in general . . . well, maybe . . . but mostly it’s the fact I spent over a year of my life writing an 80,000 word novel, published it on CreateSpace and it’s going nowhere fast. I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall. Can’t advertise on Amazon because they say my book cover is too suggestive. (The guy doesn’t have a shirt on.) And I don’t care how many times friends on Facebook post about not competing with their fellow writers. I don’t believe it. I could go on but what’s the point?

    1. The point is writers write because they love it. The business side gets depressing, but truth is ten years ago you may have never gotten to ever hold your work in your hands as a finished copy. You might have just spent your life querying. So look to the art. Go back and write more. Most authors don’t make it off one book, even the “biggies”. ((HUGS))

  64. You sure know writers. There wasn’t a thing I read that I haven’t felt at one time or another. I admit I have only been at this for six years, but its six years I wouldn’t trade for anything, because its true – one has to go through the process and write every day or as much as you can – in order to get good (or feel a good move towards improvement). I look at my writing the first day I sat down compared to today. For that I’m proud but have I made any money? Uhhh…(I’m looking at the ceiling.) If I get the gumption up enough to send in my submissions and grit my teeth, perhaps I’ll find out. I always seem to come up with a good reason why I have something else to work on for my book series and not my submissions, which is a whole other process in the writing business. I wish someone would teach a class on Synopsises and Submissions. Whenever i get too down on my self, I remember author Jodi Picoult’s words, who I visited at a signing in Portland: “I hear alot of writers complain how hard it is to focus and find time to write when they have so much on their plate. I penned my first books with three young children to take care of and wrote as I spoon fed the baby, tied shoe laces, made lunches, changed diapers and helped with homework. I just did it.” Sometimes I think the more distractions around me, the better it is and the more I force myself to focus and write.
    Thank you for posting this. All the best, Kat Kent

    • alexadarin on May 4, 2016 at 10:45 am
    • Reply

    I’ve been tired A LOT! But it never stopped me from writing. I just started taking naps. Then I realized I was not, and never would be, good enough to be a REAL writer. (Though I am published.) So, why do I keep writing? It’s a good question that perhaps I’ll use to justify quitting one day. But for now, my answer is, practice makes perfect. And even if I never reach perfect, perhaps I’ll be good enough one day to satisfy the voices in my head that are constantly trying to lure me into giving up. Okay, must go now and get busy writing!

  65. This post really spoke to me. This is what I’m going through right now. I’m currently in the process of writing two novels, and my failure of gaining online popularity has really bothered me these past few months. I’m hoping things will get better, but I don’t see it happening. It makes me sad though, I really thought I had some unique book ideas readers would enjoy.

  66. Reblogged this on Jeannie Hall Suspense and commented:
    Stuck in a writing slump? Here’s help!

    • T R Hudgins on August 31, 2016 at 5:22 pm
    • Reply

    I’m sort of new to this writing thing. I say that because I am fearful of actually trying to be a serious writer. I just know I’m not good enough. Yeah, I’ve been writing fanfiction for years, and yeah, I have tons of hits on my stories (over 100k on 13 works of fiction), lots of raving comments on those stories, and plenty of readers who read anything I post. But that’s just fanfiction. It’s for fun. It’s about a group of people my readers and I all love. What happens when I remove the fandom from my writing?!

    You want honesty? Here it is: I fear rejection. I know it’s inevitable, so I just don’t try. Even though writing is my passion and being published is my life goal, I’d rather be a known fanfiction writer than a failed novelist.

    So how do I overcome that? How do I move past the rejection I know is coming to even get a whole novel ready for submission?

    I know I’m capable. I have written novel length fanfictions. I have ideas upon ideas just waiting for me to write them. And I LOVE writing! I’m just petrified. I want someone to tell me I’m good besides my husband (an avid reader) and my fanfic readers. I want someone who knows what it takes to tell me I have potential.

    That won’t happen though. I’m too lost in the sea of self doubt to risk exposing myself to give anyone the opportunity to read anything I’ve written.

    Please help me.

    • Negeen on April 27, 2017 at 6:21 pm
    • Reply

    This was exactly what I needed to read today. I have felt in the dumps, and “blocked” for weeks now. Life has been complicated and messy so I’ve resorted to telling myself that I am just “tired.” Of what, I am not exactly sure. Maybe it is that I’m tired of feeling like an imposter in a literary world I have just recently entered, or tired of feeling terrified that I can be great only that one time, that anything else will just be mediocre, that my skills were just some cosmic fluke. Maybe I am tired of failing. However, this post, as well as everyone’s comments, make it abundantly clear that I am not alone. That in and of itself, makes me feel less “tired” than just moments ago. And maybe, I can actually push myself to sit in front of the screen and write, something I’ve been avoiding for weeks now…

    • FXA on June 27, 2017 at 2:50 pm
    • Reply

    Go figure. I woke up and realized I’d hit the wall. I backtracked, but I hit the wall again.

    And then I found this.

    Sometimes I do feel I am all alone in this, that the road ahead is so very long, and dusty, populated with every dangerous being imaginable.

    Sometimes I think, Why bother? Why return to the computer. It’s never gonna happen.

    I see the faces of the people around me, how they look down when I pass, how they whisper about me—and the glee on their faces when they catch me with dust in my mouth from running after these most fleet-footed dreams.

    It’s not just the rejection I face but the lack of money, the tiredness you mention, the self-doubt, and worst of all, words that sometimes simply stop marching, arriving, trickling, pouring. And I wait, and wait, and still they don’t reappear. What is that? Why am I being taunted so? And how do writers really survive this sort of desert?

    The desert for me is a place to be buried by sand.

    Thank you Kristen, though. This is a ladder out of a well.

    And thanks to all who commented. I agree that it’s nice to be in the company of others who shoulder the same kind of aspirations as you do and play with the same tricks.

    Good luck to us all.

  67. I just got the ultimate rejection, and this is one you might not have seen before: Due to the untimely passing of our founding visionary, XXX, XXX is ceasing publication. We will not be able to consider your submission.

    My writing is so bad it actually killed an editor.

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