I'll admit, sometimes I feel like I never finish anything I start. But that feeling is a total lie—I've finished novels and short stories, written and produced several songs, finished multiple video projects—but yet that feeling can crush my motivation. And having connected with other writers, artists, and dreamers in the past, I know this feeling poisons many of us.
Why do we feel this way even when it's not true?
How do we define success?
Authors want to hit the New York Times best seller lists. Painters want their creations displayed in large museums and prestigious galleries. Filmmakers want their movies to win at the Oscars.
We've pulled our bowstrings as taut as we can and squinted along the lengths of our arrows, aiming right at the moon. We disregard what is normal or accepted and chase the vision anyway. And It's natural to dream big—in fact, it's vital.
But until we're "there", we feel like every step we've taken is only practice. We tend to think we have just been warming up on the treadmill—
—but we've actually been running the first leg of our marathon!
So here are three ways to outwit discouragement and beat the lies.
1. Celebrate the Things You Have Finished
Even the humble little projects that we didn't think mattered too much. The ones we put on a shelf in the closet or a box in the basement and never look at again. The ones we hid behind our backs in school because the other kids had cooler stuff. The ones only our moms know about.
See what you’ve done and admit your accomplishment. Compare it to having done absolutely nothing, and you will see how blessed you are to have made it this far.
Go back and review the projects you’ve finished. And the ones you almost finished. Don’t think about what you would have done differently—not right now. Just recognize that you have done something with your life.
2. Fellowship of the (w)R(it)ing
See what I did there? Clever. That’s what that was.
Get to know some other writers. Connect on blogs (like this one!), social media, conferences. Writing can be lonely sometimes—you can feel like nobody relates to what you go through. Just meeting other people who are understand what it’s like to be a writer will encourage you. Making friends with other writers who "get" you will help you stay motivated!
3. Read About Writing
Don’t do this to replace your writing habit, of course. But if you are beginning to look at your writing in the same way one regards a smelly piece of crumbling, moldy cheese, you either love bleu cheese or you're discouraged.
Sorry, I lost my train of thought.
If all your writing looks like garbage and you are slightly feverish, it might be time to chill out for a bit and read some writing blogs. If you want a great place to start, check out my post of the top 10 blogs for writers here.
Remember, you may also just be facing writer’s block. Check out my top five tips to get inspired in the face of writer's block here.
So bam … three ways to beat discouragement! You heard it here first …
And if nothing else helps you, read Eeyore Has a Birthday by A. A. Milne, in which Owl proves his writing skills to Pooh. This story is loaded with charm and we all are better authors than Owl. So there you go,
4. Read Eeyore Has a Birthday
Bonus tip! What value!
If A. A. Milne can't cheer you up, no author in the world can. No matter how old you are, this classic Winnie the Pooh story will warm your heart and give you a few laughs.
How do you beat discouragement?