Monday, January 23, 2012

The Week I Almost Quit

Yes. Me. The determined, focused writer wanted to quit. The one who declared the "Q" word wasn't in her vocabulary.

I sat at my computer screen and flipped through the pages of my manuscript, wondering why I was putting myself through this agony. The endless classes, edits, re-writes, and rejections reached critical mass. Oh, and don't forget Social Media, which ate through my writing time like Pac-Man.

I'd experienced similar thoughts in the past, but this time was different. Weariness, sadness, and a whole range of emotions bombarded me. Thoughts like, "no one wants my story, maybe the timing is wrong, maybe I missed God with this whole novel thing," ran through my head non-stop.

Thank God for my writer friends, for the messages in church, and for the vision He put in my heart back in 2005. The next few Monday posts will catalog my battle with discouragement. In case you're wondering, I'm back - moving a bit slower, evaluating my next step, and keeping a sharp eye out for thoughts that pull me down.

Writers:  Does the New Year sometimes affect you in a negative way? How do you deal with discouragement?

Readers:  Discouragement isn't limited to writers. It can impact all areas of our lives. How do you handle this emotion?


Loree Huebner said...

I've been there. Sometimes you just need to step back...spend more time with God, and your family. Do some other things that you like to do. Sometimes the writing puts an unusual pressure on us. I take a break when I feel that pressure. I always come back feeling renewed.

Sending you a *hug*

Loree Huebner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. it's tough - but as you know we only have one life and we're so lucky we can be happy, change to do something else, take our minds of our challenge ..I just think of others when I get down. Though I have my moments being miserable! Just not fun .. so I pick myself up, dust myself off and take a positive look elsewhere for a while and then come back to my desire for my goal.

Good luck this week - cheers Hilary

Linda O'Connell said...

Susan, I get the IMPOSTER SYNDROME from time to time and feast on messages such as, "Yes, you can write, but you are really just a wanne be, and a never gonna be, why don't you go on and let it be?

Sometimes rather than wrestle with myself, I go through week or two week-long droughts. Then I get a burst of inspiration and like a rain cloud unleashing, my words flourish.

I believe even the best writers experience doubt. Even when we don't believe in ourselves, Gid believes in us. Glad you have it in control.

Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

Good post Susan, appreciate your honesty. Discouragement is such an inspiration killer. Curious to read your next post on this.

Karen Lange said...

Glad that you kept going, my friend. Cheering you on!

I find the new year brings regret at what I haven't done in the past. But my aim is to view it as more of a fresh start, and to revise old habits, and rethink how my hours are spent. All considered prayerfully, of course, for there is no point otherwise. :)


Melanie N. Brasher said...

Thanks for your honesty, Susan! I'm so new on this journey, and I agree with Linda that often I get the imposter syndrome as well. And lately, I've wondered if this first novel was a fluke. Am I able to duplicate?

I look forward to more reading these posts.

Nancy said...

I'm glad you got back on track. I'll be interested in what you have to say on the subject. I get discouraged more easily than I should. I just read some great Christian inspirations along with my Bible and I'm going again.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Oh goodness, have I ever been there! Sometimes stepping back for a break has been just the therapy I needed.

And to quote one of my son's favorite songs, I often have to pray, "Give me umption in my gumption. Help me function, function, function." There are certain days when this is the only thing I can pray. :)

Diane said...

Thanks for your honesty. I have those moments too and wonder what God wants me to do. Keeping on plugging on.... :O)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Loree - Thanks for the hug and good advice. :)

Hi Hilary - Having a positive outlook is important. I think of all the people who were told something was impossible, but they didn't give up.

Hi Linda - Oh, I know that one! Aren't those "fresh bursts of inspiration" wonderful? I could sure use some of those right now.

Hi Marja - The next 3 Monday posts will cover this subject.

Hi Karen - Thanks! For me, the challenge was to get moving again and regain my momentum.

Hi Melanie - After I wrote the first book, I wondered the same thing. Did I have more stories to share? I did. :)

Hi Nancy - While I love Christian fiction, I'm getting hungry for some non-fiction.

Hi Sarah - Oh, what a cute song with a great message! Maybe you could do a vlog so we could hear it?

Susan :)

DenaNetherton said...

Susan, Even though I'm working on the same projects, I often feel as if I'm starting all over in January. And I also deal with the fear that this will be the year that I realize I'm writing in vain. Then I tell myself, just like you, that God has called me and I must be obedient in spite of my feelings. Keep on writing, friend. You have some important things to say!

Kristen said...

I've been fighting this for the last few months. I write just enough to send something to my monthly critique group. Ahhh! It's frustrating because I know what i need to do, but I'm having a hard time getting motivated.
Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Oh yeah, wanting to quit gets the best of all of us. Writing can be so rewarding but for me it's also been one of the hardest things I've ever done. Perspective is always helpful, and so is encouragement from others that have been there before. I am glad you're still going!

quietspirit said...

I understand your thoughts. I have had that one several times. But God reminds me that He gave me this gift.
The New Year's time can affect me in both a negative and a positive way. I regret what I didn't accomplish but I look ahead to what I want to do for Him.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Dena - Thanks for your encouragement. I've been working on The Moses Conspiracy for 6 1/2 years and The Scent of Fear (the second in the trilogy) for 2 1/2 years. Each year, I wonder if this is the year I'll get an agent.

Hi Kristen - I can relate. The last month was brutal. I barely kept up with the blog and wrote a devotional.

Hi Cindy - There's a method to my madness. Sharing my struggles helps me be accountable, and hopefully all of you will pray for me.

Hi Quiet Spirit - Gratitude for His blessings is critical to holding the discouragement at bay.

Susan :)

JD said...

With the number of people you have following this blog alone--and I'm sure that number will only grow--I'd hope you'd never consider quitting again! Clearly, people want to read what you write and are inspired by you, can relate to you, etc. Keeps us all coming back, no? Glad you did not quit.


Chatty Crone said...

I have been there lots of times Susan - not in writing, but in my everyday life. It has been a struggle for me at certain times - but I keep on plugging a long - with help, books, friends, etc. and I tie a know a hang on. I do hope you are feeling okay and getting renewed. sandie

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Janette - I'm blessed to have so many loyal Followers. Thank you for your kind words.

Hi Chatty - Yes, we get discouraged in many areas of life. I'm glad the Lord sends people like you and my other writer friends to remind me of how blessed I am.

Susan :)

Christine said...

Looking forward to your posts! And praying for you here.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Christine -

Welcome! Thank you for your comment and prayers.

Susan :)

Rhonda Schrock said...

Wow, Susan. I can identify with you. I hit a very rough patch toward the end of the year. I can't wait to hear how you're battling through this.

I'm glad, friend, that you're back. And thank you, as always, for your words of encouragement.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, Susan, I'm so glad you're back! I know you were sick, and that adds to the discouragement.

I am fighting the winter blahs right now myself, on the verge of crying or eating a chocolate bar, or both!

My best weapon? Praise and worship music.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rhonda - The whole New Year thing hit me all wrong this year. Sorry you were also battling discouragement and hope my posts give you some ways to handle it.

Hi Jen - I sometimes think I'm keeping chocolate producers in business.

Praise and worship music are always a good idea. I've got some teaching CD's in my player, so I've been concentrating on those.

Susan :)