One of the most challenging parts of writing for publication is staying positive during long waits for responses (or no responses), receiving passes after those long waits, and losing enthusiasm for a project that we were convinced would take the publishing world by storm. Publication frustration! So what can we do to keep going?

Two weeks ago I wrote about how I wanted to step up my writing game for picture books to give myself a better chance of getting accepted. It may work, it may not. But I need to do something different. And I wanted to move out of the funk I was finding myself in–hence this post.

You may have heard all of these before but I challenge you in the deepest way possible, to live them. Now. Knowing something in our heads is very different from knowing/feeling it in our hearts, in our very being.

Yes we’re going to feel discouraged at times and sometimes we can’t seem to shake it. In those cases, I like to allow discouragement to walk beside me or a little behind me for a bit, incorporating the following steps until I’ve left it far behind.

  • Immersing ourselves in a project we’re excited about. The reward truly has to come from “puzzling out the work itself” as Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic (HIGHLY recommend this book). Let’s face it, there are easier ways to make money. If we make it about the writing, then the excitement and energy comes from the challenge of making a scene work or choosing that perfect rhyming word and I LOVE those challenges!
  • Recognize and accept those things that are out of our control. Unless I’m Obi-Wan, I cannot mind trick an editor into loving my work and offering me a contract. Market realities, subjective taste and timing all play a part that is out of our hands. Besides, I want to connect with someone who loves my work as much as I do, who shares my vision for it, and who will champion it all the way.
  • Limit the bad-mouthing/criticism. It’s easy to point a finger to the anonymous “they” and blame “them” for not caring about “good writing” or being short-sighted for not taking us or our manuscripts on. But all that negative energy is taking away from our positive, creative energy. Let’s not turn over our power! Criticism and blame keep me stuck and I want to move forward.
  • Recommit to those things that are in your control. Write the best story possible. Have the most fun possible writing that story. Taking classes, joining a group, finding other writers to share our journey–all of these boost us; especially if we keep the industry complaining to a minimum.  🙂

Focus on what you can do, what’s in your grasp, in your circle of influence. Give the rest over to the Creativity Angels who will care for it as it moves through the industry.  😉

If you have additional strategies for leaving discouragement in the dust, please share!