Each time I fall into the writing dumpsI wonder if I’ll ever dig myself out. FortunatelyI always do. You’ve put too much time into this venture. Now is not the time to give up.
Here are my top five tips for re-energizing yourself when you feel like giving up.
Read Inspirational Stories About Writing and Writers
Take a writing break and read about other successful writers who weathered the storm. Here are two excellent books to get you started:
Knit Together: Discover God’s Pattern for Your Life by Debbie Macomber.
This book was such an inspiration to me. Macomber a best selling writer with more than 100 million books in print openly shares her story of writing rejection. Once you read about her writing journey you’ll close the book anxious to get back to your own novel.
Rotten Reviews & Rejections edited by Bill Henderson and Andre Bernard.
This book shares the rejection letters and stinging reviews received by many successful and prolific writers from Stephen King to Upton Sinclair to James Joyce and more. You’ll scratch your head at the discouraging rejection letters these wonderful writers received. They didn’t give up and you shouldn’t either.
Don’t Strive for Perfect Prose
Many new writers think that everything that flows from their computer must be golden. Hence if they write a few pages which doesn’t sound worthy of a Pulitzer they’re disappointed. Forget about writing a perfect first draft. The most important part of writing is rewriting. Just concentrate on finishing a first draft. Then revise until you’re pleased with the final product.
Set a Writing Goal
Make a commitment to write a set number of pages per week. Can you commit to writing 10 or 15 pages per week? Or maybe committing to write three hours a day or three days a week works better for you. Whatever goal you set make sure it’s realistic. Start out small and once you get into the flow of things increase the goal. And if you fall short one week don’t beat yourself up. There’s always next week.
Start a Writer’s Group
Put the word out that you’re looking to start a writer’s group. Tell friends family members and colleagues that you’re looking for three or four serious writers who would like to build a supportive writing environment for themselves and other writers. You’ll probably have a lot of interest in the beginningbut only the serious writers will be around for the long haul. Establish a regular meeting time (at least once a month) and require at least two members to produce work for the group to critique each month.
Think About Your Story
Most people assume that if you’re not putting words on paper then you’re not “writing.” I don’t feel that way. The next time you’re taking a long walk standing in a grocery store line or stuck in traffic use the time to mull over your story. Think about your characters or your plot. Imagine your protagonist having a conversation. Think about how you might describe a room. Challenge yourself to invent a predicament that creates conflict for your character. If you come up with some great ideas don’t forget to write them down.
Hang in there!
About Pamela Samuels Young:Corporate attorney Pamela Samuels Young has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to see. Fed up with never seeing women or people of color depicted as savvy, hot shot attorneys in the legal thrillers she read, Pamela decided to create her own characters. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, Pamela accomplished her ambitious goal by rising at four in the morning to write before work, dedicating her weekends to writing and even spending her vacation time glued to her laptop for ten or more hours a day.
The Essence magazine bestselling author now has four fast-paced legal thrillers to show for her efforts: Every Reasonable Doubt (BET Books, February 2006), In Firm Pursuit (Harlequin, January 2007), Murder on the Down Low (Goldman House Publishing, September 2008) and Buying Time (Goldman House Publishing, November 2009). New York Times bestselling author Sheldon Siegel described Buying Time, Pamela’s first stand-alone novel, as a “deftly plotted thriller that combines the best of Lisa Scottoline and Robert Crais.”
Pamela has achieved a successful writing career while working as Managing Counsel for Labor and Employment Law for a large corporation in Southern California. Prior to that, she served as Employment Law Counsel for Raytheon Company and spent several years with the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, LLP in Los Angeles. A former journalist, Pamela began her broadcasting career as a production assistant at WXYZ-TV in Detroit, where she was quickly promoted to news writer. To escape the chilly Detroit winters, she returned home to Los Angeles and worked at KCBS-TV as a news writer and associate producer.
Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC, a master’s degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and received her law degree from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is the Fiction Expert for BizyMoms.com.
Pamela is a frequent speaker on the topics of discrimination law, diversity, writing and pursuing your passion. She is married and lives in the Los Angeles area. To contact Pamela or to read an excerpt of her books, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.