Staying The Course!
There are times in each of our lives when we feel like our ship is sinking and there is no way out. It is in these dire moments that I want you to remember that your words live forever. In this article, I will try to help you find the motivation to forge ahead when the waters get rough.
Bad things happen. They are unavoidable and inevitable. When they happen to us, we have two choices – fold or fight. Folding is the easier of the two and, when things go wrong, we’re tempted to go down that path. Fighting takes courage and sensibility in moments where both attributes seem scarcely available.
When things go wrong, they tend to go wrong in a big way. Take my own current circumstances for example. In a single month, I have lost three good friends, been blocked from my Facebook account, received significant criticisms from my editor, and faced endless computer failures on a daily basis as my laptop is about at the end of its life. Those things alone are enough to weigh you down to the point of giving up, but there is more. My health is rapidly declining and the immigration and tourism laws here in Vietnam are becoming more and more stringent. In a matter of weeks, I may either be hospitalized or forced to return to the United States while my family remains in Vietnam.
We all have challenges in our lives and yours may be very different than mine. It is not the specifics of the challenges we face that matter; it is the way we deal with them. Again, I return to the analogy of being out on the open sea. If I’m heading into tumultuous waters and my communication systems have failed, I’m not going to curl up into a ball and wait to be sucked down into the depths. Instead, I am going to fight with everything I have in me to at least leave something of myself behind. Words, after all, last forever.
That is how I believe you should look at your writing. Regardless of what is going on in your life, you can continue to write and hope that someday your words will be read. When the cards are stacked against you, play the hand that you have been dealt and hope for the best.
Given all that has recently happened in my life, it would be easy to throw in the towel. That’s not an option. Instead, I’m diligently working on editing my new book, drafting the monthly newsletter for this blog, and creating new informative posts. Those activities give me purpose and keep me going.
One of the things that I have learned over the years is that some of my best work comes when I’m facing my darkest moments. It is a phenomenon that I try to use to my advantage. Conversely, during times of bliss, my work seems to suffer. I’m not saying that I want to live in a constant state of turmoil, I’m simply suggesting that the lows may provide more inspiration than the highs.
Here are my suggestions for aspiring authors who are currently facing some challenging times:
Never give yourself an excuse to stop working!
When things are going wrong, it is far too easy to give in to the chaos. Instead of allowing uncontrollable events to put a damper on your efforts, use them as inspiration to work even harder.
Do the wrong thing!
In moments of turmoil, taking a break from writing may seem like the right thing to do. Resist the urge and do the opposite. Instead of taking a break, ramp up your efforts.
Escape from reality!
Whatever your trials and tribulations may be, they don’t exist in your imagination. Retreat into the depths of your mind and let your words flow. I’m not suggesting that you ignore your problems, but I am suggesting that you should give yourself an occasional break from the things that are bringing you down.
Don’t sweat the small stuff!
If you haven’t read Richard Carlson’s book on the topic, order a copy today (I’ll provide a link below). Based on his perspective, it’s all small stuff. When you take a step back and look at it from a macro perspective, you might see it the same way.
Find satisfaction in progress!
With every chapter that you write, take time to appreciate your accomplishment. Regardless of how bad your day is, you can at least go to bed knowing that you made progress.
To sum up, never let the harshness of reality defeat your commitment to creating engaging fiction for the masses.
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So sorry to hear about your health problems (added to the rest of the stuff you’re dealing with!!!), and wish you the very, very best!