Writer, the journey between idea and page is a long one. I have ideas that I have set to simmer on a back burner in my brain that have been waiting there for five years. I haven’t written them yet, but I will.
The books I am writing now are seven years old.
They are still not published. I am only just now beginning to get paid for all the time I’ve put into my craft, although I’ve treated it as a full-time job since I first started writing seven years ago.
Writing is a long term project.
Very, very long term.
Books aren’t written in a day. Authors don’t have overnight success stories. (Does anyone, really?) Platforms, fanbases, and careers take a long, long time to build. I’m talking years, not months. Sometimes decades. And all of that waiting can be extremely discouraging if our mindset is wrong.
You are never more discouraged than when you are focused on the outcome more than the process.
Writer, this book is a privilege. Having the time, the moments to dedicate to your craft is so, so precious, and something to celebrate whenever possible.
The end will come.
The book will be finished.
Someday—hopefully—it will be published.
In this moment, cherish the story.
I could not have lasted seven years if I didn’t love what I do. Not the warm glow of having written, not the excitement of having someone read my story, but the writing itself. The story. The characters. Yes, my goal is and always will be to get published and sell books.
But first and foremost, the reason I am able to get up in the morning and sit down to write every day is because I love to write. My ideal day consists of rainy afternoons, a cup of steaming tea, my sister working on her art at our kitchen counter, and myself curled up on the couch typing away.
I’ve learned to cherish the moments. To treasure the process.
And, no, I don’t always remember to do this. Some days are harder than others, especially if the story isn’t flowing and my words are stilted.
But the days I do remember to pause and enjoy the moments are the days I remember. And the days that stave off the discouragement of waiting for an uncertain outcome.
Four Tips To Apply It In Your Own Life
1. Enjoy the moments. Take the time to make that cup of tea before you start writing. Savor the fact that you have a morning, or an hour, or even ten minutes to continue your story. Whether it’s scheduled words or stolen time, your writing is important. So take the time to love it.
2. Romanticize what you do. Instead of being frustrated and drained that you ‘have to write’, take a few moments to turn your mindset around. You are a writer. Curled up on your couch or hunched over your desk with a steaming cup of tea and your cat purring on your desk, scribbling about new worlds and creating a written account of your adventures into your imagination. Doesn’t that sound better than ‘I have to get five hundred words before I go to work’?
3. Look at how far you’ve come. Most people who start a book write the first chapter. Or plan the story and never write anything at all. So keep track of how far you’ve come. Celebrate your progress, and remind yourself that, however slow you’re writing, you’re making progress.
4. Take the next step, no matter how small it is. Write a page or a chapter. Send your book to a beta reader, or find an editor you would love to work with. Post on your twitter. Outline a series for your blog if you have one, or build an author website. Design a logo, or create a spreadsheet of agents you want to query. (Don’t forget to do your research!) The point is, take a step, however small. Even a little bit of progress will keep off discouragement.
Good luck, dearest writer! May your tea be hot and your dreams wild!
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