If you're a writer, you'll relate to my list of the deadly (and downright undesirable) maladies that plague us. Don't get me wrong, I'm not here to be a downer, it's just that sometimes we need to know we're not grappling with these issues alone. Misery loves company, it truly does.
Take depression. The first of my D's. Take it and throw that sucker a measure of HOPE. If you have to turn off that loud speaker in your head repeating your failure and inadequacies, DO IT. Jo Rowling, Elizabeth George, Anne Lamott, and Snoopy all suffered from depression - Eeyore still does - but look where they are now. Icons. Overcomers. I don't know a writer who doesn't suffer crippling depression at some time or other. I've bookmarked blog posts and articles by well-known and unknown authors who make my depression sound like a picnic. I love those guys. Look them up and take heart!
Discouragement, disparaging critiques, reality checks, and dispondency will reduce us to stooped, slobbering geriatrics with hollow aches in our middle. Honest, I've been there. I've been so low at times that my knuckles have scars from being dragged along the ground. And I wasn't even contending with rejections - those babies have a dangerous side-effect that only time and determination overcome. Write yourself a note in black marker (mine is a foot high and taped to my dunce hat) - LEARN FROM IT. I'm a little slower than the average adult and need constant reminders.
Being in the Doldrums is another nasty place we writers find ourselves. I mean this in the nautical sense. Lots of circumstances can slide you there without your realizing that you're languishing in dead-air. This isn't writer's block, folks, this is a state of indecision brought on by the wind being knocked out of your sails. Do I work on this, or that, or the other? Maybe I shouldn't work on anything at all since nothing I come up with is high concept. Despair sets in and you're convinced you were delusional giving into your drive to write, to dream that you might have a novel someone actually wants to read. The only way I've found to deal with this is to go to my critique buddies and throw myself at their feet (figuratively). Make sure you respect them or you'll ignore their encouragement. Writers are a fabbo-marvy community, willing to reach out and boost a wounded psyche. Okay, taste is subjective but most determined writers know good writing when they see it and know enough about the industry to give you direction. Sound advice might not be exactly what you think you want to hear but Norman Vincent Peale put it succinctly (darn him): The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by critism. Fine - but give praise where praise is due. A lot of the time we just need to know we're good at it!
So take heart, have hope, and don't give up writerly chums! Prolly every other writer in the universe has been where you are. I put it down to paying my dues. So I've taken ten years to arrive here with no publishing credits but I've done it my way and still love to write ... and I'll admit that I'm just too darn
stubborn to waste all my hard-earned lessons by giving up now!
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.“ — Winston Churchill
“If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford