Saturday, October 2, 2010

Discouraged, Confused

I came down the stairs around 9 p.m. Friday after having put our toddler son to bed late. We had a busy evening. My husband was still working, as employees of that big software company in Redmond tend to do when they get home.

I went straight to the kitchen to pick up dirty dishes and put away clutter when he said it.

"Have you been working on any of your books lately?"

My back was to him as I tucked away a high chair I'd thought about selling, but changed my mind (it's too old), and I mumbled, "No, I've been feeling a little bit discouraged."

"What? Couldn't hear you."

I turned around, but kept my eyes away from his. "I said, No."


Still not looking at him. "I dunno. I guess I've just felt a little discouraged." And then he dropped the subject and we made our way over to the couch. He turned on Vacation, which we've seen at least 100 times, and I zoned out.

What is my problem? Lately, I just don't care. (Although, I know I really do care to write because my heart started beating faster when I wrote "I just don't care.")

I'm re-reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird and I love it. But it's been inspiring me to write more freely than I have been. I've been trying to write with formulas in the interest of getting something done, but Anne says to write more about characters and let the story develop. What she says makes so much sense and every time I read her book I am so inspired. I think I'm lacking self-confidence and feeling overwhelmed.

Sometimes I feel I can conquer anything, I'm a warrior writer, and sometimes I feel I'm not worth conquering it. Like all I want to do is something I know I can do and that people will probably read -- blog posts on my running blog, Facebook status updates. Know what I mean?

How can I get some self-confidence back?

I'm participating in "Wannabe Writer" confessions at Confessions of the Unpublished. Go here for more info.


  1. What if you break the tasks down into smaller parts and that may help you not be overwhelmed. What if you write a list of all the things you are good at? And squash the thoughts of things you aren't good at. Here's what I know you're good at.
    You keep trying and writing different things
    You keep trying to find your voice
    You motivate others (me). I get excited when I get to read a writing blog post from you.
    You are always thinking about stories and characters.
    You have a goal and are working towards it.

    What about an award for yourself? If you write X # of words you'll reward yourself with an ice cream or buying a new book or journal.

    Chin up!

  2. Discouraged was exactly the word I used the other day when my mother in law was asking about my writing. It seems the more I read about the publishing industry and the more I read in general, the more discouraged I get. I could never write a book as good as this one. Why would I get a publishing contract when only one in every 50 000 submissions is published (or some shockingly depressing figure like that.)? I figure you've got to be in it for something else. And I think it helps to compare it to running. I don't run half marathons to be the fastest. I don't expect to be in the prize money or win a race. BUT, I do keep at it because it brings other things to my life. Fitness. Personal satisfaction. A feeling of accomplishment. And, if, someday, in some podunk town with a race entry of 10, or when I'm the only 85 year entered in my age class and I actually win, well, won't that just be the icing on the cake!

  3. I wish I could give you some awesome advice, but I completely get where you're coming from. I want to write, but I just don't know what to write. Sometimes I just open a word doc and I'm like screw this. I hope you get back in the zone soon!

  4. I feel that way all the time!! Everyday, actually. And I guess the only advice I have is to write through it. Even if you don't feel good enough, find a way to keep going. I have a side project that I like to work on. My side project story is a pretty weird an when I'm escially hating my writing. With my side project I'm just writing for fun. I don't intend on publishing it. I usually work on that one for a while and then go back to my current WIP. Maybe this isn't the way to do it but sometiems it helps.

    Or you could go in the complete opposite direction and not write. Maybe you've tired yourself out. I'm currently taking a break and I know it a few weeks time the urge to write will hit me again.

    Hope you feel better soon. :)

  5. Gosh, I think we all feel that way. I have self-doubt issues, but I never give up and I always accomplish a goal I set out to. Listen to Dr. Wayne Dyer one day (no excuses). He is really an inspirational man.

    Realize that you are writing for yourself and no one else. Get that story out of your head and onto the screen. Be happy with knowing you can accomplish this.

  6. Thanks so much for all the encouragement! It really helps!

  7. I feel that way a lot. I guess you just have to push through it.


Write something. Anything.