Monday, May 10, 2010


Friday I completed a monumental task: I completed the rough draft of the longest book I've ever written. All writing is work, but this particular story has felt like a spell in a Siberian labor camp.

Different things made it difficult. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Self doubt
  • Lack of focus
  • Lack of plot direction
  • Risk

If you're a writer, you've experienced at least one of those roadblocks in your work. What sets most published writers from pre-pubbed can be summed up in one word: perseverance. As Thomas Edison said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent persperation."

What keeps you going when you're ready to give up? Some things that helped me reach my goal:

  • Trusting this is God's work--not my skill
  • Work on one project at a time (kudos to those who can do more!). Use those between-book lags to to benefit.
  • Work and rework the plot and characters until they work
  • Accept risk as a consequence of growth

Whatever happens with this story (an editor requested the full manuscript)--I have succeeded in pushing past my fears.

Do you have a project that you're ready to abandon? What makes you feel that way? What can you do differently to finish it and move on?

Note: Stop by and leave a comment on my blog for a chance to win one of my books and a couple of other featured books.


  1. Yep, I wanted to abandon it, then realized I could save it with some massive rewrites, started them (it was going fine), but then got into a discouraged slump this past week over them.

    Do I really want to spend all my time doing this? How many hours had I already logged on the book only to basically rewrite it? I'm only starting out, so how many years will this take until I get something I won't feel ashamed at throwing out there to agents and editors? Is it worth it? I'd almost decided no.

    Then I went to my Dave Ramsey class this evening, the lecture on vocations: what job best meets your strengths, values, goals, etc. Right now, I am privileged to be a stay-at-home mommy so I can work on this writing without the worry of having to earn an income. If I squander this time now, and some day in the future with a change of events like hubby layoff, disability, etc. That would force me back to work, there is nothing, I think, that would make me as happy to work at then fiction writing, but if I squander this time and have not made it anywhere, then another job I would have to find.

    So, I'm not quitting. This is the best job out there for me where I will be happiest, most engaged, using almost every best skill I own. So I told my hubby if I get discouraged that he's supposed to tell me, "Is there any job out there that matches your skill set better and would make you more fulfilled?" Hopefully, that question will keep me focused on doing the hard work. Even when I want to cry.

  2. Oh, MJ, I love it! Thank you for reminding me that part of getting over discouragement is realizing that even when it's Siberian-labor hard, there is nothing I would rather do.

    Cry, dry your tears, then sit back down ... We've all been there.

  3. Great advice, Darlene. And congrats for pushing through and being an example of perseverance for us pre-pubbed! MJ, I like what you said, too!

  4. Excellent post, Darlene. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I'm sure we can all relate!

  5. Darlene, do you live in my head, or what? LOL! I struggle with the same things. Thanks so much for the timely reminder to persevere.

  6. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  7. Edie, so I have ESP now? I think a lot of writers struggle with perseverance. (That, and the opposite end, knowing when to let go of something, but that's a topic for a different blog). Perseverance to finish, perseverance to continue writing until what comes out in our work what we have learned of the craft in our heads.
    Alena, thanks for becoming a regular visitor!