Tag Archives: discouragement

How to Hoist Myself Out of A Rut

If other writers knew how long it’s been since I’ve actually written anything besides a blog post here and there, well, I’m pretty sure they’d throw me out of the writing club.

I’m not going to admit how long it’s been since I’ve written.

Mostly because I don’t want to admit it to myself.

I’ve been in a rut.

I don’t have writer’s block– I’ve got great ideas tucked away. I don’t have brain freeze nor am I choking on my words or working off of a lack of experience.

What I do have is as follows:

1) lack of time

2) lack of inspiration

I have been so so so so so uninspired to write lately. So uninspired that the story ideas that once felt so good now feel sad and a little cold. So uninspired that I look back over things I’ve written–good things– and consider them drivel. So uninspired that when I think about writing, I feel passionless.

As for the lack of time, I don’t know any mothers who don’t live with a perpetual lack of time, so I’ve got to stop using that as my excuse.

The lack of inspiration is coming from that same ole place– discouragement. Don’t we all suffer from this from time to time, no matter  our circumstances?

Even though I don’t want to admit it, that’s where I am. I’ve been suffering from a case of “I’m Not Good Enough” syndrome. But I know better, so I just need to banish that one, too. After all, I know the One who made me, and I know He has plans for me.

So here’s what I’m going to do:

  • 1) Read. Reading a good book usually inspires me to write a good book.
  • 2) Critique. When I read someone else’s work and help them develop it through a good critique partnership, I’m almost always inspired to write. Something about editing gets my juices flowing.
  • 3) Finish reading the 4,682 craft books I’ve started. Okay, I’ll set a more realistic goal– finish reading ONE of the many craft books I’ve started recently.
  • 4) Just shut up and do it. I’m going to sit down to a blank screen with a story idea and type. No more excuses.

Share with me: When you are in a creative rut, how do you get yourself out of it?

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Jenny from the Block

Okay, sorry about the title of this post, but I just had to do it. 🙂

Writer’s block.  Those moments, hours, and days that sometimes stretch on for months.  
It seems like the creative juices have just stopped flowing; sometimes suddenly.  
It seems like the love for the characters that you once yearned to spend time with has all but died out.
It seems like it’s impossible to think of one more story, one more plot, one more objective or twist, or even one more line of dialog.
It seems like the passion has gone.  And when the passion dies, the words die.  
But what caused this sudden, frustrating bout of the mind versus the written word?
Writer’s block is not just sitting at the computer, staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page.  It’s an attitude.
Most of the time, writer’s block is caused by self-doubt.  It creeps in and takes over, pushing away all that we’ve created, all that we are passionate about, and instead breeds discouragement, anger, resentment, and the inability to take pride in our work.
The plot isn’t good enough.  The characters aren’t identifiable enough.  The objective isn’t clear.  The dialog is flat.  I just can’t think of anything else.  I don’t know how to make it work.  I’m not good enough.
But self-doubt can be beaten.  Self-doubt can be overcome.  Self-doubt can be destroyed.
In order to let go of the self-doubt, you have to:
Stop comparing yourself to others.  
Remember that you are an individual, created for a whole, defining, other-worldly purpose by the Creator who values everything that you do.  
Remember why you started.  
What sparked the passion in you?  Get back to it.  Remember the excitement you had when you first started, remember the reasons, grab hold of them, and let them release you from discouragement.
Get excited about something else.
Not loving what you are working on?  Start something new, work on it for a while, and come back to your first project at a later time.  Letting it sit will allow you to have a fresh attitude when you look at it later.
Release the pressure.  
Aim for completing a novel, not the novel.  If you happen to realize afterward that you’ve created the next great classic, good for you.  But don’t set that as your goal in the beginning.
Get inspired.  
Watch your favorite movie.  Read your favorite book.  Listen to your favorite song.  What is it about these pieces of art that speaks to you?  What is it that stimulates and motivates you?  Find it, use it.
Take a break.
If you’ve been working excessively, you need one.  Minds, like bodies, get tired and need to rest.  Chocolate always helps.
Get busy.
On the other hand, if you’ve been avoiding your project, get in there and get busy.  As many will say, writing horrible, awful sentences is still writing.  Get something on the page and worry about perfecting it later.
Be your own cheerleader.
Read something that you’ve written that you really, really love.  It might be a completed work, or it might be a paragraph, or just one, amazingly perfect sentence.  Whatever it is, read it and revel in the reality that you created it.  Give yourself a pat on the back.
Writer’s block is not a lack of words; it’s a lack of self-confidence to write the words.  To overcome it, you have to let go of your own purposes and see God’s purposes revealed in you.  When you overcome the self-doubt and realize that you are a child of God, anything is possible.
 *While this post is about writing, it can be applied to any creative format, really.
Share with me:  How do you fight self-doubt in your life?  Have you ever had writer’s block, or just “creative block?” How did you get rid of it?

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The Ugliness in the Mirror

I love it when God sends one of his “ah-ha!” moments to me like a slap upside my head.  I got one of those slaps recently.

I had been seriously down in the dumps for a few days.  I was feeling discouraged; not good enough.  I was feeling like I was “good” at a lot of things, but “great” at nothing.  The result was a moody, short-tempered human being who was snapping at her family and was so negative that I was doubting myself in all ways.

I knew I needed to get out of the “funk” and knowing that The Truth can be found only in The Word, I grabbed my Bible and turned to my concordance for verses on discouragement.  Well, it’s not an extensive concordance, so it didn’t really offer me much.  My second source was to turn to the internet.  I didn’t find much there either, mostly because I wasn’t depressed or suicidal, just annoyed at myself.

Finally I came across a site that was all about discouragement and I thought, “jackpot!”  I was hoping for a nice little Bible study that would give me some verses to read and I would be reminded that I was a child of God and then feel all warm and fuzzy inside and my little “episode” would be over.

And then God slapped me upside my head.

Jesus recognized the things that often lead to discouragement — coveting (a greedy desire to have more wealth), dangerous and destructive wickedness, deceit; unrestrained (indecent) conduct; an evil eye (envy), slander (evil speaking, malicious misrepresentation, abusiveness), pride (the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man), foolishness (folly, lack of sense, recklessness, thoughtlessness) (Mark 7:18-23)

I took a hard look in the mirror through those words and realized that the person who was staring back at me was not a person suffering from discouragement, but a woman suffering from covetousness, envy, and pride.  These sins were bogging me down, making me negative, and breeding in me the seeds of doubt about my own abilities and talents.

Wow.  God smacked me.  Hard.  And it was awesome.  I almost broke down crying with relief, knowing that my God is a God of mercy and grace, and within moments of my repentance, I felt like my old self again.  No more “down-in-the-dumps” about being discouraged– because I wasn’t discouraged.  I was coveting what others had, envying their rewards and their talents, and being prideful enough to believe that I, too, deserved the same.    

Not everyone suffers from discouragement for the same reason, but my reasons became obvious to me, allowing me to make the changes in my life that I needed to make.  Pride, envy, covetousness; these are sins that require a constant vigilance to overcome. 

God has reminded me repeatedly over the past couple of weeks of his promises in his Word.  What an amazing comfort to know that I am a child of God, worthy of his love, and made in his image and that I don’t have to “do” anything but remember that everything that I do is for His glory.  What a blessing to recognize what I’m good at (and what I’m not), rely on his promises of truth, and continue to grow in Him.  What a wonderful comfort to know that only HE holds the future!  

I’m feeling pretty warm and fuzzy.  What about you?  If you are fighting the feeling of being discouraged in some area of your life, I’d love to pray for you.  I know just how heavy that burden can feel, and just what joy comes with lifting it!

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Filed under The Christian Walk