Our third child was born a few days ago, and yesterday we brought home our lovely little daughter. The miracle of life never ceases to amaze me.
But no matter how busy life continues to be, writing remains a high priority to my family.
So tonight, we put aside 45 minutes (from 7:45 – 8:30) for me to head down to the basement and write. I don’t know if it was that I put too much pressure on myself, got too preoccupied thinking about everything we still needed to do to get the kids ready for bed, or was just worried about mess in the kitchen, but whatever the reason, I just couldn’t write.
So after those 45 frustrating minutes of nothingness, I come back upstairs to put away the dishes, change some diapers and put the kids to bed…wait for it…45 minutes late.
What was the point?
It can sometimes be so easy to get discouraged. It’s like, you know what you want, you know what you need to do to get it, but then real life continues to get in the way.
I have to admit, I came upstairs from that writing session a little cranky. That feeling like, I can’t do this anymore. Trying to squeeze in all this writing for what? Time away from my wife? Time away from the kids? Time away from the new baby?
I suppose this sounds like I’m overreacting to a brief battle with writer’s block, and actually I am. But as I often like to say: that’s not the point of this post.
What I’m trying to illustrate is that all of us feel like quitting sometimes. Everyone occasionally gets that little voice in their head telling them that they can’t do it. That they’re wasting their time.
But that’s when it’s most important to keep going.
When I’m most discouraged, say I missed a few writing goals for the week, or got a few too many rejection letters, or just start feeling like there’s no time left to write, I repeat two quotes to myself:
1) When you’re thinking about quitting, ask yourself why you started in the first place.
Why do I write? I know a lot of people will answer this with pretentious statements like “Why do I breathe?” or some sort of intellectual snobbery, but for me, I write because I think I’m good at it. I write because think if I push myself hard enough I can find a moderate level of success doing it.
2) A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.
This quote comes from a guy named Richard Bach. And it is so true. If I would have quit four years ago, I would be sitting around this week telling my wife “I should try writing fiction some day when I have the time.” Who know what the next four years will bring?
To go back to the beginning, it was pretty stupid to get all bent out of shape over a period of writer’s block that didn’t last even an hour, but I’ll blame tonight on the lack of quality sleep and the general chaos of bringing home a new baby. And then I’ll quit griping.
Moving forward, I’ve got to remember that I can’t let little short-term things like a messy house or temporary writer’s block get in the way of the important things like spending time with the kids or pursuing the long-term goals I set as a writer.
What about you? What do you do when you feel discouraged about reaching your writing goals?