|Two Sides To Every Coin|
Today's post is the first half of an article I wrote that was published several years ago. This part explores the more difficult side of the coin that we writers face. Tomorrow, I will post what we find on the other side of the coin.
Daily Devotions For Writers rests next to my printer, where I can reach it easily every morning before beginning to work. The life lessons the book contains offer advice, relate trials and also inject a bit of humor. Some of the writers talk of a revelation that came when least expected. Most of the devotions include a scripture verse and/or a prayer—sometimes a quote.
After reading the daily devotional book for a few months, I noticed that a pattern appeared to emerge in the guise of a two-sided coin. On one side of the coin, I sensed frustration from so many of the writers. It appears to be a universal theme for both seasoned and new writers. But flip the coin over, and satisfaction is evident.
Novice writers may experience the frustration in greater amounts than the satisfaction. It takes perseverance and patience to traverse the tunnel of disappointment. Doesn’t every writer dream of instant success? When rejection letters pile up faster than election campaign literature, what’s a writer to do? Confidence levels fall with alarming speed when new or even long-time writers don’t meet with some success. Doubt pays daily visits, and if a writer chooses to entertain him, he’ll stay.
Believe in yourself and your work. If you have something to say, a story to entertain or to make a difference in the lives of others, don’t let the early-days frustrations get you down. Make marketing lists, and work your way down that list until you either find an editor to accept a particular story, article, poem, or novel chapters, or have exhausted the list. If every editor you’ve selected rejects your submission, it’s time to take a look and determine why the piece didn’t sell. Make some revisions and try again. It’s rarely easy to look at your own work objectively, but it’s possible, and it will be to your advantage to do so.
Lack of time to write is one common frustration. Life tends to get in our way. Occasionally, the writer allows that to happen, for what better way to postpone a project that’s not coming easily? A serious writer creates time to write. Frustration also occurs when an idea forms in the mind but won’t translate into the printed word. From the brain to the fingers is not always a smooth road.
Once in awhile, a writer finishes an article or story, puts it aside for the required seasoning of a few days, then brings it out again only to find that it doesn’t say what she wanted to say at all. In fact, the writer is disgusted with the piece and is ready to hit the delete button. It’s the very reason writing books and editors advise setting a finished piece of writing aside for a few days. Then the writer reads it with a new perspective; sees with different eyes and gains satisfaction from the process of improvement. Isn’t it better that she hasn’t been one of those writers who dash off a piece and call it finished, then send it to an editor immediately? More than likely, it will come flying back with a form rejection letter. Avoid this kind of frustration by allowing yourself some time between a partially finished and a truly completed piece.
While frustration often looms over a writer’s head, it’s not all bad. Beneficial lessons present themselves through the haze of the stress involved. It’s up to the writer to discern the positive angles. Face your frustrations with open eyes and a willingness to turn them to your advantage.