Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sour Grapes or Blessed Fruit: When the Writer Wants to Give Up by Linda Rondeau


Have you experienced a time of disappointment in your writing career? Unless today is your first writing day, that answer has to be yes. I know it is for me. Today, Linda Rondeau has some advice for those of us who have suffered discouragement at one time or another. -- Sandy

Linda: Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he will never be disappointed…Alexander Pope.

Disappointment is part of the human condition. Who among us has not felt its sting to some degree? 

When we don’t achieve what we desired, we are tempted to quit. The pain is simply too much.

For me, I’ve recently struggled with disappointment, having gone from never getting published, to acquiring an agent, to getting multiple book contracts and then having those books tank in the marketplace. When will I realize success?

So I did some research. I discovered that most often disappointment is caused by what psychologist call cognitive dissonance. This occurs when expectation is incongruent with reality. When our desire or object of pursuit exceeds the bounds of reality, defeat is likely and it can lead to disappointment.

Can I reasonably expect I will hit best seller rank with any or all of my books? Perhaps not. Look at James Joyce or Theodore Dreiser. Can you name all their books? No. Not all of their works came off the presses with gusto.

When faced with so much disappointment in our careers, we are tempted to jump to the conclusion, “Must be I didn’t hear God correctly. Perhaps I’m wasting my time.”

If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment – Henry David Thoreau.

Remember the story of the fox and the grapes? After repeated attempts to reach the grapes through normal fox-type behaviors, he gave up, stuck his tail between his legs and slunk off, saying to himself, “Oh well, they were probably sour anyway.”

Disappointment cripples the soul when we believe we are “deserving” of a particular outcome. When life does not curve the way we want or if we don’t receive what we feel we deserve, we give up and become enslaved in Disappointment’s domino effect: I expect what I think I deserve, I don’t get it, I feel disappointment.

Does that mean we shouldn’t try?

No. That’s sour grapes.

Likewise, we may need to reframe our approach to our writing. That does not mean we should let go of the prize.

God has created us as unique individuals with different characteristics. We often make the mistake of expecting the same outcome as someone else who may have traveled a similar path, and we fail to take into account our different makeups, the peculiar God-made construction.

His way may not match our pre-conceived design.

Rather than view the roadblock as failure, we can perceive it as a time to reflect and move forward again, perhaps in a different direction. Always, though, within those struggling times, God has prepared a harvest of blessings, if we choose to look for them. 


How have you handled those discouraging moments in your writing life? We'd like to know your tips for getting past those times.


~~~


When a romance writer and her estranged publisher husband attempt to reconcile, malignant forces and a pending lawsuit seem bent on keeping them apart. After fifteen years of marital disarray, Henry and Sylvia Fitzgibbons (aka Lana Longstreet) independently contemplate divorce, their relationship relegated to Henry’s infrequent visits to the Connecticut estate and their once a week meeting at Chez Phillipe’s in Manhattan.  But, not yet. There is the matter of the decaying rose gardens and the thirtieth anniversary party the children are planning. Reluctantly, Henry moves in for the summer, steeled against the hauntings that torment only him. As reconciliation seems possible, the evil forces within begin to target Sylvia as well.  Like the strangling vines within the rose beds, Henry and Sylvia have become victims of spiritual neglect. Their only hope remains in surrender to a power greater than the evil determined to destroy them.  



Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight,  LINDA WOOD RONDEAU, writes stories of God’s mercies. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.


Linda’s best-selling Adirondack Romance, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, is published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas and is available wherever books are sold.  Her next releases were her devotional book, I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children and Days of Vines and Roses (also available where ebooks are sold).
Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street and A Christmas Prayer have been released in time for the Christmas Season. Songs in the Valley/ Helping Hands Press. Will be released in late 2013 or early 2014.  
Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com or email her at lindarondeau@gmail.com  or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Goodreads.   

12 comments:

  1. "Rather than view the roadblock as failure, we can perceive it as a time to reflect and move forward again, perhaps in a different direction." Love this, Linda! I agree that every writer experiences disappointment some time during their writing career. Thanks for the encouraging post today.

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  2. Great encouragement and a dose of reality for me, Linda. Thanks so much for this post. :)

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  3. Very inspiring, Linda--thanks for sharing your insights!

    The most valuable lesson I've had to learn on this journey is that MY journey as a writer is unique. I can't allow myself to feel guilty or see myself as inferior because someone sold much sooner in her career, or is churning out five times as many books in a year as I could ever hope to write, or is raking in the awards I'd always hoped to win. God knows His plans for my writing, so all I can do is keep trusting and try to listen for His direction.

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    1. Such a great reminder, Myra. He created us all with differences and different paths. All we can do is follow the one he laid out for us.

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  4. Keeping on in the face of disappointment is hard. He is God of our apparent defeat (temporary) as well as our victory (eternal).

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom, Linda.

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  5. Great encouragement, Linda. It's funny how I learn things while writing about my characters. Most recent is a new take on God saying. "I know the plans I have for you." Yup, know that one, then learned through the eyes of a fictional character that it's GOD who knows, NOT me. I get to watch it unfold and sometimes it's not what I expected. But He knows what He's doing.

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    1. It's amazing what those characters can teach us. :) While I may think I'm putting down words for readers, God always shows me something through the writing that I need to know. Good point, Davalynn.

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  6. 'When our desire or object of pursuit exceeds the bounds of reality, defeat is likely and it can lead to disappointment'.
    Makes sense. All the more reason to accentuate the positive and press on as Linda has. :-)

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  7. A timely post indeed, as I prepare to organize my taxes. I have to remind myself quite often that it's about the ministry, not the money. Yes, we need to pay our bills, but when I trust God with that part the muse seems to flow better and my attitude is focused back on being servant minded instead of self minded. Thanks Linda!

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