Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Overcoming Discouragement by Linda Leigh Hargrove

Have you ever been discouraged with your WIP? Who among us has not lost confidence along their writer’s journey? 

Discouragement. It is an inevitable part of our writing journey. If you have not yet experienced a measure of dismay after receiving a rejection letter from a publisher, a not-so-glowing Amazon review, or a story plot that just won’t come together like you envisioned. In response, do you abandon writing altogether? Do you mope around? I do. For several years, I questioned whether I should have been writing at all. I started manufacturing reasons to do something or nothing at all.

I have a fancy technical sounding name for this resistance. I call it “personal inertia”. It’s the tendency for my body and mind to resist writing or doing the dishes or whatever. Personal inertia can be overcome but it takes work to do it. Just as you would overcome a rock’s inertia, you must come against personal inertia with a push. The act of writing is the push.

Otherwise, you run the very real risk of losing momentum.

So, do the illogical: write, even when you’re discouraged. Especially when you’re discouraged. Use discouragement as a trigger to move into action. Do not allow yourself to use this negative emotional response as an excuse to skip a day of writing. If you skip one day, you might be in jeopardy of skipping more days and before you know it, you’ve lost momentum and you’ve convinced yourself that there is no use in finishing at all. When you’re discouraged with your writing, the last thing you want to do is write. I totally get that. But you must do it. Write 100 words, if that’s all you can muster. At least you’re writing.

In time, you’ll move beyond this challenging spot and you’ll be a stronger writer. James Scott Bell talks about using negative feelings as a trigger to write in his workshops and videos. He says that addressing the struggle head on should be our goal as writers. 

The more you push (that is, write), the better off you’ll be. Happy writing.


Linda Leigh Hargrove has been writing stories since high school. She’s an engineer, a multi-published fiction author, a mother of three boys, and a wife of more than 25 years. Linda is a North Carolina native and tinkers on 3D printers and web coding in her free time. Her life motto, “She is no fool who gives what she cannot keep to gain what she cannot lose”, governs
every writing decision. Find out more about her work at