When googling “committed writer” as I hunted down the best title for my blog, I was surprised at the number of hits I received regarding writers and suicide. Apparently, writing or creativity or both can drive a person to ending it all, and this doesn’t surprise me. The writer’s life is lonely at times and full of roller coaster twists and turns. Sometimes we hit a major high with lots of accolades. Other times we crash down clutching a fistful of rejections.
The good news is becoming a committed writer doesn’t mean you’re signing your suicide note. It simply means you plan on hardening that soft shell of yours. You’re going to suit up and get your weapons ready. Here’s how you do so:
- Remind yourself daily why you write. If you don’t know why, sit down and make a list of why you bother to do it at all. Then circle the most important reason. (If it’s money, erase vigorously. No, tear it off, shred it, and burn it.)
- Place notes of encouragement, awards, positive reviews, and all other great feedback regarding your writing in a visible spot. When a rejection hits, glance over those items and keep pressing on!
- Read something you wrote that you’re proud of. We easily forget our own talent and creativity because we like to move on to the next project. Take a walk down memory lane to see what your young mind conjured up once upon a time. I guarantee you’ll have an “I wrote that?” moment. Smile and soak it up.
- Read something awful you wrote. I guarantee you’ll also have an “I wrote that?” moment, but it won’t be with a smile on your face. Expect misplaced commas, missing words, and … did I really make my characters talk like this? You will be amazed at how much you’ve grown as a writer. The fact that you notice the mistakes means you have come a long way. (As much as you want to burn that awful piece you wrote decades ago, don’t. It’s proof of your progress.)
- Take a break. Maybe deadlines or rejections are stressing you out, and you need a few days to unwind, communicate with other humans, and breathe fresh air. Do so! Then come back with a fresh attitude and maybe even fresh ideas.
- Call your critique partner or meet with your group. There’s strength in numbers, and this isn’t any less true for writers. The best critique group or partner will offer not only helpful advice but a hefty dose of encouragement to pump you up.
I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to avoid becoming a suicidal writer, but now it’s your turn! Comment below to add your ideas about pressing on and pushing through the depressing fog that can hit the committed writer’s life.
Oh, and welcome to The Committed Writer Blog where we’re committed to writing, not committing suicide.