Friday, August 19, 2016

19 Things to Say to a Writer Facing Disappointment

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

A writer’s journey is full of ups and downs. Sometimes we’re on top of the world—the words flow and the opportunities abound. Other times, well, not so much.

Everyone who reads this blog knows that preach over and over that we can’t do this writing thing alone. But it’s hard to know what exactly to say to an author buddy when difficult times hit. Especially if those difficult times coincide with a good time for you.

Today I’m going to share some things to remind each other about when the going gets tough.

19 Things to Say
1. A writing career is like the weather in Texas (or whatever state you happen to prefer). If you don’t like how it’s going, wait 10 minutes and it will change.

2. This experience will make a good story. Remind them that they’ll look back on this when asked how it feels to be an overnight success.

Turn the rejection upside down. 
3. Turn the rejection upside down, and use it to your advantage. When I first started as a freelance writer, I knew that if I received a certain number of rejections every month, then I get a certain number of acceptances. So I made my goal each month to reach a specific number of rejections.

4. You are a good writer. Success has nothing to do with perfection. We all have those awful voices that live in our heads trying to convince us our writing stinks. It helps to have other writers tell us the truth.

5. Your time will come. No matter how much talent we start out with, it’s perseverance that gets us over the finish line.

6. There truly is plenty of work to go around. We work for a big God and He has plans for this gift He’s given us.

7. Every writer’s journey is different. Writers are masters a comparison. We try to judge our own worth by what others have or have not accomplished. We need to look within, not without when measuring our success.

8. Failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. More often than not it’s also the shortest path to success. Learn from your mistakes, isn’t just a cliché, it’s a truth. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail, learn what you can and keep moving forward.

Courage isn't  the absence of fear.
9. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. All writers struggle with fear—fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of success. The key is to fight. Don’t give up, don’t give in.

10. You’re not alone. Your writing friends won’t leave you behind. Just like number 5, all our journeys are different. But we’re on the path together.

11. These sudden shifts are an opportunity, instead of a liability. For example, if the bottom drops out of the genre you’re writing with traditional publishers, look at the opportunities with smaller houses or self publishing.

12. Comparison is a deadly trap to be avoided at all costs. There are always going to be people ahead of us, behind us, and right beside us. We all have different gifts and God has a different—special—plan for us all. Comparison isn’t accurate and it can be deadly.

13. Remember the WHY to get through the HOW. When difficult times come, it’s the why that will carry us through. Write down why you write. Post it above your desk and let it remind you why you’re here.

14. We’re not responsible for the results, only the work. We can’t guarantee ourselves publication at any particular time or with any particular company. What we can do is write with excellence. If we do that, publication will follow.  

15. We live in one of the best times ever to be a writer. It’s easy to look at all the changes and general chaos as nothing but negative. The truth is though, we can reach more people through our words than ever before. And anyone who wants to reach the world through words needs a writer to help them.

Writing is a journey, not a destination.
16. Writing is a journey, not a destination. When we get started on the writing road, we mistake milestones for destinations. It’s easy to think there’ll be a time when we’ve arrived. Truthfully, that never happens. Each achievement is just a gateway to the next part of our writing journey.

17. Prayer changes things. It doesn’t always change our circumstances, but it always changes us.

18. You haven't failed until you quit. That truly is the only way to fail completely as a writer. 

19. Share an instance when you faced disappointment. Don't lead with that, it's not a contest to see who's disappointment was bigger, but it helps to know we're not the only ones to face challenges. The important thing is to not shy away and feel like our own success will make it worse. Remind them of what they already know and walk through it with them.

What has someone said to you that has helped when you've faced a writing disappointment? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Don't forget to join the conversation!



  1. Thanks, Edie, for these great reminders. I especially appreciated No. 7 about not comparing ourselves with others. It must have been meant especially for me because the Our Daily Bread reading for this morning was about the same topic! And we know that there are no coincidences in life; all such things are planned! Thanks again.

    1. Dennis, you are right. There is no such thing as coincidence! Blessings, E

  2. Edie, The best advice came from multiple writers, "You will receive rejections use them to learn". Stephen King, Jerry B. Jenkins & Cecil Murphy all received multiple rejections. It is hard to believe, but they continued to write and submit proposals. Many of my writing friends gave me the same advice. My first rejection was at BRMCWC, I found my good friend Lori Roeleveld, we high fived (weird I know) and she said, "one rejection closer to a contract". If I gave up I would not have a contract now. I bath all my writing in prayer. I also pray for my brothers and sister, knowing that God will promote his message in his time.

    1. Cherrilyn, that's the way I look at rejections. Blessings on your new book! Blessings, E

  3. I love this, Edie, thank you! I hope you don't mind I shared from my Face Book writers page as there are so many that are sometimes at a loss for words when we face included. :/ You always have such helpful posts. :) God bless!

    1. Rene, I'm happy - and grateful - for you to share anything on this blog! Blessings, E

  4. Thanks, Edie! I needed to read this today. I had a big (to me) success this morning immediately followed by a big (to me) failure. I took it to the Lord and 3 writing allies, and they all encouraged me.

  5. Amazing post Eddie, rejection can really be soul crashing, but it's really just important to remember that you are a good writer and keep writing things will definitely turn around. :) It's just like a job hunt.

  6. Great ideas for encouragement here, Edie! Thank you!

  7. "We work for a big God" and "Remember the WHY." I'm putting those in my writers notebook. Thanks Edie.