Saturday, September 7, 2019

Writers Facing Discouragement

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

I have been very blessed to be able to attend several writers’ conferences and meetings this year. It’s always fun to meet writers and hear about what their work.

But it is also easy to become intimated. Everyone I met was so smart, so gifted, so successful.

And me, not so much.

Oh, I have great ideas. My mind is full of stories if I could just get them on paper. However, when I try to write them down, well, who has the time? And it never comes out as good as it was in my head. Right?

I feel I am speaking to several different times in a person’s writing journey. 

To those in the beginning stage, when there is sooo much to learn and everyone else seems to have insights and connections that you don’t.

To those who haven’t had anything published in some time and you don’t know if you still can.

And to those who are finally getting published after so long, but your sales and platform aren’t like what you had hoped. Or like the other writers at your table.

I think I have the attention of lot you.

Now, let me let you onto a little secret. Just those in the click know this. Writing is hard. (Really surprised you there, huh?) Parts of it will get easier with practice and study, but there is always something new lurking just ahead. And when you let how you stack up against someone else be the standard for your success, you are asking for rough waters.

We all know better than to let the accomplishments of others get us discouraged. You can probably end this article with a Bible verse or platitude that’s better than any I can come up with. (See what I did there? Put myself down, didn’t I?)  Yet I see a lot of us letting this feeling of inadequacy keep us from writing. Even letting it steal the joy from the writing we do.

I would love to say you can fix this easily by buying my new booklet for just $9.99. But it’s not that easy, is it? There isn’t a onetime fix. Discouragement doesn’t hit once and go away. It’s always lurking nearby, waiting for its next opportunity, for when we feel down or weak.

But the good thing about discouragement (what?) is that it never has the final say. You always have the opportunity to prove it wrong. Get up off the mat. The only way discouragement wins is if you quit. It can hurt and delay, but it can never beat you. Only you get to decide when to quit. And with God, well, I like your chances if you stay in the game.

That doesn’t mean you will outsell or outwrite your friend. That probably isn’t what God called you to do anyway.

I remember when I felt called to go to seminary. Our megachurch had been going through a trial of growth and possibly losing our very charismatic pastor. For a time they left the sanctuary open on Saturday nights for individuals to come and pray. I was sitting in the large, empty auditorium thinking about the pastor and how I could never measure up to him. In the silence, I heard very clearly, I didn’t call you to be another Dr. Brown. I called you to be you.

Not another Max Lucado. Not another Lee Child. Or my friend with the new article or book. But me.

There are times when I know not to argue.


Tim Suddeth is a stay-at-home dad and butler for his wonderful, adult son with autism. He has written numerous blogs posts, short stories, and three novels waiting for publication. He is a frequent attendee at writers’ conferences, including the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and a member of Word Weavers and ACFW. He lives near Greenville, SC where he shares a house with a bossy Shorky and three too-curious Persians. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or at


  1. Thank you. I really need this. I'm feeling very overwhelmed right now.

  2. Tim, thank you for this timely post. Words I needed to hear today.

  3. Best ever Tim Suddeth post. Thanks for the timely reminder that we are EXACTLY where our Maker wants us to be. Your post was like an energy drink.
    Jay Wright
    Anderson, SC

  4. Amen Mr. Tim. I've had that same conversation with God. I have learned to measure myself against no one but myself, and Jesus Christ of course. If my writing gets better, if my platform increases, then that's all "gravy." If I help get God's word out in the public eye more; if I exhibit Him in my life more, then I am making an impact for His kingdom. I don't think we can ever do better that that my friend. In the meantime, I'm finding peace with just being "the best me I can be." God's blessings sir. What a great post!

  5. It is so easy to get discouraged, and very hard to know what God really wants from us. For the writer of faith, it comes naturally to second-guess oneself and ponder whether we are doing his will or catering to the ego. Thanks for the uplifting words.