Tuesday, May 17, 2022

10 Things to Say to a Discouraged Writer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

Writing often feels like a solitary pursuit. Truthfully, it’s the successful writers who know better than to try to go it alone. Writing in a vacuum is not a good idea—for a lot of reasons. It’s easy to lose perspective and either believe what you’re writing is perfect, or worse, that it’s junk. Having others who share the same struggles make us stronger.

Not to mention the fact that they can talk us down when we’re standing on a writing ledge. Writers can encourage Writers like no one else can. That’s what I want to share today.

Writers Encouraging Writers

1. Success has nothing to do with perfection. So often we try to make our writing perfect. It’s fine to shoot for excellence, but perfect is never going to happen. Quit beating yourself up for not reaching it.

2. Every writer’s journey is different. Writers are masters at 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.

3. Quit being so hard on yourself. We are our own worst critics. We allow the negative voices in our heads free reign. It’s time to replace those harsh words with kind ones.

4. 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.

5. Nothing lasts forever. This is even true for writers. There are good days, bad days, great days, and days when we want to give up. Remember that the ups and downs will happen, and this too shall pass.

6. It takes as long as it takes. So often we want success to be a part of a formula. The truth is, like I said on #2, every writer’s journey is different.

7. Sometimes you have to write through the junk to get to the jewels. We all want our writing path to be a continuous, unbroken line of improvement. The truth is far from that. There will be days, weeks, and even months where it’s more of a two steps forward and three steps back. 

8. Failure is an option. 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.

9. 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.

10. Nobody writes a perfect first draft. The genius of writing comes in the rewriting. Don’t let a mediocre start keep you from finishing strong.

These are some of the things that my writing buddies have said to me when I was standing on a metaphorical ledge, about to jump. I’d love to know what you’d add to the list. 

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives. Connect with her on her website, through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Featured Image: Photo by Ingrid Vasconcelos on Unsplash


  1. I really appreciate #7. For days at a stretch, I feel like I'm composing great piles of garbage. I need to remember that in the rewriting, I can find some jewels.

  2. Amen. Thank you for this encouragement. :-)

  3. Appreciate the reminder that writing is a journey. There so much living that has to happen before we can capture deeper truths in words. Edie, thanks for being a source of encouragement!

  4. This was just what I needed to hear today. Remembering the journey already is a place to celebrate. Thanks Edie!

  5. Dearest Edie, I totally identify with #1 and #3. My school papers especially, I wept over giving them in for grading because I was stuck rewriting it over and over again seeking perfection. I’m chronically hard on myself and I haven’t been to a writers group in years! Bringing me back to #3 even though I know being in the community just makes me a better writer. Thanks for the reminder!
    Love and blessings,