The F Word

Yes, folks, it was just a matter of time before it came up.

I'm talking about that most dreaded word to a fledgling writer- frustration.

OMG WTF BBQ??? I wanna be a writer! I'm writing, no one's offered me a deal yet.. should I burn my book? Should I rewrite my serious first person fantasy as a humorous third person military science fiction because one agent said so? Should you start another project while working on one? Should I give up writing all together?OMG! OMG!!!

First of all, grab a paper back and take a couple deep breaths into it. Go ahead. I'll wait.
A little better? Good.
Second, have some chocolate. (Send me some too... not the chocolate in your mouth, the other!)

I'm here to tell you that for the yet to be published, frustration and anxiety are literally a part of the job. I'm also here to tell you that for the published author, they are too, just in different ways. I hope that by hearing this it is of some comfort to you. Does it make it easier to cope when you hear that every last one of has or is going through some form of it? It should.

For me, the best lesson I learned through all the doubt, frustration and anxiety was: what am I learning? We write a story. We think of it as our child, and it's hard to see it rejected or passed over or form lettered. Every one of those hurdles is someone kicking sand in our kids face and it's hard to contend with.

During these times of frustration, I've seen a lot of writers rage against the machine that is the road to publishing, which I find totally pointless. What do they accomplish other than continuing to not get published? Instead, why not weigh what people are saying about your work? Don't take it as gospel, necessarily, but look to see if there is anything merit in it to be added to your work from what you are being told.

Even now, I am in a constant state of learning with every word and book I write, so it's never too late. Let those people kick your kids, going back to my earlier metaphor! What doesn't kill them (your story), only makes them stronger.

And a lot of anxiety also comes from artificial deadlines writers put on themselves. It's good to have schedules if that helps you keep on goal, but the publishing industry is at times a slow and laborious machine, and sometimes getting your work the attention that YOU want it to have simply won't happen in a timely manner. It's not personal, it's just the nature of the beast. In the meantime, learn. Pay attention to what is being said, let go of the frustration as best you can, and keep moving forward with your writing.

Unless, of course, you are one of those people who shouldn't be writing at all because you're hopeless. Unfortunately, that is a topic for another day...!

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