Speaking to a friend who embodies confidence, it took me by surprise when he expressed discouragement. “I don’t think anyone’s interested in what I put out there.”
I went through a fit of discouragement recently. At work, something I built from nothing was taken over by others. Hard not to take that personally. The same day, I looked at my book sales and found them… tepid. Discouragement took my breath away. It was short lived. I told myself it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and refused to accept the emotion (you can do that, you know).
A few days later, a friend gave me an encouraging word. “Aren’t you excited about what you’ve done for others?” She didn’t know of my bleak moment, but I think she guessed it when I blinked at her comment and stammered a response. You can refuse to accept emotion but it can still linger in the green room of your thoughts.
In Aron Osborne’s book, So Many Mountains, Which Ones to Climb?, he has an entire chapter devoted to Encouragement, that is, “to give someone courage.” He has many wise words in that book, take a look.
You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t face discouragement, often during the writing of the book, certainly after, and again when it’s for sale. Funny isn’t it? You can have 20 great reviews, but it’s the 1 negative that gets you down, isn’t it?
One of the reasons I started Prevail Press is to encourage people. I’ve found that when you’re discouraged, you can overcome it by sincerely encouraging others.
Another method is to understand the truth of what we do is a long-haul proposition, there are no shortcuts. A snapshot of a lifetime is no insight to that life. “Count your blessings” can be trite, but it is also true. Everyone has them, even if it’s just drawing a ragged breath each morning.
What you have to say is important. Learning any craft is an emotional roller coaster. My latest book, Creativity Wears Boots, describes the creative process. Knowing where you are in your pursuit can help dispel the monsters.