Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Avoiding Discouragment

It would be fun and story book like to say when I decided at eleven I wanted to be a writer, I never looked back.  That I charged forward, existing on a dream and honing my skills and crafts every day.

It would also be a lie.

The real story is a bit more boring but probably a lot more realistic.  For most of my life, writing has been a hobby, a dream for something far greater than I thought I'd ever achieve.  Maybe, maybe, someday when I'm old, I'll have a book published.

Somehow, my hobby started to move in a different direction when I was seventeen.  It started to be much more a part of my everyday life.  I started to care about being disciplined and about doing it right.  At eighteen, I found the online writing community and started to think "Maybe this is what I should be doing."

I've hit a few bumps in the road.  Busy schedules, writer's block, my story being so big of a mess, I just wanted to delete the whole thing and sell my computer.  Even so, it's never been too discouraging to me.  I would always put my book on hold until I felt ready to get back to it again.

In the last year and a half, I've had a strict writing regimen.  Writing gets done six days a week, sometimes seven if I feel awake enough Saturday night to work on it.  A thousand words a day is my normal minimum and I hold myself to it, whether I'm sick or busy or tired.  I posted on my blog about doing NaNoWriMo and I charged straight into it, finding that the fight to get to 50,000 words was nothing like it'd been the first time I did it when I barely wrote 500 words a day or had finished a book in eight months.  After NaNo, I stepped it down a bit, thinking a break would be good for me.

A week passed.  The holidays passed.  Another week passed.  I didn't want to sit down with my computer.  I didn't want to read a book because it would make me feel guilty about writing.  Even looking at the document for my book made me feel nervous.

I didn't want to write.

I haven't felt that feeling in a long time and it scared me.  A lot.  Writing has been a part of me my entire adult life and a decent portion of my pre-adult too.  I started thinking about my age, the fact I'm about to turn twenty-one and now would be a good time for a career change, a good time to learn something new.

I felt horrible and stressed for days.  Then, I was doing my bible study lesson for the week and I read something really important.  I read about how discouragement comes from Satan.  It reminded me that Satan is an accuser as well as the adversary who's main goal is to destroy my happiness, my peace, and my commitment to God.  It also reminded me to go to God in prayer for His protection.  Satan is strong but we know that he is defeated already.

I'd been letting my peace and joy be destroyed by self-doubt that didn't even make sense.  Yeah, I'm not the best writer ever and yeah, my books need a lot of work, but I can do it.  I prayed about it and for the last few weeks I've been able to write again.  I'm not back to 1,000 words a day yet but I'm doing 800 and I'm getting warmed up again.

I've crossed the 70,000 word threshold at this point with my book and I'm about to start a key chain of events leading to the middle conflict, which will set off a chain of events leading to the end.  So close and yet, so much more to go!

I sent the prologue to my critique group this week.  I kind of threw it onto paper when I was writing because I couldn't get the beginning right and I wanted to write an action opening.  I threw my main character into the middle of a situation and then spent the next several days trying to write the first few chapters to get her there in the first place.  Guess we'll see how it turns out!

- Anna Leigh

P.S. Happy New Year, by the way.  I was skimming through my posts and realized I haven't written since November.  Like I said above, it's been a rough few months but that's behind me now!


  1. I wish I had known you were battling such discouragement! I would have prayed for you, and tried to encourage you. Let me know next time satan is prowling around seeking to destroy your aspirations as a writer. ~Abby

  2. Yes, it would have been much better if I'd told you and prayers would've definitely been helpful. I kept thinking I could work through it and then I just wouldn't. I will tell you if it ever happens again!