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Negative Feedback & Discouragement

I wrote this on a night when I was feeling super discouraged. It's kind of a downer in the beginning, but it has a happy ending, believe me! I think it's important to see both the good and the ugly of writing, so here we go...

Here's some harsh, unfiltered honesty: I'm really struggling right now. The doubt is burrowing in my mind. WHAT LIES ABOVE is the piece of my journey that means the most. I've spent so much time and worry and tears on it. I've given up things to work on it. I've done HARD things to make it shine. I've gotten harsh feedback. I've endured revision after revision.

This isn't about pity. I'm no better than anyone. I'm no better than YOU. I know that you have experienced or are experiencing something that is shaking you up inside. And maybe it's hard to look at so many other writers being so successful and happy all the time. Maybe it's hard to look at ME. I'm generally very bubbly and cheery, always encouraging everyone to never give up. But sometimes I want to give up. Sometimes I can't overlook the doubt or the criticism. Sometimes I cry, and get anxious, and fear that WHAT LIES ABOVE just isn't fixable. Sometimes I'm sad. Sometimes I need reassurance. None of us can carry this alone.

I have a God who, through it all, is within me. He isn't somewhere far off, watching me struggle. Watching me doubt. He's INSIDE me. Everywhere I go, He's there.

I have a mom who is honestly the most amazing, supportive mother any writer (or girl in general) could ask for.

I have a CP, Abigail, who I literally can never begin to thank enough. I messaged her last night, and I needed her support. That might make me sound weak, but it isn't weak to need support. We all need it. We doubt ourselves daily. Strength is in persevering despite that doubt.

I messaged her and she responded with this... "I will always support you! You are going to be successful because you work for it! The road isn’t easy but your hard work will pay off!"

You are going to be successful because you work for it.

I don't know how to follow that up, but I'll try. Guys, I'm tired. I'm drained. I'm anxious, and fearful, and doubting. I WANT it. I've cried out to God so many times, asking Him what His purpose is with me. With my work. With WHAT LIES ABOVE. Is it destined for a dark drawer somewhere? Or is it destined for readers? Is it destined for someone who needs it?

Authors get bad reviews. They get hate mail, and negative comments. It's almost guaranteed. But that same book which got the bad review and the hate mail and the negative comments also be someone else's favorite book. It could mean so much to them.

Lots of people talk about how J.K. Rowling got rejected dozens of times for her multi-billion dollar series. But did you know that even after making those billions and becoming one of the most famous children's writers of our day, she was rejected under pseudonym Galbraith for a subsequent crime novel? Publishers rejected J.K. Rowling, AFTER her wild success. And yes, she had a different name. But it was the same writer behind that name. The same talent.

Did you also know that, when a fan asked her if she had felt nervous to query her crime novel, knowing she was "fab", she responded, "Believe me, neither Galbraith nor I walk around thinking we’re fab. We just shoot for ‘writing better than yesterday’"?

If publishers can reject J.K. Rowling after the success she had, there's close to a 100% guarantee someone is going to shoot you down and make you doubt yourself. I never condone revenge or getting even, but I use the discouragement and the shooting down as fuel, to push me harder. I'm not a "fab" writer either. I know I have faults and weaknesses, and my books have issues. But don't let self-doubt and other's negativity put you in a place of defeat. Sometimes, we need to hear hard feedback. Sometimes, it will hurt. But don't let it define you. Not every comment someone makes is 100% an indisputable truth. One person says your writing is beautiful. Another says it is flowery and fake. One says they feel in the moment. Another says the pacing is stilted and slow. PERSPECTIVE.

I can't promise that anything will be handed to you on a golden platter. In fact, I can promise you the exact OPPOSITE. You'll have to work hard. You'll have to push yourself passed where you thought was your limit. You might have to cry. You might have to break a little. But you know what?

You'll be a better writer for it. You'll GROW because of it.

Have you ever heard of Kintsugi? It's a Japanese art where broken pottery is mended with seams of gold. In the end, the finished product is worth more than the original.

Your book is that pottery. It might have to undergo change after change, and be ripped apart and broken and pieced together all new. But it will be more beautiful because of it.

YOU are that pottery. You might break, and doubt, and consider giving up. You will face challenges and hardships and make tough decisions. You will be rejected, and climb mountains only to fall back into the valley. But you know what? It will make the journey all the more sweet in the end.

Sometimes I think about how crazy and twisted and amazing my writing journey has been. I started my first book when I was twelve. Since that day, I've written new books, had full requests, overhauled WHAT LIES ABOVE countless times, had "the call" with an agent, only to turn them down -- a devastating blow. I've gone to a conference, made amazing friends, had many happy-dancing-days and many frustrated-crying-days. It's been a roller coaster.

But in the end, I will be a stronger writer for it. In the end, my journey will be so much more incredible and amazing for it.

And yours will too. So hold on to that, through the doubt. Through the discouragement. Through the pain of harsh feedback and rejection. Persevere, my lovely friends. It will all be worth it in the end.

Share your thoughts below! Are you feeling discouraged? Are you celebrating? Let me know below! :)

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