In second grade I was almost buried alive in snow. In sixth grade, I had to walk through a wall of fire. By tenth grade, I fell off a 50 foot waterfall. After 30 years of marriage, I lost my first wife to cancer . . . and today I am fighting that battle myself. It seems there are always things that can discourage you or make you want to give up. The key is learning from those events.
Recently, I discovered I had esophageal cancer and my world was turned upside . . . again. With no insurance and no regular job, things were starting to look pretty bleak, but I had survived before and I knew I could do it again. I have written two books and was working on the third when this news kind of threw me for a loop. I had been doing pretty good at writing everyday for almost two weeks solid, when suddenly the motivation just stopped, dried up, was gone.
As a writer, we perform a juggling act every day. We must balance, family, life and work. So what happens when the well dries up? What happens when life gets overwhelming and or you just draw a blank? Many people just assume that's a sign from God that maybe this isn't what you are supposed to do, maybe you should just give up and move on. Maybe I'm just strange . . . OK, no maybe about it, but I believe these trials and life altering situations are for a reason. That reason is NOT so you give up . . . it's there to make you stronger. Especially as a writer, ANYTHING that can stop you from writing can also be the same fuel to help you start writing again.
I am reminded about a man who was so overweight, he was told he only had six months to live. He got so discouraged, he became suicidal. He wanted to leave his family something, so he figured if he would just die and at least they could benefit from his insurance. Obviously he was aware that insurance companies do not pay out for suicide, so he decided he would have to die in such a way that it looked like natural causes. He decided to run himself to death. His first attempt only got him about 3 blocks, before he knelt over grabbing his chest and he felt like he was going to die, but he didn't. He tried again the second night and got a little further. Determined to give his family a better life, he continued night after night, until he realized he wasn't panting, his heart wasn't about to burst, and he actually felt better than he had in years. In six months time, he lost over 100 pounds and was finally starting to live again.
I encourage all writers to keep a journal. Just because you may not be able to write your great american novel at the moment, doesn't mean you can not write at all. Write about the pain of a lost one, write about the fear of facing cancer or losing your job. Whatever it is that's stopping you . . . use it. Don't let your excuses use you, you need to use them to press forward.
I had to recreate this website after two years, because of financial difficulties. I was afraid of having to start from scratch. I didn't have a clue about how to save old blog entries, but that's OK. Here I am starting from scratch, building a bigger and better website for less money than I did originally. It does not matter if you are in a battle for your life or just in a battle with your own self confidence, the key is never give up. Learn from what you are being given and go on. I'm still going to get that third book out and you can still get your first out . . . if you keep going. Pausing to deal with life is not the end of the world . . . it's what gives you the perspective to write even better than before.