Friday, February 5, 2010

Aspiring Advice: Dealing with Discouragement

Discouragement . . . a disparaging word.
But what is it, exactly? A state of mind, mood . . . an illusion? All of the above? It is a feeling that all are expected to feel, multiple times, throughout their life. It is a deprivation of courage, a lack of confidence, a dissuasion from our goals. I think no one understands this better than writers.

Well . . . actors and musicians, too, I guess.
Quantum theorists, maybe?

Why do I bring up such a dismal topic? I, too, must deal with discouragement. Last night, I lay in my bed, resting my head on a neck pillow that I stole from my wife, thinking about what I have done and accomplished, besides successfully stealing a pillow from my wife. Not an easy feat, I assure you. Five books, almost six, a few poems, fewer short stories, one of them being evaluated by Writers of the Future right now, and four novel rejections (two by publishing staff--trust me, those manuscripts are not worth the paper it's printed on, at least for now. They are revision worthy, I think). Next month, I will have written for twelve years.
Twelve. That's a long time. Thankfully, having started so young, I'm only 27, but when I was trying to fall asleep last night, I couldn't help but wonder--will my time, that I have so arduously invested, pay off in the end?

I cannot tell you the answer to that. By all means, if you know something I don't, do tell. If I may summon but a few words, I was very discouraged last night. I felt worn out, my brain stretched paper-thin, and my vocabulary exhausted. There is nothing pristine, sulking in the shadow.

Meh. Enough whining. There's not enough cheese for it.

This may sound ubber depressing, but my point is that if you want to write, if you want to make a career out of it, expect discouragement. More so, if you decide to take college courses other than writing and literature. It's easier for you to know that discouragement will come, rather than ignore the inevitable and crash later. Write on. Some of the best writ has come from the hands of discouraged writers. John Keats for example.
Bright Star. Good movie. Sad, but good.

The best way I have found to turn my frown up-side-down is to remember that the sun will rise. What
you and I have to offer is unique. Words belong to everyone, but the way you use them will set you apart. Your view of the world, or another world, is one that only you can fabricate. Know that it will take time. At the end of that day, you will have something to show for yourself. A chapter, a page . . . a paragraph, a line! That is something! Keep going, every day. Your efforts will not be vain. Your talent augments with each quote, your refinement embellishes with each critique, and your spirit livens when you type that last period. Your voice will be heard someday . . . Today! Be stubborn. Be tenacious. Be affluent. We'll make it. Yes, we will.

This may not be much of an inspirational column, but it has helped me, more than you know. I hope you've been helped, too. Have a
fantabulous Superbowl weekend. If you're wondering where I am, I'll be hiding in the kitchen with my notebook, hogging the guacamole. Mine!

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