Discouragement and the Older Writer
Is discouragement with writing any different for the older writer?
The older writer has the same pitfalls as any author, in addition to a whole other field of sinkholes.
A lot has been written by and for writers about not giving up. Advice pours forth like rain in April and nervous writers drink it up.
For the older writer, many of our distractions, problems, setbacks, have their own unique characteristics. A different group of life events causes us to have serious setbacks. Some of the most troublesome for our writing careers are not things like school starting, getting married, a new career, or a demanding job. They are painful interferences, like the death of a friend or loved one, being diagnosed with a serious illness, caring for a sick parent or loved one, or even taking the grandkids in for a week. These things can cause an author to set their writing aside and even give up on it entirely.
How to keep writing no matter what
1. Find ways to stay positive.
Life is too precious to waste days being anxious or depressed. Find a good book on how to stay positive. If you’re pressed for time, keep it in the bathroom and never sit down without reading a page.
Being happy and being positive are decisions we make.
Choose to be happy.
2. Keep in touch with friends.
Relatives are wonderful, but it’s friends who listen to you vent and cheer you up when all is grim. Take time out for lunch with a friend, see a movie, or just chat over tea and coffee.
3. Establish ties with other authors.
This one not only got me to be a writer, but my author friends have kept me writing over and over again every time I was ready to give up. Find other authors in your area; your local library is a good place to do this. If that doesn’t work, they are easy to find online.
4. Keep writing every day despite what life throws at you.
Joe Konrath, (if you aren’t familiar with him, check out his blog) one of the most successful eBook authors, writes 3.000 words a day, every day, and he will stay up into the wee hours to maintain that word rate on days that he is busy with other activities. His favorite advice? BIC – butt in chair!
You don’t have to write 3,000 words a day like Joe, but try to dedicate even 30 minutes a day for writing.
Every week I write a list of about five, to-dos for my writing. The first one on the list is the number of pages I will write that week. Rather than a daily amount, I keep it weekly, to about 14 or more pages a week.
Find a method that works for you.
5. Explore helpful tools.
Try a mini recorder, carry a small laptop, an iPad, even a small notebook to take advantage of any downtime when you’re away from home. I have a friend (much more technically advanced than myself!) who uses a voice activation tool to record her writing directly to her computer. Don’t let an opportunity to write pass you by.
The months after the holidays can be a good time to write, and this year I had a three-month recovery period after hip surgery in late January. I was wheelchair bound and had figured on getting a lot of writing done—I didn’t.
I did read a lot of books, though, and made some progress on my newest novel, but nothing like I’d hoped.
Criticizing myself for that indulgence got me nowhere. It took time, but I finally got back on track. The best way not to get into that state is to stay on track in the first place. That thought inspired me to repeat this blog.
Hope you find it helpful,
Some suggested reading:
Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, by Martin E.P. Seligman
Happy for No Reason, by Marci Shimoff