The Upside of Feeling Down

Writers feel down at times. Discouraged. Defeated. And that’s perfectly normal. In fact, it would be abnormal not to experience bouts of doubt.

We expose ourselves in our stories. The thoughts, feelings, and ideas explored in our works of fiction come from inside us, sometimes so deep inside we’re unaware of how much we’ve revealed about who we are and what lies within.

When we contemplate sending our work out into the world, fears and insecurities can creep in. Others might be unable to appreciate our vivid descriptions or admire our cleverly worded dialogue. They could say unkind things—or even laugh. Our confidence could be shaken, our hope crushed.

However, the fact that we examine our work and question the fruits of our creative outbursts is cause for rejoicing. Those who can’t see any weaknesses in what they’ve written are destined to remain at the same level. Those of us who are able to pass a critical eye over our stories and see room for improvement will improve.

We’re not content with mediocre work. We want to write the best possible stories we can and will push ourselves to the next level . . . and the next. We’ll study craft, undertake rigorous self-edits, and invite feedback from trusted partners. And we’ll make progress.

Another reason for rejoicing in our ability to view our work, warts and all, and accept the fact that it’s not where we want it to be is that we’ve produced something with promise. Sure, it isn’t what we want it to be, but we’ve infused it with life, with feeling. After all, it made us feel something.

That something might begin as negative, but as we massage the words and mold them into a pleasing form, those feelings will change, as feelings have a way of doing. When we keep writing through our down times, we’ll watch our stories take shape, grow, and become more than we imagined. And we’ll experience the outgrowth of creative endeavor: joy.

When I read the comments on my post about overcoming self-defeating thoughts, I was encouraged. I saw one writer after another who has what it takes to succeed. Despite feeling down at times, you don’t give in. You go on day after day, week after week in pursuit of a dream—a wonderful, enriching, life-affirming dream that was birthed in the depths of your being. I applaud you and anticipate celebrating many successes with you in the near future.

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What do you see as hidden benefits of weathering the down times?

What has continuing to write even when you don’t feel like it taught you?


Wikimedia Commons image by Piotrus

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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7 Responses to The Upside of Feeling Down

  1. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    Very easy for me to answer these questions. Being down and being in terrible situations made me start writing. I wrote to get out of that state or to escape from the situation (being locked in and forced to take sleeping pills for almost one year by my ex hubby) at least mentally. So…. bad times and depression times made me start writing…lol.
    And in my stories my characters were in a similar situation and managed to get away from it. 🙂

  2. candidkerry says:

    Being down but pushing through and continuing to write taught me a whole new level of perseverance. The writing must go on, rain or shine in my life! 🙂 I tend to flow through life on emotions, but I’m learning to work through my emotions (they are so very transient) and keep my eyes on the writing goal(s) I’ve set for myself.

    I want to be faithful with the tasks I’m given to do, whether by the Lord or by others.

    My hubby is a very stick-with-it guy, so I’m also learning that from him, the longer we’re married. 🙂

    I hope you’re having a good week!

  3. I agree with you, Keli. We all have our moments. Down times, like clouds and rain, are part of life. Without them, would we truly appreciate the joy that comes with breaking free into the light of a beautiful day? I may not write as much or at all during a down time, yet my writing will naturally show more emotional diversity, greater height and depth, influenced by those down times. I don’t suffer long down times. I am grateful for this. Blessings to you, Keli…

  4. Tana Adams says:

    I DO believe writers need to write. in fact what holds me back the most is not having my lap top with me at times. I son’t know if I’ll have it with me this summer for up to 6 weeks! And already I’m wondering what in the heck I’m going to do. Old school (paper) or my ipad. I have no idea how to transfer info from it. I do have a nice purse-size keyboard for it though. Both, maybe?

  5. erin says:

    I’m in a down time right now… my publisher is going through some major changes and I have no idea when (or if!) they’ll purchase another book from me anytime soon. It’s discouraging… but i agree that I need to continue to write even if there’s no pressing motivation (ie. a book contract looming). This is a very timely post for me!

  6. Tamika says:

    The waiting hurts as much as the writing some days. I sit on the fence with faith and hope- it’s the only thing that keeps me from throwing in the towel.

  7. AWESOME post, Keli – – WOW!!! 🙂 Such a wonderful perspective on weathering those “down” times. ~ My “Word for 2011” is Perseverance, so simply by having that as “My Word” for the year is helping me – – because as the old saying goes….”No pain, no gain” so even with rejection letters, self-doubts, etc.etc. I know it’s SO important to keep plugging away. I’ve probably shared this before, but there are many encouraging Scriptures that help me, personally, and I keep those handy too! 🙂 Thank you again for sharing.

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