More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

When you feel like giving up

Image from Max PixelImportant: If you or someone you know is threatening to commit self-harm, call your emergency service number (911 in the United States) immediately. For additional assistance in the United States, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

When you are in a safe place, please read on.

It’s hard to listen to reason and reassurance when everything seems to have fallen apart. The partner you depended on leaves, your agent won’t return your calls, publishers keep rejecting your work, and the books you published yourself aren’t selling. You get a one-star review or don’t get any reviews at all. Your writing looks like crap to you. You look like crap to you.

The last things you want to hear is that every writer has this experience and you will get through this.

Actually, those are the last things you will hear. After self-doubt gets hoarse from screaming at you day and night, after your inner critic gets tired from chipping away at your self-worth, after disappointment releases its frosty grip and melts away, you are ready for the quiet that allows this truth to be heard. When you have come through the pain, you will realize that you have the strength to get back to creating.

Writing makes us vulnerable. We send pieces of our souls to a world that mostly wants something to read while using the toilet. But we keep writing because we know someone needs our words. Someone will care as much about the worlds we create as we do.

Don’t give up — as tempting as it is and as painful as it is to continue. Failure is a part of your journey and a test of your character. You will be measured by what you learn and how you recover from a setback. And if you keep pressing on, you will become a better writer and a stronger person.