Two steps forward, one step back. That’s the way life seems to work, doesn’t it? You move a little bit forward before getting pushed back by an obstacle or a hardship. For writers, it can feel especially hard. A rejection. An unfinished manuscript. They all seem to stand in the way of moving forward with our careers.
Several years ago, I had a couple of steps backwards in my life. My father had an extended hospital stay right around the holidays, making it difficult to focus on work, because I wanted to focus on him and getting him well. I had a short story rejected by a major magazine, which hurt my confidence. It can be hard to push through, to keep fighting, to continue stepping forward while knowing something will force you step back. Giving up seems like the easy option. You can’t be hurt if you don’t try.
Giving up is never the answer.
We, that creative species known as writers, can be incredibly plucky and incredibly hard on ourselves. Our devotion to write is powerful. So we take a lot of what happens to us and to the world to heart. It makes us human. It helps us relate to the emotions of others and our characters. It can make us better writers. However, it should never prevent us from living or working. It shouldn’t deprive us our passion for the craft. Setbacks can be lessons or reminders. They are not weapons. Learn from the moment, cherish what you have and what you’ve produced, and keep moving forward. The only way you’ll get anywhere as a writer is if you continue to write, continue to submit, and continue to believe in what you do.
There’s something interesting about that old adage. Two steps forward, one step back. You’re still moving one step forward at a time.