How to Deal With the Feeling Your Writing Dream Won’t Come True

I think every writer has felt like they’d never make it at some point, like their writing dream would never come true. Take some encouragement from this video in which I provide a simple strategy for moving past that yucky emotion.

I think what compounds the feeling that the writing dream won’t come true for a lot of writers is that it’s so hard to figure out what even constitutes success. Is that a certain amount of money? Copies sold? Being able to write a follow-up book with freedom?

writing dream questions

And as those questions swirl, the negative bias people have about writers doesn’t let up.

But if you can define what success means FOR YOU, you can at least start tracking. And tracking at least verifies SOMETHING is happening. There’s no way to say you’re not trying. And if you’re trying, you’re headed in the right direction no matter what feelings might be swirling.

Image credit:
Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

[Transcript summary]

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I have had many book projects for many, many, many years. Some of them are progressing, and some of them are kind of on hold. Some of them are moving faster than others. But lately, it has been extremely difficult for me to get past this feeling that nothing’s going to happen.

This is something I think a lot of writers struggle with, because getting a book out into the world is not easy. It does take a ton of time. There are a lot of setbacks. Sometimes, we have providers who fall through, or we can’t find beta readers that easily. Sometimes, we have to revise more than we thought we’d have to. All of those things can just give us this big weight on our shoulders like our dream is never going to get there. Writing is a lengthy process, and we know that, but that feeling can still get in the way of writing well and finishing what we started.

So, how do you get past that?

For me, the biggest thing that has been helpful is to be very meticulous about going through my processes, setting up steps and procedures, and tracking progress every day. That is not to say that you should have daily word counts and all that. I don’t like those. But you need some way to be able to look back and say, “I’m further than I was yesterday,” or “What did I accomplish?” You’re able to track those things and see that you’re really not as stuck as you thought you were. You are moving. It might be slow progress, but there is progress happening. Sometimes, if you can visually see that you’re moving, you can get that feeling to back off a little bit.

Another advantage is that, when you have that kind of tracking, you can make a projection to say, “Well, if this is the way that things are going, I might finish in about *this point*.” Having that goalpost that’s realistic based on the actual data that you’re getting — not just what you want to happen, but what you’re actually seeing happen — can kind of take that weight off, too. You know what’s realistic, and you know you’re going to get there if you just keep going.

So, make these systems and processes and do that kind of analysis. You need a little bit of logic, sometimes, to deal with and counterbalance the emotions that you’re having. Use that to your advantage if you’ve got that weight on your shoulders like things aren’t moving too fast.