“Words of encouragement fan the sparks of genius into the flame of achievement. Legend tells us that Lincoln’s dying mother called her small son to her bedside and whispered, ‘Be somebody, Abe!'”
Wilfred Peterson, The Art of Living Treasure Chest
Writing isn’t the easiest game in the world — no wonder it’s easy to become discouraged about the progress you’re not making or the wrong turn your story has taken. When this happens, what you say to yourself and what others say to you about where you are can make a huge difference in how and whether you push on or fold your tent.
Here’s what we all need to keep going: encouragement counselors! These are the people in your life that you can count on time and again to rev you up and keep you going. These are not mindless cheerleaders, but mindful champions of your writing: They understand how hard you work and how much your work means to you. They may not know the nuts and bolts of the obstacles you’re facing — internal or external — and they don’t really need to. All they need to do is to believe in you. through this simple yet life-changing act, they can renew your ability to believe in yourself.
So, when you hit a snag or feel muddled or unequal to the task before you, don’t slip into the Slough of Despond and get bogged down in it. That’s just a waste of time and energy. Instead, reach for the phone or send an email to one of your encouragement counselors and let them give you a boost. And make sure you let them know that you’ll do the same for them the next time they need it.
And never forget that you are the best, most effective encouragement counselor you have on tap. If you can keep your self-talk positive even when you hit a roadblock, then you can pull yourself out of a tight spot hand over hand without even having to call in the
troops. Why beat yourself up when you can just as easily boost yourself up?
Why not have a stuck-in-the-mud strategy you can put into play as soon as you see you’re getting off track? It can be as simple as saying to yourself, “I’ve got everything I need inside me” and continuing to write. Or, if you can’t find just the right phrase, saying “It will come to me,” and continuing to write. Or “The right words are waiting for me,” and continuing to write.
So often, we let ourselves get bogged down by doubt and confusion when we could easily write our way out of them and into a stunning sentence and a thrilling paragraph. What we need is waiting for us, clamoring to be heard. All we have to do is choose to move forward instead of standing still. Write on!