When Obstacles Bar Your Way

There are plenty of obstacles in writing. Some of them aren’t just with the writing process itself. Of course, you have lazy urges not to write and rewrite, you have temptations to do other things, you have discouraging moments when you know that you’ve made a dumb move.

But there’s also other aspects: You receive a nasty pellet of criticism, a publishing house rejects you, your artist decides to leave you hanging. Your work isn’t backed up on a secure drive, so your 99-cent thumb drive crashes and you lose all of it. Maybe someone looked over your shoulder, saw a sentence or two, and sneered before walking away, snickering.

I’ll be frank with you: for those who had their heart set on publication by the end of this week, these grievances can be devastating, and some more or less than others. They are certainly all very annoying, although when someone destroys your prized work on purpose or on accident (trust me, I’ve been there) you feel…well, to put it bluntly, very discouraged.

And sometimes, there isn’t that little miracle that ensures you that it “wasn’t so bad after all”. Sometimes there’s only complete ruin. However, sometimes it’s only a little setback. Sometimes you discover that you accidentally backed up a past work on a pages document on an old computer you had.

But–through thick and thin, starving or plenty, comfort or cold–they are just setbacks. Look: I’m not belittling any setback that happens to you. But you can’t deny this fact: however bad it is, you can recover. Setbacks only serve to set you back, not to permanently incapacitate you.

Setbacks cannot destroy you. You would have to go blind, lose your hands, get Alzheimer’s, or die before you couldn’t write anymore. Setbacks or only setbacks; you can recover from anything that doesn’t hinder your ability to write. Often, the setbacks that happen to you are of a different sort than the phenomena I just named.

They say that the one who loses is not the one who gets knocked down. The loser is the one who stays down. And no matter how hard you get hit, you can always find a way to come back (thanks Spidey…again) If it’s a setback, you can recover from it.

The only person who dictates that you stay down is yourself. If you choose to stop fighting, then you lose. Other people may knock you down, but it’s your choice whether to stay down or not. This may seem like me talking demotivation, but really, it’s not. If you can purpose within yourself that no matter how many times you’re struck down you’ll always get back up, you determine whether you will win–or lose.

Writing is not the glamorous job some make it out to be. Almost nothing in life is. Whoever said “The grass is always greener on the other side” was constantly looking for a way up in life–by dashing from field to field. Just because someone thinks writing is all puppy dogs and ice cream just because they don’t do it is wrong.

Writing has its problems, just like everything else. And whatever happens, you determine when you fail. Or, if you don’t want to fail, you struggle to your feet and forge onward. Writers strive for success and excellence, and I feel that you are no exception.

So you get up off your couch. Maybe you take your story and start from scratch. Maybe you re-submit your book a hundred different places. Perhaps you give another illustrator a shot. But, whatever you do, you will never, ever give up.

Good luck, and happy writing!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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