I said in my last post I needed to find some answers before I could move forward. At the time I wrote that post, I was in dialogue with a writer friend who is well-acquainted with the angst I expressed. A few hours after I published my post, she sent me a link to a brilliant one by Robin LaFevers on Writer Unboxed. Though I subscribe to that blog, I missed reading that post. Maybe it just wasn’t time yet.
The title of that fantastic article is “The Seven Stages of Publishing Grief (or Hello Darkness, My Old Friend).” I felt as if it were written directly to me. Obviously it wasn’t so there’s comfort in knowing that what I’ve been going through is common to all writers at some point in their career. As LaFevers writes:
So this seemed like a good time to talk about writers and disappointment. For while writing is one of the most rewarding pursuits in the world, publishing can be a long, slow, painful slog toward the pit of despair, and you can quickly find yourself in the soul sucking land of Major Disappointment. And guess what? This disappointment applies equally to pre-published, traditionally published, and indie published authors alike, so I guess that’s the upside: egalitarianism!
Yes, I’ve been “slogging toward the pit of despair” for a while now. But I’m overjoyed to know that’s normal—and survivable. I’ve read through those seven stages several times. I’ve been working through the Reflection stage, and now I’m about to move into Reconstruction. And I’m looking forward to Resurrection. LaFevers says:
It’s essential that you don’t get stuck in one of the first four stages for the rest of your life. It is vitally important to your creative soul that you keep moving through them all the way to the Resurrection Stage, for without that, you’re simply stuck in a really ugly place for a very long time.
If you’re a publishing writer, or hope to be, do yourself a favor and go read that post. If you don’t need it now, save it because some day you’re going to find yourself trudging down that dark path.
10 thoughts on “Trudging Down That Dark Path of Despair”
Thanks for sharing this as it is so relevant! I attended an editing and revision workshop at our local university yesterday and was amazed to see many well established writers (some I have long admired) in attendance. They all admitted they go through these stages over and over again. It certainly made me feel better.
I’m glad you found it helpful, Darlene. 🙂 Sometimes, as a writer, I feel isolated so it’s always comforting to know I’m not. I think that’s the best thing about connecting with other writers online.
Thanks for sharing, Linda. I read the post, and am glad I did. I sometimes think I move back and forth between the stages. I certainly recognized each stage in me at one time or another. I’m pretty firmly on record, however, in saying that the best thing about this community is how we pick each other up when it’s needed. When we’re feeling low we need to quit thinking we’re alone in this writing business and reach out to our pals… That goes for me, too. Too often I’ve thought about giving this whole thing up…
I hope you’re doing well.
That’s true, Jimmy. This online community of writers has kept me going for a long time now. I’m still mired in indecision, but I know I’ll survive. 🙂
That really is such an amazing article. I read it every time I’m feeling down, down, down, and remind myself things go in cycles.
I plan to do the same, Michelle. I read it again today, actually.
I agree with the article where it said in this day and age it’s inpossible not to comparing ourselves with other writers. It’s difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t yet published a book exactly what happens afterward. I mean we likely wouldn’t have believed it either. I’m so hoping this doesn’t happen when my next book comes out. I’m hopeful that since I’m really busy on a few other projects I’ll pay less attention and just let this book become what it will.
Many writers don’t talk about this, and I think it’s important. It’s good to know we’re “normal” in that respect! Hang in their, Linda! You’ll come back feeling stronger.
You’re right, Laura, this ability to connect with so many other writers over the Internet—or at least read their blogs—has its negatives as well. But it’s always nice to know we’re not alone.
Best of luck on your upcoming publication. 🙂
I think that’s true of any creative effort. Though it’s not likely I will earn much money from my photography, you can’t help to compare your own talent and body of work with others. I generally see work by other photographers to improve my skill set. Receiving the occasional, nice comment is the encouragement to keep moving along.
Hope your new novel will do very well.
Nice comments are definitely encouraging, David. I’ve experienced that myself in the last couple of days. 🙂