Writing Life Survivor Tips

Photo/KarenJordanHow do you endure setbacks in your writing life? If you’ve embraced writing for publication, you’ve probably faced discouraging obstacles in your journey.

I’ve also faced a few stumbling blocks in other areas of my life, such as my health. After every health or family crisis, I struggle to get back on track with my exercising and walking program.

I discovered my desperate need for exercise after a minor foot injury last summer. As I climbed the very first hill on an asphalt trail near my home, my heart raced. I resisted the temptation to sit down at first. And by the time I made it to the top of that hill, I felt like I’d been walking over an hour. As I plodded on, in pain, the trail leveled. But I continued to struggle with each new hill.

Since I carried my camera, I paused several times to capture an interesting shot along the way. I only intended to walk for about 30 minutes. But when I checked the time, I discovered an hour had passed.

I learned some things about myself on the walking trail that apply to the other areas of my life, including my writing life.

  1. Recognize limitations and needs. I must allow myself the freedom to take breaks when I need them. I can cause more damage if I don’t stay off my feet with a foot injury. And in the waiting rooms of life, rest often provides what I really need the most.
  2. Keep going. Don’t quit when the journey gets tough. I need to remind myself of that truth, when the walking trail or the pace of my writing efforts becomes difficult.
  3. Set goals. It helps to have daily goals, even if I miss the mark or go beyond my goal at the end of the day or the project. When I planned to walk 30 minutes, I discovered that I could endure for an hour walk. If I forget to set some measurable goals in my writing life, I fail to recognize my progress.
  4. Enjoy the journey. When I walk, taking my camera along to capture a few of the scenes helps me enjoy the sights along the way and forget about the effort it takes to go the distance. In my writing life, connecting with other writers brings new friendships, insights, opportunities, and encouragement. Plus, choosing my topics and commitments carefully engages my creativity and serves as a motivating force when the writing process becomes overwhelming or difficult.
  5. Reward yourself along the way. The benefits from my walks and my writing life enhance other parts of my life. Of course, as my health improves, other areas of my life benefit, too. Also, my new photography interest contributes to our family albums, and my nature shots add some great content for my blog posts. My writing successes also increase my self-confidence and encourage me to keep going when the journey makes me weary.

What helps you survive your writing life when the journey gets difficult?

18 Replies to “Writing Life Survivor Tips”

  1. Thanks, Karen. These are great points. I try to walk every day too and find that helps me to clear my mind. A walk can be a great time to connect with God and ground myself for the day. Betsy

  2. Keep going — needed to hear that today, my friend. Thank you for reminding us writer types we are in it together. The hills are easier to climb when you know someone else has been there and climbed that.

    1. Hey, Anita! I know you’re climbing a tough hill this week. And I’m so grateful to know that we’re in this together together, too. Praying for you this week, my friend!

  3. Karen: You know I always enjoy your comments, and can relate to the need for exercise and the foot problems. I’m still having problems from an injury almost a month ago. I agree with all your thoughts, but would add that prayer is the most vital survival tool of all. Without my constant link to My Heavenly Father, all of my life would be impaired. On 9/26 I will have been without Jack for 13 years. His sudden passing taught me more about survival and surrender than I ever hoped to learn. Knowing that God has a purpose for me here, gives me the motivation I need every day to get up and go after whatever He has in store for me. Thanks for the words, and blessings on you and yours…always. Linda

  4. All your ideas are great for continuing to press forward in spite of setbacks. They’re all very humanly necessary. We must be gentle and nurture ourselves on this grueling journey. After a setback, I also have to step back and turn to the Lord, quietly waiting before him and allowing him to put me back together. He reminds me of his goals for my writing, and then I have the strength to move forward again.

    1. So true, Melinda. Seeking God first and waiting on His direction is a priority. All our human efforts seem pretty worthless in comparison to His mercy and grace.

  5. I also have been struggling with a foot injury from July. It is difficult to know when to go on and when to not push. If I was on my foot for any length of time I would end up off of it again but I found if I exercised for short periods of time several times through the day I could build it up again. I am now able to go to the gym and walk again but it has been a log process. God is like that to. Giving us what we can handle in small increments and slowly building us up. Thaks for the post, it really blessed me. God bless you.
    Glenda Parker

    1. Sorry about your foot injury, Glenda. I’m trying to be more careful, too. I’m recovering from shin splints now; so, I’m building up my strength again. But I’m SO grateful for the lessons I’m learning! Right now, I’m also studying the book of James–timely lessons there for finding joy in the journey.

    1. Carole, you are so right! We do need encouragement when the circumstances of life get a bit overwhelming. And I appreciate all the encouraging words here SO much. Blessings!

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