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When Things Don’t Go the Way You Expect

Jen here:

When we write stories, we are constantly putting our characters in difficult situations, creating disappointment and discouragement. But since we’re in control, we know what’s going to happen, that it’s for their own good, and that it’ll all end up happily ever after.

Too bad we don’t have those same guarantees in our lives. Any artistic pursuit will have disappointment. Probably more disappointments than there will be successes. And as artist, our temperament is to feel those losses more keenly.

Here are three things to keep in mind when things aren’t following your plan.

  • Life in general is a rollercoaster.


Add artistic pursuits and it goes to a whole ‘nother level of intensity. So—and I say this as a person reminding myself of it daily—try to roll with it. Yes, I realize that is not our natural inclination, but it is the tactic that will keep you sane. Sometimes you’ll have a great schedule and lots of productive writing time. Other times, your writer’s block is thicker than the Berlin Wall. Or you have no time because of other responsibilities like family, job, or your own health. Accepting the ebbs and flows of life embraces each day as a gift from God and part of His perfect plot as the Master Writer.

  • The publishing world is not about you.


Lack of success, however you want to define it, may or may no be related to your writing ability. Yes, you might have been rejected by a contest/agent/editor because your writing isn’t up to snuff. But there are also many, many other possibilities. I’ve sat in many pub boards as a managing editor. I’ve seen projects rejected for ridiculous reasons. And projects accepted on not much more than a whim. This is not a process you can control; there are so many variables. So you have to do your best then let it go. It is the only way to stay sane.

  • Keep doing you.


Most importantly, go back to your why. Why do you write? There are a lot of answers to this question. Focus on that and keep reaching for your why the best way you can in this season of your life. Everyone’s path is different, so don’t compare. Keep working on your craft and moving in the direction you feel led.

Life doesn’t wrap up nicely like our stories do. Take the curve balls that will come as an opportunity to touch back with your values and keep pressing on!


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