New Year, New Start: A Word of Encouragement for Writers | | writing tips, writing inspiration, new year

New Year, New Start: A Word of Encouragement for Writers

This year is the end of questions.

It is the end of wondering, floundering, and worrying about the future.

It is the end of waiting for your purpose.

Dear writer, you know who you are. Admit it. You might try to hide behind a corporate career, a teaching gig, or even something as beautiful as motherhood.

Well, stop.

It’s a shiny new year, and you don’t have time to hide. You’re busy, and you don’t have time (or energy) to devote to unimportant things or trite resolutions. You have responsibilities. Relationships to foster. A job to do. Groceries to buy. Teeth to brush.

You know what else you have to do?



I’ll be honest: I really struggled last year. It was an exciting, adventurous, joy-filled year with no shortage of stress (the good or the bad kind). The Hubs and I traveled a lot, bought a new car, and made an offer on our very first house. We experienced quality time with our families, rich friendships, good food, and beautiful new places. He even pursued an awesome new career that he’s just beginning.

We are so, so blessed.

But there was one serious roadblock for me last year: my writing.

After rapidly growing my freelance business in 2014 and then experiencing a slight setback that I probably took too hard, I basically stopped working. I’ve always had my day job in finance (for which I’m incredibly thankful), but I don’t really fit there. It’s not…me. There’s no way for me to fully embrace pluses and minuses when commas and apostrophes are already tattooed on your heart. Anyway, because of that setback I stopped growing my business.

I also stopped writing altogether.

As a writer or artist of any kind, you stop growing in every area as soon as you stop pursuing your art. A writer’s (or singer’s or painter’s or dancer’s or pianist’s) art is part of her, not just a hobby. It’s essential to her well-being and joy. I realized that when I felt my anxiety, worry, and discontent melt away with every poem, essay, or story I wrote. Writing is one thing I’ve done my whole life, even before I can remember (according to my mom). When you neglect something that deeply ingrained in you, it’s just another way of neglecting your health.

So that’s why, as a writer, you have a responsibility not only to yourself but to others. You need to create for your own fulfillment, but also so you can offer the best version of yourself to the people you love.

Which is why I’m choosing to change my perspective on writing in 2016.

This year, I will write profusely, even if not always proficiently. I will refuse to receive distraction, discouragement, rejection, or writer’s block. Even when I face those things, I will not allow them to define my writing or my career as a writer.

This is the ONE thing I know for sure that I’m meant to do. I didn’t realize it when I was a kid, writing and illustrating and stapling together little books of my own, leafing through pages of magazines and catalogs and Sunday sale papers to find faces that fit the characters of stories I wrote in my head. I remember lying in bed most nights crafting poems and stories that I memorized by heart. Stories about friendship. Hardship. Happiness. Loss. Sometimes I wrote them down in notebooks; sometimes I just imagined them, picking up where I left off every time I had a moment to myself.

I don’t know what happened along the way. I suppose my creative writing habits weren’t fostered in school as much as other subjects. (Poetry was, though. That unit in fifth grade created a monster.) And I suppose I wasn’t thinking much about my future when I was a child or what I “should” be doing with my life. At that point I still thought I’d be a vet or a dentist or a meteorologist. I wasn’t thinking about my talents and where my heart really was.

Now I know.

Now I know what I need to pursue relentlessly: books, stories, humor, inspiration, escape, reality, invigoration.


I pursue what want to escape to when I need to escape the most.

I read an Oscar Wilde quote recently that said, “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines who you will be when you can’t help it.”

Now I know exactly who I will be when I can’t help it–and when I can.

I will be a writer. I will write passionately on some days and begrudgingly on others, but always profusely. I will write as though my life and livelihood depend on it. I will write like a single mother who desperately needs money to feed her children. I will write like a heartbroken man who wants–needs–to win his estranged wife back. I will write like I don’t have a voice for speaking.

It is what you read when you don't have to that determines who you will be when you can't help it. Oscar Wilde | The Blissful Poet

I realize rejection and discouragement will be part of the process. I’ve already experienced plenty of it. As a writer, you will, too. (But you already knew that, didn’t you.) But we need to be determined. We need to pray for encouragement, motivation, clarity, and creativity. For the right words to share our messages.

And please, friend, don’t receive negativity when it comes. Only receive what is constructive. Use everything, good or bad. 

It’s scary to put your goals out there for others to know. You open yourself to criticism, judgment, rejection, and ridicule, especially as an artist.

But you also open yourself to encouragement, support, and accountability, and I believe the positive outweighs the negative.

That’s why I’m sharing this, hoping the good will outweigh the bad. Hoping that if you ever see me and ask how the writing is going, you’ll pop me in the mouth if I say, “Oh, it’s not, really.” So you’ll tell me that’s enough, go home, sit down at the keyboard until you see words upon words upon words.

And maybe so you’ll share your goals with someone, too. So you’ll stop hiding behind what you’re “supposed” to do and start writing like you’re meant to do.

So this year, no more fruitless pursuits. I will only go after what I know is right for me. I won’t waste my time wondering and waiting any more. I will work toward what I want.

And I won’t stop until I get it.


What did you neglect last year that you’d like to pursue this year? How can you take your writing to the next level? I’d love to hear from you!

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  1. Pingback: Dear Discouraged Writer: You're Going to Make It | The Lady in Read

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