Battling Discouragement

ACFWAdvice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, tips, writing 2 Comments

By Allie Pleiter @alliepleiter

As an author and book coach, I’ve battled—or guided another writer through—just about every creative hurdle. Today I’ll share a chapter from WRITER CRISIS HOTLINE, a writerly advice book I co-authored last year with my coaching partner Cathy Fyock. Let’s tackle one of the most common laments we hear from authors: discouragement.

Writing a book can feel like a continual uphill battle. There’s an old saying: “Publishing will hand you a reason to leave every single day.” The long-term goal of writing a book requires dedication and a slightly reckless denial of the odds against you. This is all made more difficult by the fact that you often see only the successes of other authors, not their struggles. In this, like many fields, “overnight successes” rarely are what they seem.

You need to take steps to bolster your determination and open the path before you. Even if you are traditionally published (or contracted to do so), you’ll discover much of the burden of your motivation falls solely on your own shoulders. Reframe your thinking to that of an entrepreneur, or a solopreneur, and put a support system in place by considering the following:

Recognize the nature of your goal. If it were easy, everyone would have a published book. It’s hard. So, tackle that challenge with a clear plan by either researching tactics, hiring a coach, or enlisting a mentor who has seen success in the goals you want to accomplish.

Recognize and celebrate even the small wins. Did you finally finish Chapter 3? Take a moment to celebrate that milestone. Perhaps put it out on social media so others can congratulate you. Don’t wait until the book is all done to gather the hoorays that can fuel your strength to tackle the next challenge. Cathy often tells clients to put “Author of the forthcoming book ” in their email signatures, even if they’ve only got a working title. Every bit of progress fuels new possibilities.

Find an accountability partner. Going this alone can be doubly hard. These days, you can join with other writers online or in person for goal accountability, or even just for a writing sprint to get you through the next four pages. Make sure someone else knows your goals and your desired timetable and can hold you accountable. Sometimes just knowing someone else knows is enough to keep your nose to the grindstone when you feel like quitting.

Remember why God has called you to write. Take a moment and imagine the reader who finds real hope from your story. Consider writing up a fictional glowing review or fan letter just to spur your imagination and remind you why the effort will be worth it. The more vividly you can picture your eventual impact, the more fuel you give yourself to stick with it.

Don’t wait until the book is all done to gather the hoorays that can fuel your strength to tackle the next challenge. @alliepleiter #writing #ChristianFiction #ACFW #encouragement Click To Tweet

It bears mentioning that there are times when a short time-out or sabbatical is a wise choice. Sometimes life just lands us a blow that takes all the creative energy out of our sails. There’s something to be said for a month off—with grace—to heal or recover.

Discouragement has visited every writer—even the ones you think of as spectacular successes. It’s an unavoidable part of the creative process. If you take steps to bolster up your defenses, however, you can push through until your motivation returns—because it will.

The bestselling author of over sixty titles, Allie Pleiter’s twenty-four year career has sold 1.8 million books.  Allie also coaches on writing productivity and speaks on time management for writers. Allie is an avid knitter, coffee junkie, and believer that “pie makes everything better.” Learn more about Allie on her website at


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