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Support Group

I need a support group today.  Do you?

I haven't been having an easy time with my writing lately.  Perhaps you've noticed.  And the truth is...  I've lost the joy. 

I don't know how to get it back.

And I feel like I should quit.  At least until the need returns. 

What are you going through right now?  Be honest with yourself and let it out. 

It feels good. 

68 comments:

  1. Don't quit. When I was learning piano as a kid my mom found this hump that it seems all people go through in a learning curve. She pushed me past it and suddenly my fingers connected to my brain and I could play any music I saw. Keep going, push through it. You'll get past and find that passion again.

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  2. Whatever you do Casey, don't quit. Never give up.

    Take a break? Sure. Do something else for a while? Fine. Just don't stop.

    This is a tough hobby/calling/passion to have sometimes but the only way to guarantee you don't succeed is to give up.

    That being said I need a support group too today. Just feeling a little frustrated about being new to blogging. I thought I had it all figured out until I asked people for some feedback. Oh well, you live and learn.

    Thanks for sharing Casey.

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  3. Maybe you just need to take a break and do something completely different. I know that last week I had no choice but to put writing to the side because of massive amounts of homework, but all that time away really invigorated my mind for writing and now the ideas are flooding in. Exercise can also make your mind work better creatively. Pilates works for me.

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  4. You could take your w.i.p. and write a crazy scene with everything exaggerated, just for fun. It might give you back the zest.

    When I feel like that and the writing seems flat, I think up a big scary scene or one with a lot of emotion to get me over the flat bit.

    Or I write a short story to do something different. Don't not write though!

    The Clean White Page

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  5. Kind of like love. I'm a firm believer in love is a decision, not an emotion. Though obviously, the emotion is there at times. But I can't base the things I love on emotion. Same with writing. I choose to write. It was never because I needed to. Yes, I love writing and the whole journey. Sometimes that need/emotion will come back if you push through. I think we all feel that at times!

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  6. ugh i went through that. It stalled my writing for almost 5 years.
    What i finally understood was it was not my drive or passion that had changed, i was just tired of my WIP.
    When i put it aside and gave myself permission to start something else, well all the joy and passion came back.
    Maybe that could help you?

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  7. Start writing something totally different, something just for fun.

    Writing is a place full of work, but it is also a fun place to just play. Stuff the work in a bag and zip it up and stick it in the closet.

    Write something for your kids, or about your kids. Write a memory from your own childhood. Write with a pencil in a spiral notebook as if you were a kid.

    (I wrote a whole novel that way! And I don't know what I'll do with it, but it doesn't matter. It was such a blast to write.)

    Shelley

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  8. Put the project to rest, send it on a vacation and . . . take a walk in the park, have a glass of wine (or adult beverage of your choice), have a Starbucks w/an extra shot of espresso, read a good book . . . or do anything. There are times I go for weeks, sometimes months without writing. Then, wham, I'm right back at it. Sometimes, we just need a break from the writing. Or, maybe you just need a break from that project, and there's some other project out there waiting for you.

    Don't quit!

    S

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  9. Casey:
    Everybody feels like that sometimes. Don’t give up!
    Usually I get stuck when there’s a flaw in my plot. I’m trying to get my characters to the next scene/place/chapter, but the scene/place/chapter they’re in doesn’t make sense. Once I figure out how to fix the problem, the writing process improves. Take your kiddos to the park and let your mind relax. The answer will appear.

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  10. I'm just coming out of this myself. Life got a little crazier than usual and I just lost the energy, strength, desire to write. Spent a much needed 5 days with no internet and read a book a day. And just had a fabulous time at the SCBWI-L.A. Writer's Day. Much needed kick in the pants.

    Still not physically up to par, but I can feel it all coming back. The desire to put pen to paper (or really fingers on keyboard) is hitting me at the wrong times, but at least it's hitting me.

    Give yourself permission to take a break and allow yourself to recharge. I know a nice hike in the woods is probably next on my list of things to do for recharging those creative batteries.

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  11. Wow, Amie. Powerful example. Thank you!

    Matthew, I know I shouldn't quit. But sometimes it feels all or nothing, you know? I hate being in this wishy-washy mode.

    I read your post on your blog. I'm okay with self-promoting in comments (obviously I told you it was fine on mine), but I don't think it's widely appreciated. Perhaps people get offended because they've worked hard to get their followers without using such tactics.

    Blogging takes time and there's definitely a subtle etiquette involved. Don't get discouraged!

    Candyland - Ha! A quitting buddy sounds is almost too tempting. : )

    Empress Awesome, you're probably right. I have other things that pull me away, but I might need a longer break to get me anxious to write again.

    Thanks Tina! Maybe I'll write something outrageous and fantastical. It's been awhile since I've played with fantasy and I really do love it.

    Thanks Laura. That's part of my problem. Right now, I feel like I could give up writing, but I don't want to make that decision because I do love it. Tough love!

    Falen, you might be right. I'm definitely tied up with a WIP I've been working for a long time. But I'm also scared to start something new. I've tried a few times and the writing just doesn't flow like it used to!

    Thank you, Shelley! I'll try writing something for fun. Maybe I should try my hand at some fun short stories like someone suggested to me awhile ago.

    Thank you, Scott. Every time I feel like I need a break, I push myself to write or brainstorm anyway. Maybe that's killing my drive. I think I'm afraid of stopping, even for awhile.

    Ann, that's definitely one of my problems but the answer isn't coming to me. I've been waiting for a long time. Ha! It must be time to move on...

    Sarah, it's great to hear from someone who just went through this. I definitely have a lot going on in my life with my family, school, the blog, etc. Maybe I'm stretched too thin for my creativity to really bloom. I definitely need to do something. A reading vacation (bookation?) sounds lovely and inspiring.

    Thank you everyone! Don't be afraid to get your own troubles off your chest. I'm here to support you as well!

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  12. awww *hugs* don't quit, just walk away for a few. I don't feel that way so much with my writing, but a lot with my newspaper column---ughh! it's like a chore lately to meet the weekly deadline. So I need help in THAT dept. ;-)

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  13. I feel like quitting a lot. In fact this morning when I got up early to write, I asked myself again, why am I doing it? I always come back to that I like it. I bet you do too. Sometimes I take a break to just read or relax when the schedule gets too grueling. Perhaps just taking a break for a few weeks would help. Relax more, read for enjoyment, and maybe have a pretend vacation at home and be lazy. It helps.

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  14. As the comments suggest, we all hit our heads against this wall. In fact, I plan on following some of this advice myself.

    One thing that has helped me keep a fresh outlook, I take one day a week not to write -- nothing at all. [It helps me keep up with my filing so I have desk space to work on.]

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  15. Casey, I'm not sure what you are working on but I'd suggest a little distance from the project, either writing something else or writing nothing at all for a little while.

    I'm no expert at any of this, I just know when I've felt overwhelmed with a project, especially one I've worked on for a long time and still see it has a long way to go, stepping away has been a good strategy, or deciding to work on it piece by piece so it doesn't look so huge. That's what I used to do with my students and their writing and now do with mine.

    Good luck with this and thanks for reaching out.

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  16. I don't trust the need to write. It's fickle. It only cares about itself.

    It's the same with the joy.

    What we're left with is the decision - to write or not. And that doesn't have to be a final decision, a fatal one. Just keep going, whenever you can. Others have suggested a break or starting something new. Those are great ideas. Just keep it going in your head, even if it's not time to keep putting words to paper right now.

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  17. Christina, thanks. I feel like writing has become a chore. It should be that way. This is supposed to be my "dream calling." Ha! Apparently I've let too much get in the way of that. Hope you can find a passion for your column again!

    I do like writing, Natalie. I love it when I can get into that special mode and the words are flying. Problem is, I haven't been able to get into that mode for awhile! Hang in there. I will too.

    I already have days where I don't write, Kay. A lot of them. Ha! But maybe I need a nice long set of them to refresh my brain.

    Thank you for the advice, Paul. Everyone seems to agree that I either need a break or I need to write something else. Maybe both. Thank you for the luck. I'll take it. : )

    I like your view Thermocline, but I keep making the decision to write and I keep spiraling downward. I guess a break or something new is the answer. I just don't want it to be. It'd be much more convenient if I could switch something in my brain and fix everything. Ha!

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  18. I know exactly what you mean! I feel like this about my MFA program- I have some writing due this weekend and I am so focused on my WIP and other things that I don't want to create something new- or - I'm having trouble creating something new. Just like everyone else said though, don't give up. Loosen up with a writing exercise!!! At least that is what I am gonna try and do.

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  19. Thanks Marquita! It's hard to start something new, especially when you've been stuck on another thing a long time. Good luck with your paper. I have an essay due this week as well. Hopefully that will take my mind and energy off fiction for a bit.

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  20. We're here, Casey, and we aren't going anywhere. We're all in this together, girl! Quitting is not allowed. Go read some Langston Hughes about deferring dreams - that will help. :-)

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  21. Thanks Shannon! I appreciate everyone coming over to support me. Love the advice. : ) Best support group ever!

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  22. Ugh. I know exactly how you feel. I can't see my writing as anything but crap right now. I know it's not because qualified people have told me differently, and I also know that I can't force myself to see it as good right now. The only thing I can do is put it aside for awhile and do something else.

    We all go through cycles in our creative process. It can't all be amazing inspiration and hard work. We need down time, too.

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  23. You have gotten incredible advice here, don't you love the blogging community? Especially the writers. imho, they're the best! I hope you'll let us know which of all these excellent suggestions ends up working best for you.

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  24. There is a lot of good advice you're already getting so I won't offer any. I'll just say I'll join your support group. Know that (1) a number of us are going through the same thing, and (2) you have the support out her at kidblogosphere. And hope it helps.

    Joy can sometimes masquerade as something else, or covered up by stuff.

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  25. Lisa, sounds like we're having a similar lack of self-confidence right now. Ugh! You think a break is the way to go?

    Thanks Karen! I'll let everyone know what I end up doing and whether or not it helps. I'm thinking I'll start something new... and if I'm still feeling blocked up and yucky I'll take a good break.

    Welcome, Yat-Yee! Glad you've joined the group. If you need any support just speak up. We're here! I think my joy is currently hidden behind inner editor, self-critic, and inferiority complex. I'm trying to get them to move out for awhile so I can reclaim some space. : )

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  26. I've been down about my writing as well. Discouraged because I may have to do a totally big overhaul on my ms out on submission. Frustrated because a character in another I thought was minor isn't. The entire plot hinges on him, and I just don't know him well enough to introduce him. And just overwhelmed in general.

    But I gave myself a week off. A whole week where I didn't feel guilty for not writing, where I read and relaxed and now I'm excited to write again.

    Maybe a short break will help, but don't quit!

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  27. The blues, the writing blues. Looks like most of your commenters know what you're talking about--and so do I. In fact, about a month ago I was so convinced that my writing was on par with writing instructions to assemble Chinese-made furniture that I sent an SOS to my critique group. In a matter of minutes, they were e-mailing me back telling me not to believe a word of it. Yay for support groups!

    Casey, judging from this blog, you are obviously a very creative, very organized, and very hardworking person. You know how to reach out to others, but sometimes the last person we reach out to is ourself. I think a lot of people have recommended you take a mini-break or try something new. I think that's sound advice. Sometimes the well runs dry for a while. But the rains will come (trust me, I'm in Oregon!) and it will be replenished.

    Trick your inner critic. Tell it you're just going to PLAY for a while. No more WORK. But your writer's mind will still be percolating, ideas will come. Give it a little time (cry on a few shoulders too). A LOT of people are sending you good vibes. I know all that positive energy will do the trick.

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  28. I just realized this weekend that fear of failure has become a big block for me. So I'm right in the middle of sorting this out, like you. I realize I have to be willing to mess up and what is the worse that can happen, right? So scary. But anyway, I am still figuring this out myself and I'd happily join your support group! It does help to share this with people. And to practice together.

    Good work putting it out there (and getting me to too!).

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  29. ok i know everyone else has already said all the really good stuff, but i have to say it anyway.

    DONT GIVE UP.

    you are amazing and SO talented, bestie. you might not realize that even sustaining (and maintaining) such a phenomenal blog (that's been a source of help and information for SO MANY READERS!!) makes you a great writer. after all, that's what blogging is all about isn't it? writing?

    never give up. you are so capable. just hang in there and read and read and read and read and read until one day you read a book and it hits you over the head with its awesomeness and you just cant stop the words from spilling out of your head and onto a blank sheet of paper. it will come. but don't give up. because if you leave, who knows if you'll come back..??

    and we need you!!

    <3333

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  30. I found 2 new proficient critique partners that helped me get my creative juices flowing again. Maybe that's what you need. If you need a partner let me know! Still need one for my YA.

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  31. Sometimes we just need to step away.

    Take a road trip, even if it's just a walk around the block. See something new, do something other than we normally do. Make a long distance phone call, change the subject, and most importantly...go out and be of service to someone other than you.

    Our story life comes rolling back to us when we are ready and available for the fresh flow.

    Until then, we need to stay out of our head!...our out of our own way.

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  32. I am at work and haven't read through everybody's comments, so I may be repeating a common theme, but I have to say - I know what's wrong. It's not that you don't have the need. It's that you're overwhelmed. You have got to be able to breathe to write. There was a really horrible time in my life where I was working non-stop, training for a marathon, and dealing with other major stresses. I didn't feel the need then, either. Because I was smothered. Thing is, only you can say what should be your priority. But whatever it should be, make it that, and stick to your guns. Even it it means saying good-bye to this incredible blog. Even if it means taking a hiatus from writing. Just make sure you're happy with where you've placed your priorites, and that you can breathe.

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  33. I know someone already said this but it's the thing that always helps me...when I get like this, I work on something else...in a different genre. It keeps me hopping. I write romance, when I felt like this last time I started a YA. I didn't finish it, but I've got 7k under my belt and I know if I get stalled in my current romantic WIP I can go back to my YA and take a break. just my 2 cents.

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  34. Casey, it sounds like you are experiencing creative burnout. It happens to all artists. I am a visual artist and a writer and it happens to me occasionally. Take a week or two off... or longer if necessary. Acknowledge to yourself that you're officially on a (very necessary) creative break. Silence the little voice in the back of your head that nags you when you're not writing. Let your batteries recharge and your brain rest. And most importantly, DON'T feel guilty for giving yourself a break. It's part of the creative process!

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  35. Feelin' better yet or still wanna quit with me? Huh huh huh?
    (insert sarcastic tone + evil smile while rubbing hands together)

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  36. I go through periods where I feel like quitting, too. Times like that, I often visit my friend Carol Grannick's blog. If you haven't seen it yet, I do encourage you to check it out:
    http://theirrepressiblewriter.com/
    I hope don't give up, Casey!
    Carmela
    TeachingAuthors

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  37. Mim, that is rough. I have to do a big overhaul of my MS if I want to save it, but I think I'm too confused about the whole thing to continue right now. Glad you're excited to write again!!! Ride the wave!

    Michael, I love your advice to trick my inner critic. I think it really needs that. The energy here is amazing, isn't it? Love my writing community!

    Tina, fear of failure is definitely part of my problem (I have a lot of them!). I wish I could shut it all off. There's definitely some good advice here for that though. Welcome to the group!! We'll get through it together.

    Thanks, Bestie! I love your confidence in me. I've been reading some amazing books this week. I feel both inspired and inferior! But I know the kind of book you're talking about... I hope one hits me over the head soon.

    Sherry, I responded to your e-mails. Thank you so much for reaching out to me!

    Love your advice, Teri. I'm thinking I should get out (when the rain stops) and focus on photography for awhile. That's another creative outlet I enjoy and it might be good to switch gears for awhile. Thank you for the support!

    Carrie, I have a feeling you're absolutely right. I'm doing a lot right now. In the past, the less I've had on my plate, the more I've written. I suppose that means assessing my priorities and changing some things if I want to find success with writing again. I haven't wanted to beleive I can't handle everything I'm doing, but maybe that's been it all along.

    Thanks Piedmont. Another vote to play with something new. Will do!

    B Dub, it's hard not to feel guilty! Especially since I've just joined a new critique group I love. I don't want to seem like a flake, but this might be what I need to do.

    Candyland, it's hard not to feel better with all this support and encouragement! But I'm keeping you on reserve. Ha!

    Thank you for the link, Carmela. I will definitely check it out. Thank you!!!!

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  38. Well, as one who has read your work, DON'T GIVE UP because it's fantastic. The book world would be seriously deprived if it never gets to read your stories. :) Okay, I'm also being a bit selfish because *I* want to read more. :)

    Honestly, this won't be the first time you go through this. I'm kind of going through it now, and I've even had a bit of success lately (which has changed more than I anticipated). So if you can figure out how to get through this, you'll be better off for the future. Writing's a tough business. :)

    If the problem is your WIP, then set it aside. It may take some time, but you'll eventually figure out how to write it (I'm finally writing a MG that I set aside eight years ago!). Plus, if you start something new, you may surprise yourself with how much you really do know. :)

    Chin up. You can get through this, and you are a great writer. *HUG* :)

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  39. The thing is, giving up is the only certain way to never succeed. It's a cliche, but it's a cliche 'cos it's true.

    Taking a break is necessary and healthy, but giving up is just, well, giving up. Also, tempting.

    I'm going through exactly the same thing, and I know it's because my last WIP was such an inspired, amazing process that everything else is going to seem like hard work by comparison. It also took so much passion and I was so involved in it that it's really hard to let it go.

    What I'm doing, if it helps, is to write something every day, for fun and no other reason. That way, I'm still a writer and I'm not giving up. I know the passion will be back in it's own time, but trying to force it into my schedule will only scare it further away.

    Hang in there!

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  40. I totally need a support group today! I feel like I'm in the same spot you are. I think my lack of enthusiasm goes hand in hand with how overwhelmed I feel in life. If I only have a few free minutes a day, should I sit down and write, or sit down and breathe?

    I say don't give up, just give it some time. Don't let yourself feel guilty for not writing. Live your life and let the writing come when it wants to.

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  41. I was feeling like this a few weeks ago and wanted to cry and quit and scream. So I started a new project. I just wanted to write this scene out that was in my head. I wanted to write something that had nothing to do with the pressure of my self-inflicted deadlines or need to go anywhere. I just wanted to have fun and it turned into a whole new project that I'm liking. Sometimes I think it's where you're at in your projects. Or maybe you just need a break. Go do something fun. Remember what it's like to be a person and let your mind work out what you're struggling with in the background. If you need to write, it will come back.

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  42. Ooooh. You are at the hard part. I'm not sure if there's a writer who hasn't been where you are right now. The problem is, each time you write, there is a different reason you hit this wall, so the solution is never constant. You might want to try everyone's suggestions until you find the right one for you this time.

    Mine...

    The last time I wrote a novel, my frustrations were solved by talking talking talking it out.

    That's how I realized that my story was heading the wrong direction and it needed a completely different angle than I had originally planned. After working, writing and processing through it, I managed to finish the novel.

    Whatever you do, don't give up. Stories don't write themselves and problems don't get solved without work. So keep it up. Eat some chocolate, take a break, read a new book, but don't give up on your story.

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  43. I know that feeling. It comes and goes (a lot), the one thing I've learned is that you can never give up. Just sit down and start writing, it doesn't matter what it is or if it makes sense, just anything so you can remember the passion of writing.

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  44. Don't quit Casey. Just take some time for yourself and then just write. I find it helps if I'm going through a blah time to just listen to some music, watch a movie or read a book (I do the last one a lot) and the need returns.
    Good luck:)

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  45. I'd guess you have enough advice, so I won't add to it. But I'm sure you'll come out on top, whatever you decide.

    Good luck!

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  46. When I feel this way, I don't look forward. I just tell myself I'll plod through this day and go to sleep. Then I can just concentrate at things I have to do now. I think it's because if I do look into the future, then I will anticipate all the rejections, all the disappointments that will come--and that are best left unanticipated.

    Helen

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  47. Wow, Casey. Look at all this love!

    I just got back from the best SCBWI conference ever this weekend (W. WA)and saw so many people energized and charged up. Conferences can definitely help.

    I'm on my own writer roller coaster. More highs and lows in the past couple of months than I've experienced since I began. My stomach is queasy, but I press on. Last month I finished the rough draft of a novel that I wrote JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT! No pressure. This month I went ahead and started three new projects, even though that's crazy. In the meantime, I'm waiting for news on a submission. Waiting. Yes. Waiting and waiting. And more waiting.

    Jay Asher was one of our keynote speakers this weekend. Just a tidbit: Twelve years on the path to publication, 13 Reasons Why was rejected by twelve editors before it found a home. Just a few months before he finally got the big news, his wife had to convince him not to quit. Hmmmmmmmmm...

    "Never, never,never give up!"--Winston Churchill.

    ((((((((HUGS)))))))))))

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  48. HEY HEY DISHY BIRD - What's all this going on???

    Look, whether you want to give up or not is really not up to you to decide... HA HA - didn't think you had a HUGE FAN CLUB out here for nothing did you???

    WE
    WILL
    NOT
    LET
    IT
    HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!
    Self doubt and self dislike comes with being creative I'm afraid. As many others have said, your blog alone is FUNDAMENTAL PROOF that you ARE a fabulous writer.
    YOU are also one DISHY BIRD as Matthew keeps repeating...sos about that!

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  49. Casey, I have been going through the EXACT same thing. At the end of the day, I think it's just a form of "growing pains".

    It will pass. And when it does, you will be super-charged and ready to go like you never have before. Just give yourself a break right now. This is your minds way of recharing its creative batteries.

    Take a few steps back and focus on other things you may have neglected. Before you know it, your fingers will ache to be turned loose on your keyboard!

    Keep your chin up!

    :o)
    Brandi

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  50. i went through a phase where i didn't write a single word for 3 months. nothing. i didn't even think about it. and i missed it so badly after a while that i couldn't stop myself from writing. even if it sucked, i still wrote because i missed it.

    breaks can be good, because breaks help you see the value (or lack of value) in something. if you really love it, then you'll come back to it when you're rested.

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  51. Hi Casey, I am *finally* commenting! Please don't give up. As so many of your other loyal readers have said, your blog is tremendously valuable (just look at your amazing following!) and is itself proof positive that you ARE a talented writer with much to contribute. I have 2 ideas for you. First, I hope you will print out all the comments from this posting today, and highlight your favorites. Then put them up on the wall above your computer monitor so whenever that little voice of self-doubt rears its ugly head, you can glance up and remind yourself of all your fellow writers and fans who think you're GREAT and have what it takes to get to publication!
    Second idea - have you tried reading any books about writing? I have been reading some lately, and often I am surprised by how inspired I feel after reading a great one. One I really enjoyed is by an author I admire greatly, Gail Carson Levine. She wrote it for a young, student audience, but the lessons apply to all writers. In it there is a chapter on your exact topic. If you can, I'd really encourage you to find this book and read that chapter, she has several really great tips for when you're stuck. I will leave you with a quote from Gail Carson Levine: "...some of them get discouraged and stop writing, when they could have kept on and become future Newbery or National Book Award winners".

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  52. Casey, I hope you won't quit just because the process isn't joyous at present. Writing is work, hard work. It takes stamina and it isn't always fun.
    Every journey has highs and lows. Give yourself a chance to ride out the valleys or you'll never truly enjoy the peaks.
    Wishing you well.
    ;-)

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  53. Casey!!!! Tina, Heather, and I have support group written all over us, come on in!

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  54. We're here for you! Hang in there...

    Remember that really cool purse made out of a book? Maybe you could find a creative outlet like that, combining your love of books, but away from the pressures of writing for a little while.

    And, yeah, I could use a support group right now. I thought I was *this* close to finding an agent, but after several rounds of revisions, she passed. Ouch. Back on the query train.

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  55. Oh, Casey I can so relate to what you're going through. I'm ready to quit myself. Wondering if I'm too old to get into the writing/querying/publishing game. I wonder if kids will be able to relate to my characters or if I'm beating my head against the wall (figuratively, of course ;) I wonder if I'll ever finish one, just ONE manuscript before giving up and starting something new - which makes me feel like a total failure at times. I wonder if I'll ever have enough courage to join a critique group. The list goes on and on.

    But then I think about the few people I've trusted with my secret - that I'm writing for children and hope to be published one day. And I think of their encouraging words and their belief in me. And I think of my own kids who think it's cool that their mom is writing. They're the ones who keep me going when I can't see past the words on the screen,the words that haven't moved in weeks. I don't want to let them down by giving up.

    And I remember the dream, my dream. If I give up then I'll never know. If you give up now, you'll never know if that book is in you. Take a break if you're feeling stressed, but don't give up, Casey. We're here for each other. We're here for you.

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  56. Don't give up girl! You're a fabulous writer and the world needs to read your stories.

    I go through streams when I think everything I write is just awful. Like a bad funk. Then I'll turn around and I realize it isn't so bad and I can even make it sound better. Wow! What a feeling.

    Sometimes I get the feeling like I should hurry up and write faster. Like I'm running out of time. I have no idea what the rush is. Silly I suppose.

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  57. Sometimes, you have to give yourself a break - not from writing but from the project you are currently doing. Maybe, you should write a short story or two to take your mind off or you could read a good creative-writing books (I suggest the ones by Holly Lisle, she's got great advice on her website and in her shop). When you return to your project you will be surprised to find that there had been a problem you didn't notice and in your absence your Muse (creative side) has already sorted it out. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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  58. Casey - you'll bounce back. Sometimes you just need to recharge. I celebrated National Hug Your Critique Partners yesterday (a holiday I made up my little old self) to celebrate the writers that help me through those slumps. And Sometimes you need someone to tell you it IS worthwhile -- in person (or at least by phone), not electronically.

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  59. Don't quit, Casey! Everyone does feel like that sometimes. This is such a tough business. If you feel you need to step away from it for a while, that is fine to do. Use the time to recharge. Take a week, two weeks, even a month if you need. But be sure to come back to it. Good luck to you!!

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  60. Casey,

    I've read your blog, so I know you can write. I know you are actively working on your craft. But I also know from my own writing that sometimes what you are working on can take over your life. Try writing something completely different for a while. I took a break from YA to do a Chapter Book, just because I needed something lighter. I also love critiquing and judging because it lets me get out of my head for a while. Don't EVER give up. Try something new. Go play with words and rediscover your joy.

    Hugs--and sympathy,

    Martina

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  61. Thanks, Tabitha. That means a lot to me, especially since what you read wasn't that great. : ) I'm sorry you're going through the same thing, but I'm thankful for the companionship!

    Thanks Laura! *Hugs back*

    I know, Wen, I know. *sigh* It is very tempting but I would hate myself later. I know that. I'm sorry to hear you're having a hard time with your new WIP. One of these days, maybe I'll have an inspired experience like you have (though, it sounds like it comes with its own set of mind twisties!). Good luck!

    Come on in, Alison! We can overcome being overwhelmed together. Thanks for sharing how you're feeling. *Hugs*

    That's awesome, Emily. I'm hoping I'll be able to trick my mind into something like that. Fun, yes. I'm going to try to find the joy and fun in writing again. Thank you!

    Laura, it really does help me when I can talk through a story but I've talked through this one again and again. At least I know I've given it every chance at success! I'm glad you were able to figure yours out. I'll do the same somehow!

    Cheree, it does come and go a lot. I wish I had a really good trick for shutting it down. I suspect the power is somewhere inside me, but I haven't found it yet.

    Thanks Lindsay, I've been reading and plan to do a lot more. That inspires me the most but music and movies do too, so maybe I'll indulge in several forms of escapism media and get inspired. Ha!

    Thanks so much Janet! It helps just having your support.

    Good advice, Helen. I should probably focus on the little steps rather than the journey. Sometimes it's hard!

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  62. Angelina, I'm thinking about going to the SCBWI-LA national conference, but I don't want to spend all that money if I can't pull myself together. Perhaps, though, it would be the kick in the butt I need instead. Jay Asher's story is inspiring. There is a "give up" post by him on the Verla Kay boards he posted not too long before succeeding. Thanks for the reminder!

    Ann Marie, it makes me smile every time you call my "Dishy Bird." Tell Matthew he's a constant source of cheer for me. Thanks for being part of my early "fan club." I'll try not to disappoint you but no promises!

    Brandi, I think you're right. I've been realizing stuff about my writing lately and maybe it's just that pain of growth that's messing me up. Thank you for sharing that you're struggling as well. I hope you're able to recharge your batteries too. This isn't fun!

    Lexcade, I would probably miss it too. Maybe I should pretend to give up just to freak myself out. Ha! I'm glad you're back in the groove. Thanks!

    YAY Alexandra, congrats on coming out of lurkdom. I love your idea to print out the comments. I have a pin board above my desk that's just waiting for all this love. I have read several books on writing. I find them inspiring as well. Right now I'm reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and The Scene Book by Sandra Scofield. I have several others I refer to a lot, too. I haven't read the one by Gail Carson Levine though. I will definitely buy a copy. Thank you so much for the advice and the lovely quote. That is encouraging!

    Thank you, Kathryn. Writing is hard work. I think I'm letting that get in the way of the fun. I'll try to be thankful for these lows that will eventually make the highs that much more triumphant.

    Thanks Jonathon! I love the "co-worker" concept that you, Heather, and Tina have. One of you should write a guest post on that. I think it's brilliant. Maybe I'll start joining you guys for those unplug hours.

    Jenna, I think it would be cool to make book purses! I have it in my head to make some writer jewelry, actually, so maybe I can do that for awhile. I'm sorry to hear about your close call. If one agent was interested, maybe another interested agent isn't too far off. Hang in there! It'll happen (as long as you work hard and don't give up!). I'm trying to remember that as well. Thanks!

    Suzie, I'm both sad and thankful that you can relate. I certainly don't think you're too old! But, if it's really a concern for you, try to find a place you can volunteer like a school, library, or non-profit organization that has a lot of kids running around. It would be a ton of fun and you can see what kids are like these days. I have a lot of people I don't want to let down either. Let's try to hold on to the dream together, okay? We can do it!

    Thanks Kelly! I will definitely recharge and make my comeback. Thanks for the support!

    Martina, thank you for believing in me. I think something new is the way to go. I'm in an ugly loop and I have to realize that, even if I love the book.

    Woo! Did I get everyone? I hope so. Thank you, again, for all the belief, love, encouragement, support, hugs, and fabulous advice. I'm going to print these out and also add the post to my "memorable moments" label because I think it's exactly that.

    XOXO

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  63. Nope, I missed a few.

    Christina, I go through the same phases. I'm trying to remind myself this is just another back funk. I also get that feeling that I'm running out of time. Weird, huh? I also feel like it's all-or-nothing sometimes. Like I either have to be a committed writing machine or I should quit. Oh, the mind games! Thank you for the support. : )

    Thanks Cat. I love all Holly's advice. Maybe I'll read through her articles again.

    Kris, I love National Hug Your Critique Partner day. What an awesome day you've made and celebrated! That's a day I could definitely celebrate, too. I have some awesome critique partners.

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  64. Hope it isn't too late.... The best thing about writers is how we're always here for each other. And when one of us is down, it's amazing how quickly the others rally around. You've helped us all on our journeys, and it's a privilege to be able to help you in return. Don't give up -- you are a woman of incredible skill and resources. This is just a minor blip.

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  65. It's so wonderful to see such encouragement from fellow writers and honesty from those struggling. As for me, I'm having difficulties carving out adequate time to write...at all. While I try to utilize my breaks at my "day" job, it's for such a brief time it seems I am progressing in fits and starts.

    To provide a little background, I picked up writing again almost two years ago after a 10-year hiatus for marriage and kids. I really thought at the time maybe I wasn't supposed to write and I shelved everything.

    June of 2008, I returned with a vengeance, thanks in part to my studies in college. As a 40-year-old first time college student I found myself energized from writing papers and figured I would give it another go.

    Since then I have been working on my fantasy novel as well as some picture books. In the interim my youngest daughter had to have a liver transplant almost one year ago. To say our lives have been a been disrupted is an understatement. The thing is, I have gained so much inspiration FROM this event, and it has created some stories I would have never written. There are stories I have to tell, even moreso than before.

    I know every writer needs to maintain discipline and find a routine that works for them in order to truly succeed. So, I'm not moaning about the lack of time, I'm just telling you because Casey asked! LOL.

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  66. I'm all for what Scott said on the 12th at 8:56am-

    "Put the project to rest, send it on a vacation and . . . take a walk in the park, have a glass of wine (or adult beverage of your choice), have a Starbucks w/an extra shot of espresso, read a good book . . . or do anything. There are times I go for weeks, sometimes months without writing. Then, wham, I'm right back at it. Sometimes, we just need a break from the writing. Or, maybe you just need a break from that project, and there's some other project out there waiting for you.

    Don't quit!"

    Put a couple of your best posts (though I don't know how you'd choose, they're all great) and schedule them to post for a week or two and just take a break. Even if it's more than two weeks, the best thing about the writing community is that we are loyal and we will be here when your joy returns.

    ::hugs::

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  67. Thanks so much, Beth! I like to think this is just a minor hang up as well. Doesn't feel like it at present, but I trust all my lovely writer friends and they seem to think it is!

    Kirk, thank you so much for sharing your troubles. I'm so sorry to hear things have been rough for you. Is your daughter doing well? The best you can do is to write when you can (and I would say not to force it in your case, you have enough going on!) and give it more time. Sucks, I know, but I think it's better to draw it out a few more years than to burn out. Best to you!

    Thanks Cassandra! I've considered taking a blogcation, but I don't feel it's necessary... yet. I might get to that point though. Thank you for your support!!!

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