Dr. Heinz Doofensmirtz is a hero of mine. Yes, I know he’s the villain in the Phineas and Ferb cartoons, but you have to admire his persistence. Despite being bludgeoned each episode by Perry the Platypus, he keeps coming back. Nothing stops him from trying to take over the tri-state area.
So, in honor of Doof, I’m going to construct a “Never-Give-Up-Inator”. Anytime someone’s tempted to throw in the towel on this writing thing, I’ll fire up the Inator and zap them. Myself included.
I once heard a man described as righteously stubborn because he refused to compromise. I think we can all use a little stubbornness in some areas of our lives, like loving our spouse, spending time with our kids, and doing the things God wants us to do.
I reached the halfway point of my third draft the other day, but just before I hit that mark, I had an interesting moment. It was late. I was tired. But I had knocked out 13,000 words that day, so I wasn’t about to stop. When I opened the next chapter, I could hardly believe what I saw. “Egads, did I write this? What was I thinking when I proofread it?”
Have you ever had a moment like that? It was so discouraging to see two paragraphs with no flow and countless unnecessary words. I shut down my laptop and went to bed. When I woke the next morning, I found it very difficult to get back to writing. If drivel like that slipped through my grasp a month ago, who am I to think I’m not letting worse stuff slip through now?
Like most art, writing is such a personal endeavor. And to add to the personal struggles, the odds are stacked against us. Even if we are successful, small victories are more likely than big ones. It’s very common to feel like throwing in the towel. Yet, that’s the exact opposite of what we must do. Richard Bach said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” As far as my writing career goes, I live by that saying. If I keep at it long enough, something magical will happen.
So, even though it was difficult to get back to writing, I did. Not my manuscript though. I started reading one of the many writing craft books on my Kindle. Slowly, my fire came back. I knocked out another 10,000 words later that day.
If you’re discouraged as a writer, don’t quit. Keep working hard. That doesn’t always mean working on your manuscript right then. Read a craft book. Read a book in your genre. Anything to fuel the fire inside. And if you’re really in a fix, come on over. I’ll zap you with my Never-Give-Up-Inator.