I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance…
Wow, are there some mountains in the distance, or what! You guys know what I mean. Writing is hard. Editing is hard. Accepting critique is hard. So many mountains stretching out on the horizon.
Depending on what stage your writing hobby/career/not-sure-what-it-is-yet is at right now, you may not yet have reached some of those points. Or you may have scaled each of those cliffs many times. Either way, you’ve got more mountains looming in the distance.
Sometimes, those mountains feel like more than I can handle. Sometimes I feel like trying to write was a giant mistake. I wonder how I could have ever thought that I could do this, or how I’ll ever reach even the smallest goal. If you’re feeling discouraged in your climb, take a listen to Lee Ann Womack’s song, I Hope You Dance.
Why? Because it’s the most inspirational song about taking chances and persevering that I have ever heard (and it applies to all life situations, not just writing).
Yeah, whatever mountains you have ahead of you are kinda scary. Maybe even very scary—like pee your pants and run away screaming kind of scary. Even if you’ve grown familiar to those cliffs, certain aspects will always be different each time around and sometimes you can’t be prepared for everything.
But you can handle them!
Imagine how much you will grow as a writer and as a person for getting past those hurtles! Take one at a time and celebrate each little victory, no matter how small. And then when you look back at how far you’ve come in an hour, or a week, or six months…wow. Just wow. Think how proud you’ll be of what you’ve accomplished!
Some of those mountains may look a bit riskier than others. Take those! What’s life without a few risks? Some risks will go badly, that’s just part of it. But one of those risks just might be the best decision you’ve ever made. And no matter how many risks go south, you never lose. You know why? Because you learn more from mistakes than from success. With every failure, you learn how to get better.
Whatever you do, don’t settle for the easiest way. Editors are expensive and critique is no fun to hear, but without those things your novel will never live up to its full potential.
So do the hard things! Cut out fast food or—dare I say it, Netflix!—for a time, sell something that you don’t really need, and pick up a few extra hours at work to save up for that editor. Make yourself vulnerable to a few people you can trust to give you good advice and humble yourself to accept their critique.
If it feels like the farthest thing from the path of least resistance, you’re on the right trail!
To all my fellow writers and mountain climbers, keep up the good work and never give up!