A few weeks ago we asked you to send us your thoughts on how you would encourage a struggling writer in 100 words or less. And we got so many wonderful entries from all over the globe! Over 70 writers sent their beautiful, inspiring words; it was difficult to narrow it down to just a few that could fit in a blog post.
But narrow it we did, and these five entries particularly stood out. If you love the words of these writers, let them know in our comments section! And of course, feel free to post their paragraphs (one or all) near your writing space to inspire you when you’re in a slump.
Thanks to everyone who entered! We may post entries in future issues of Submit Write Now! But until then, enjoy these wonderful gems!
Katie Dilts: Write. Write when it hurts. Write when it feels good. Write when you want to. Write when you don’t. Write when you have a direction. Write when you have no idea where it’s going. Write when you want everyone to see. Write when you want to keep it to yourself. Above all, write for you. Too many writers write solely what they think their readers want to hear. Write truth. Your truth. Whenever a great piece of work is written, the world takes notice. Sometimes the world just takes longer than we would all like.
Glenn Hameroff: Fall in love with rejection. Everyone starts off their career bemoaning their receipts of these daggers to the heart. I took the opposite strategy. I wanted as many as possible—organized into a folder with plastic pages. Editors who invested more into their rejection notice received a full-page display. Mimeographed rejection notices received a poorly constructed collage. The dichotomy of rejection so occupied my mind that when I received an acceptance letter, it was simply a matter of fact. I even wrote an essay about the variety of rejection notices, which was quickly and impersonally rejected. Take joy in rejection notices.
Diann Tongco: If you’re struggling with your writing, I have good news. That means you ARE writing, which is the first and hardest step. Here are two tips: The first is to simply skip the hard part. Move on to the next chapter or scene; find a section that’s not so difficult and start there. Second: Don’t take it so seriously. Write a silly scene; free your creative juices. Granted neither of these two ideas will result in a well-honed final draft, but you can always edit later. If you don’t write, you won’t get to the editing part. Now go, write!
Helen Colella: Appreciate all writers. Believe in yourself. Challenge creativity. Dream of success. Explore fact, fiction, and fantasy. Focus on your writing career. Go the distance. Hold tight to dreams. Invest in classes, workshops, and conferences. Join a critique group. Keep abreast of publishing needs. Live, love, and laugh. Make every word count. Nourish the body, mind and soul. Open your mind to knowledge. Prepare and be positive. Query first. Read, read and read. Set goals. Trust in yourself. Understand the impact of words. Venerate language. Write. Write. Write. X-out all negativity. Yodel and yell over every accomplishment. Zoom in—complete projects.
Annie Star: To begin is to be half done! Corny, right? Cliché, definitely! But, oh, so true. Getting started is the absolute hardest part. Just write. Get down all your ideas no matter how crappy or disorganized. Rewrites and new inspiration are easy once you have that sloppy copy down. I can personally testify that this advice has worked for countless school papers and/or deadlines. Any of my children will tell you that it’s my mantra. Beginning is truly your biggest obstacle. And you can handle that!
Congrats (and thanks!) again to the winners!
WRITERS: Which line (or lines) from these words of encouragement speaks directly to you?
These are awesome! I love Annie’s term, “sloppy copy,” not to mention the advice itself. And Helen’s words of encouragement are SO clever! Glenn’s have such a great sense of humor. And Katie and Diann give great advice too! I’m definitely bookmarking this for when I’m feeling down about my writing!
I love “Beginning is truly your biggest obstacle. And you can handle that!”
The thought of writing is always more daunting than the writing itself. All you have to do is start! Thank you for putting it into perspective, Annie. I think this is advice that all writers should take to heart!
“Make every word count.”
What better advice is there?
I especially could relate to Katie Dilts piece on writing. Sometimes we as writers believe that we should only write when it’s “perfect” or for a book project or a certain idea or that it has to lead to something we view as successful. We like to put boundaries on what a writer should or shouldn’t do. Everyone is a writer and should express themselves as one whether it’s for a job or personally in a journal. Even as a writer you face many challenges especially with writer’s block or not believing in yourself so it’s important to not think that you have to finish a particular project in a certain way. Sometimes you need to break a part from it for awhile and focus your writing elsewhere. Writing is the gateway to one’s true persona that needs to be nourished.
All of this entries offered wit, reassurance, inspiration, and strong points that a writer can definitely take hope from. They should print them out and frame them where they type or write or hang them up or put in a journal. I enjoyed them all.
I dont know about falling in love with rejection…I’ve never been able to…but I like the idea!
I love Helen’s words–creative approach and inspiring! I’m going to bookmark this page whenever I’m feeling down about the rejection and submission process.
Diann’s resonates with me. No pain no gain, right? Sort of ties into Glenn’s also. Embrace rejection! At least someone’s reading your work, and an acceptance won’t be too far in the future.
I feel like if I day Helen’s should be made into a motivational poster, that’s like calling it corny when it’s not. She picked great words/expressions to express inspiring thoughts!
I definitely agree with Diann’s, myself. But they are all great! Very inspiring!
I love Katie’s! I agree–that many people write what they think people want to hear. I think some of the best writing is the type that stems from real events and feelings.
Katie sounds like a very disciplined writer – or at least a writer who knows the value of discipline. Sometimes when I’m having trouble making myself start writing, I write a letter to a real or imaginary person. I may hit “delete” as soon as I finish the letter – but often there’s a phrase or an idea, or even just the seed of an idea, worth keeping.
Although all the winners are just that – winners, who deserve recognition – Helen’s piece is cleaver, creative, and original. I love it. Thanks for sharing.
All that was said regarding writing was right on. All I could add is to use the appropriate words that best protray what you are writing in its simpliest form using good grammar in a straightforward style. In other words, tell them what you’re going to tell them. And then tell them.
Thank you fellow writers. Great job! Every one of you provided great
encouragement for all writers, published or not. =)
Those jewels of encouragement contained gems of advice. I found Diann Tongco’s piece most helpful for me.
Congratulations, Helen! We all knew it was wonderful.
Great job, Helen Colella! Your A-Z method is absolutely ingenious and totally on target.
Every one of these offers thoughts of value. Thanks for sharing…..
Great ideas to reread. I like most the old (but must be made new each day) of write, write, write. Even when you feel like you are illiterate, brain dead, third rate, and more, WRITE. We writers seem to all forget all other art disciplines demand practice.
Today I could not find where to write, so I outlined the whole novel from what I have written and now I’m ready to dive back in and write a chapter/or revise a chapter.
I can think of few things harder than this. I award myself a Purple Star every week I write and write and write.
I like Katie Dilts’ “Whenever a great piece of work is written, the world takes notice. Sometimes the world just takes longer than we would all like.” Amen, sister.
And, of course, Annie Star’s “Get down all your ideas no matter how crappy or disorganized.” Well that speaks to me, queen of crappy and disorganized. ha!
I really can’t accept rejections as if I can make a collage of them. I believe after a while a person will start expecting rejections only, if he does so.
However Helen Collela’s words have really motivated me and the paragraph needs to be framed and pinned to my pin board. Start your day by reading it and getting motivated. Good going Helen…..Thanks for the collection of the amazing letters of the Alphabet!!!!
Blogging freed my soul! Finally I could reach out to my own tribe and communicate in a direct way. Freedom of the press is only available to those who own one. And now, I do! -LLC
Thank you everyone! And congratulations to all, I loved all of the other words words of encouragement, from the winners AND the comments!
Please accept my heartfelt congratulations on being chosen the five winners in the Writer’s Relief Encouragement Contest. You are off to a great start for 2012! With dedication and imagination you can turn your thoughts and inspirations into great writing to share with others for their enjoyment,and/or information. You have demonstrated that you have the talent, motivation and desire to break any barriers that may arise. Align yourself with positive friends who can assist you in your pursuit to become a successful writer, and always keep positive and cheery thoughts uppermost in your mind. Good luck! Happy Writing!
All the writers have given a canopy that should speak to the desires or difficulties all writers experience some time on their journey to success. Thanks for your efforts.
Thank you! I really needed to read this. I promise myself to write and instead get distracted by other things. I put off my writing until I’ve got those other (less important things) out of the way. I will definitely be bookmarking this page and sharing it with friends who are also aspiring writers.
I’m really tired and quite ill at the moment so I cant write more than this. Good Luck everyone!
Awesome motivating posts from all of the writers. I think the ABC’s of Writing by Helen will help any writer at any stage of their writing journey. Thanks to all of you for encouraging and motivating writers to write! Many blessings!
Fabulous! I teach creative writing and will be sharing this with my students. Thank you so much!
There were many wonderful suggestions in each of these submissions! Take whatever is appropriate for personal submission and develop it into an interesting and wonderful project, one of which would be very important to be shared with everyone! Being an English teacher, I am going to share all of this with my students. It is wonderful when they read/think/write! Ideas develop in their brains and they flow forward, which they then share with each other! These submissions look like things that my students submit! Wonderful!
“Fall in love with rejection” goes so against who we are as humans and especially as writers. Wise advice and I really love the effort he went to save them and show love for the rejections. This whole exercise was super. Thanks everyone!
I have a folder for rejection also. I loved each one. Right now I’m in a slump and can’t seem to get out of it so thanks for every encouragement and comment in this sight. Perhaps I can get back onto the keys and write now.
I liked all of them and each one brought up valuable advice but, being a poet myself, I especially appreciated the one Helen wrote with the alphabet.
Glenn Hameroff’s statement on rejection got me. Rejection is not the end of the world. It’s just a start. It means that there’s a lot of room for improvement. It means that you still have so much more learn and to offer to your readers. Take it as a challenge. It will make you a better writer.
We’re glad to hear that you feel that way, Sofia. It’s nice to know that rejections aren’t killing your hankering for getting your work out there.
Helen Colella thank you for these words “dream for success” I have realize that there are powerful when I started writing my first book. I had the dream to succeed, that’s is why I managed to finish my book, even though there were pains, disappointments and failures I managed to finish it.
the fact that I dreamed for success, that alone pushed me to keep going and write until something good happen for me. And I believe that greatness belong to those who are not perfect, but who refuse to quite. they keep writing even when they don’t have any ideas, keep going even when there is no proof for success, keep dreaming on something that is not seen, and most importantly keep on telling themselves that they deserve greater than good.
The words of all these writers connect, they just sound right.