Allowing your writing journey to unfold step by step in front of you and trying to be patient during this process, is a battle. After the many rewrites, rejections, and long hours put toward our beautiful creations, we want to be done with that certain project and start something new. But most of the time we hear, “It needs more strength and character to become what it needs to be.” That alone will leave us discouraged, disheartened, and uncertain if we should give it another try.
When I was twelve, I found out I had Scoliosis. This meant that my spine was curved rather than straight. Day to day activities were unbearable and exhausting. I felt tired, sore, and weak. Wearing a hard, plastic brace for twenty hours a day was my solution to strengthening my back. Strapped on tight, it hurt. I couldn’t breathe and it set me apart from other people. At twelve, I didn’t much like that and found myself retreating into isolation where I didn’t need to explain something that was weird or misunderstood to others.
After a few years, my back had gotten worse and I had to have back surgery to fix the damage before it could progress any more. After the surgery, I was down for a while and I found myself stuck with many thoughts. Mostly, I didn’t think I was a very strong person and wondered how I would get through the next few months. I had back tracked on the journey I had planned for myself in my head.
Every day, I had a nurse come in to help me roll over in bed and take care of the things that my independent self couldn’t do anymore. I was told it would take time and a lot of patience. Celebrating the little things I did to progress would be the best thing I could do to lift my spirits. A few days went by and learning to walk all over again was the next step. This gave me great anxiety as I just wanted to miraculously be able to get up and run down the hall saying, “I already know how to do this,” but I didn’t know how any more. Each step hurt, was slow, and the process felt relentless. So much practice to get to the stop. Over time, I asked to walk farther even after the nurse suggested to take a break. Determination and perseverance hit me hard and I was ready to tackle this massive giant. Giving up on myself, the process, and the growth I was gaining from this experience was no longer an option for me. No matter how slow I felt I was going, I was pressing on and that was something to celebrate.
Writing feels the same to me. The hill is steep going upward, overwhelming even. The many hours of walking through each step again and again, and again; can be exhausting and make you uncertain if you’re going anywhere at all. But you’re moving forward. The more you practice at your craft, the more you’ll learn and gain a greater understanding of essential keys needed to climb the mountain. You’re progressing and you begin to see what you’re capable of. Through it, you start unlocking things about who are you that you didn’t know existed until you hit that road block, building your stories and your own character. You know as a writer, that you can’t quit because it’s who you are. You are a writer. Giving up on writing would be similar to giving up on breathing.
So how do we continue to lift our spirits?
Embrace the small things.
Looking at the big picture and having goals is a beautiful thing and one I personally believe in doing consistently, but we often forget the little things that need just as much celebration. Rather you brainstormed, got a rejection, finished a novel, edited pages, did a pitch, people watched, or wrote another query, this is movement in the right direction.
Don’t compare your progress with others because it will never be the same. We all go through life, our day, and situations differently. Embrace those challenges as refining your craft to succeed in areas of your life. Make sure you write a weekly list of all the small things you did to get closer to your big goals. Post it where you can see, read it out loud, and go grab yourself a treat.
Cherish the journey from where you began to where you are now.
Lauri Schoenfeld’s first love is her little clan of three silly kidlets and her wonderful hubby, Andy. Writing is a close second. She began writing poems at the age of nine, and her love for literature and music developed into composing thirty songs. In 2014 her short story, Christmas Treasure, was featured in an anthology called, Angels from their Realms of Story. Her favorite genre to write is anything dark, psychological, and suspenseful, but she enjoys expanding her horizons and dipping her feet in other genres as well. Lauri teaches summer writing classes for kids and mentors teens throughout the year. She’s a Child Abuse and Scoliosis Survivor. Lauri runs a group for teen girls with Scoliosis called, The S Squad. Their motto is Strength, Support and Self Confidence. She’s been known to dance around the house with a spoon as her microphone and sneak toppings from the ice cream bar. Lauri’s taken online classes at the Institute of Children’s Literature and was the President of the League of Utah Writers, Oquirrh Chapter for two years. She’s a member of Crime Writers and International Thriller Writers.