Wednesday, April 27, 2011


If you're a writer, chances are you have struggled through moments of such doubt that you have almost completely lost hope. It's essentially a crisis of faith, in yourself or your ideas or the publishing industry. Those moments where you feel like you don't have it in you to stare at the blank page another day, to rewrite that scene one more time, or to send another query letter. Moments where you feel like there's simply no point to it anymore.

The cure to those moments, I've found, is action. If you're stuck with a blank page, take action and give yourself permission to fill the page with nonsense just to get the words flowing. If you're struggling with a scene, ask yourself whether you're trying to make too much of a point or are caught in dialogue that's going nowhere. Instead, write an action scene to get things moving again. Likewise, if you feel like you'll never be published, polish your query again and send it to another agent anyway, and do some research into indie publishers or self-publishing. Knowing that you have options is very important for keeping your hope alive.

The amazing thing is that there's almost a magical alchemical reaction that occurs with action. The moment you take action, motivation begins to seep through your veins. It causes your characters to wake up and do and say interesting things again. And the nonsense words slowly make way for the pearls that were stuck behind a dam of hopelessness. Because when action works its magic, you start to have hope again, which causes your faith in yourself and the world to return, which leads to the motivation to take action again. It's a wonderful upward spiral.

So when you're feeling like you just can't motivate yourself to take action, the cure, ironically enough, is to take action. Don't pour a drink and mope. Don't call a friend and complain. Close your web browser and email program, turn off the TV and the phone, and just act. Because even if the action you take isn't the right outcome in and of itself, it will kick off the motivation cycle that will lead to what you truly want.

Go ahead. Give it a try. You have nothing to lose but hopelessness.


  1. Jacquelyn, what an inspiring post! What I do when all feels dried and gone is help others. I had a bout of writers block for months straight and I helped other writers with their critiques and beta reading and stuff, I love your advice and just ACT! Nothing beats acting than sitting round feeling sorry for yourself.

    Best wishes, girl.

    YA Paranormal Romance Darkspell coming fall of 2011!
    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?


  2. Thanks, Elizabeth! I wish you the very best of luck with Darkspell...looking forward to checking it out!

  3. This is great advice, Jackie! Although a little hard to follow when I'm feeling discouraged. It kind of goes along with the "butt in chair" advice of just sitting there, glued to the chair, staring at the blank screen or writing crap, but not surfing the net and not getting out of the chair. One of my writing mentors at Mills College said he had a sign on his computer that said, "Sit down," so every time he wanted to get up, he'd see that and sit back down.

    I attended a talk at the library Sunday, by the way, about self-publishing. Curious to hear your thoughts.