It happens to us all some time. That dream we’ve been pursuing for years – our whole lives even – suddenly seems to lose its lustre.
Perhaps it feels overwhelming, or impossible, or simply too hard. We can no longer see the path that was always so clear. We want to stop, to give up. We feel mired in failure.
It can happen in an instant, or the build-up can be gradual. But when the feeling strikes, it can be devastating.
Recently, I’ve hit something of an emotional wall with the novel I’m writing. I’ve reached a certain point in the process and the idea of getting published seems very far away.
I’ve been working on the story for many years and it’s always been important to me; it’s felt like something that could become a real novel. But then something inside me changed and that feeling vanished. All I could see was failure.
It’s difficult to feel that kind of certainty that overwhelms everything else, that screams at you to give up. It’s all too easy to listen.
But take a step back and think about why you feel this way.
Did some external force cause this? Did you receive a rejection or a piece of critical feedback? Or did this feeling come from you, from your own self-doubt? Perhaps you’re burned out or you’ve taken on too much, you’re feeling the pressure too intensely. Maybe you aren’t seeing the results you hoped for.
That doesn’t mean you never will. Unless you do the one thing that will cause you to fail: you give up.
Right now I want to give up because I know I have so much work ahead of me. And it might ultimately be meaningless if my book is never published.
But I don’t write to make money or for other people. I write because it’s a part of who I am and I can’t imagine my life without it. Sure, it would be nice to be a successful author with a thriving career, but writing is the thing…writing itself.
So take a break if you need to, consider other things that might make you happy or fulfilled. But don’t give up unless you have a genuine reason to; don’t be conquered by fear or self-doubt.
Achieving that dream will feel all the sweeter with the knowledge that you persevered.