Frustration and the Serenity Prayer for Writers

This has been a frustrating week on several levels.

When I’m frustrated, it’s usually a sign that I’m trying to control something I can’t control. This can be a person or a situation or an event. The process can churn your mind into mush until you can’t think.

On the other hand, making a 180-degree switch and focusing on the things I can control (self-control) is the fastest way out of frustration. This concept certainly applies to your writing life.

Words of Wisdom

Remember the Serenity Prayer? It goes like this: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

How about reducing frustration with your writing life by applying that wisdom to your career? Here are some things to accept that you cannot change:

  • How long it takes to get a response from editors and agents
  • Rejections
  • Editors moving before buying the manuscript they asked to see
  • Size of print runs
  • Reviews (print or online)
  • Publisher’s budget for your book’s publicity and promotion
  • How much promotion is expected of the author
  • Publishers going out of business

Trying to change anything on the above list is a sure-fire route to frustration and wanting to quit.

However, do you have courage to change the things you can? Here are some:

  • Giving yourself positive feedback and affirmations
  • Reading positive books on the writing life
  • Studying writing craft books and applying what you learn
  • Writing more hours (write/rest/write/rest/write/rest)
  • Reading more current books in the genre where you want to publish
  • Attending local, state, regional and national conferences you can afford
  • Joining or forming a critique group
  • Blocking out set times to do your promotional work

Wisdom to Know the Difference

If you’re battling frustration and discouragement with the writing life, chances are good that you’re trying to control something beyond your control. It will make you crazy! The fastest way back to sanity is to concentrate on what you can control about the writing life.

Choose anything from that second list–or share an additional idea in the comments below–and get on with becoming a better writer. In the end, that’s all you can do–and it will be enough.

This entry was posted in disappointment, focus, Uncategorized, writing challenges, writing life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Frustration and the Serenity Prayer for Writers

  1. Joan C. Webb says:

    Great wisdom in this post, Kristi! Thanks for sharing.
    Another idea that has worked for me: Say “no” to writing/editing assignments that I do not want to do or do not fit with my mission/purpose so I have more time to write/do the projects that do fit.

    • kwpadmin says:

      Thanks, Joan! And thanks for sharing it on Facebook too…just noticed that. I totally agree with what you said. I think the frustration this week was mostly about money…and feeling the pressure to take on those assignments I don’t want to do because I DO want to pay some bills. I know that people in the general work force have to do things all the time that they don’t want to do, so I have trouble deciding when I’m listening to God and when I’m being a whiny prima donna. Your comment today prevented me from a saying a “yes” that I think I would regret, so thank you!

  2. Oh, I soooo needed to hear this today! Thank you.

    • kwpadmin says:

      So did I. 8-) It helps when you own the blog and write about whatever you need to hear yourself! Glad it helped you too.

  3. Vijaya says:

    Love this prayer. Here’s the rest of it by Reinhold Neibuhr … I esp. love the part about being reasonably happy in this life. Vijaya

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His Will;
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>