The Writer and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

The rejection comes, the bad review gets posted, the sales report points downard, the contest judge bleeds all over your entry before dismissing it from the contest, and not even your mother wants to read your latest book. It’s one of those days. Ever had one? Or two…hundred?

Most writers have. If you haven’t, you will. Sorry, but it’s a “Murphy’s Law” kinda reality. The whole if-anything-can-go-wrong-it-will concept. On steroids. You can probably relate to whoever it was–most likely a writer–that amended Murphy’s law with the following painful truths:

    • Murphy was an optimist
    • The other line always moves faster
    • The chance of the peanut butter & jelly sandwich falling face down is proportional to the cost of your carpet.
    • Inside every large problem is a series of small problems struggling to get out.
    • 90% of everything is crud.
    • Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.
    • Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone

Do yourself a favor and find a copy of Judith Viorst’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. You’ll be able to nod and chuckle at the same time. Been there…done that…maybe even there now. You understand how young Alexander feels, and, like him, you are thinking of “moving to Australia.” Perhaps not literally, but you’re so bummed out–dare we say “depressed” even?–that you want to get away from your writing. Yep, a mild pity-party is allowed. I’ll invite you to mine if you’ll invite me to yours.

If you are hurting, please take to heart these next words:  If you tried, you are not a failure. Read the bold words again. One more time. The only writers who are failures are the ones who never try, never put themselves or their work out there, or never even write a word. You’re not a writer because someone else said you are or because one day you decided you would be one; you’re a writer because you write. You tried. And you will try again. Yes, your book or article may “fail” in the sense that it doesn’t get published, but that doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. Every writer knows failure. Sometimes has coffee with it on a regular basis.

Someone said, “It’s not failure, but low aim that’s a crime.”

And, yes, you knew it was coming, you really need to hear the words of Teddy Roosevelt again: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

If you are having on Alexanderish period in your life, please read one more quote. It’s the most important one of all the ones mentioned in this post, because it is from God’s Word.

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” (Psalm 43:5)

People may not always love your writing, but God will always love the writer. That’s YOU. So write on, dear friend…write on.


Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, Uncategorized, Writing

10 responses to “The Writer and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

  1. Great post, Larry. I especially appreciate the Roosevelt quote. I’ll keep it in mind when writing seems more painful than having a root canal without anesthesia.

  2. With the day I’ve had, do I get cyber points for helping you write your blog? heh Thanks for the encouragement, Larry. 🙂

    • One million cyber points to you, Bethany! Spend them any way you choose. And, yes, I did have you in mind as I wrote the post, but I know that it applies to me and every other writer too. I’m glad we can “laugh with those who laugh and weep with those who weep.” We are a band of brothers and sisters walking the same road. No one walks alone, and we leave no one behind.

  3. Warrior on! My agent has been known to say: the only writers who failed are the ones who quit. The frustrations do not go away once you cross the “magic” line of publication…or best selling status…or award-winning feats. Great encouragement today, Larry! Thanks!!

    • Thank you very much for the comment, Ronie. I love the “Warrior on!” advice. And the words of wisdom from your perspective of an experienced author is incredibly valuable. Thanks. Blessings to you on your writing journey.

  4. Mary Gessner

    Once again a wonderful blog. And, one that “hits the mark” for me. Thank you. I’m reminded of something I read about Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. She was rejected 61 or 62(?) times over several years, but she persisted through the rejections, the multiple rewrites, and much discouragement from friends and family. And, look what happened when she didn’t give up. One of these days, we’ll see a book you’ve written on the best seller’s list at our local book store, too. And…the LORD is rearranging “things” in my life so I can get back to writing. It’s a painful process of “letting go”, but I finally/ actually have a peace about it. Thank you, again, for an encouraging, well-written blog.

  5. I must say this: your words are the best thing I’ve read in a long time! (excluding God’s words, of course). Thanks for jump-kicking my day, Larry.

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