What makes you get back on the horse again after you’ve fallen off for the second, third, umpteenth time? Do you have a special someone who encourages you or knows just what to say? Do you have certain techniques or tools you use to motivate you to keep trying? Do you lean on your faith when you’re feeling discouraged? Do you simply take life one moment at a time, forgive yourself and move on?
I’m asking these questions today because I’m feeling a bit discouraged. My book has been published for almost three years and, without much promotion from me or anyone else, it has sold almost 600 copies. Not too shabby for a self-published book, right? So, why am I feeling discouraged? Well, sales have nearly stopped for the past three months and I’m hearing a resurgence of negative talk in my head (yes, those “voices” again!).
There’s a voice inside my head saying things like, “See? I knew it would be short-lived. What you had to say wasn’t THAT important.” That same voice is warning me to not waste my time writing a second edition to the book, which I have mapped out and had planned to write between now and March 2011. The voice of discouragement says, “Why bother? People are barely buying your first edition. What makes you think they’d want to read the second edition?” Another voice, that of Fear (which I was relatively successful in ignoring, but seems to be loud right now), chimes in with, “If you don’t sell any more books, it means that people aren’t interested in what you have to say. And if people aren’t interested in what you have to say, they won’t pay attention to you. And if they don’t pay attention to you, then you’re a nobody. And if you’re a nobody, there’s no point in doing anything creative or offering anything at all to the world.” Fear is the scariest, meanest voice of all.
Of course, I have in my toolbox any number of things to help me with discouragement. In fact, just the act of writing down those negative thoughts and then going back later and countering them with more realistic ones is like wrapping myself in armor. Sharing my thoughts with a friend often helps. So does praying (which usually leads to crying and productive tears are often more freeing than anything else). That’s what I’ll use today to overcome my discouragement. What tools do you use? Feel free to share them with me by commenting below or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace, encouragement, and health.