Small Fish in a Big Pond

Leaving Discouragement Behind

The year 2012 was significant for me. It was the first time in the last 7 years I didn't give up on a freelance writing career. I had a couple of reasons to be discouraged. Here are few examples of why a writer would slow down and eventually give up:
  • lack of support
  • distractions
  • pessimism
  • illness
  • impatience
  • rejection letters
  • sensitivity
At some point, there came a change in my thinking. It was the realization and acceptance: this thing is going to take some time. Last year, I learned so much here at Writers on the Move and through interacting with other writers. If there is a bottom line, I've discovered mental attitude is everything.

If you're new at freelance writing or you're in a slump, here are two questions to ask yourself: What do you think of yourself? Do you believe you have something to offer people? The answers bring us back to the basics and help us focus.

A writers' group is valuable for many reasons. Giving and receiving encouragement is almost a given. If there isn't a group in your locality, you can join an online group. No one needs to be a loner.  

Yet, sometimes you are alone. And it's during those times when I've discovered encouragement comes in interesting ways.

Recently, I went snowshoeing on our property. The snow was dazzling! I was just plodding along, enjoying the fresh air until I came upon a small pine tree. I stared at it for several seconds and lifted my eyes beyond it to see all of the other pine trees which were larger and fuller.

The message couldn't have been clearer.

Reality: I am a small fish in a big pond amidst thousands of freelance writers who are published, successful, and earning a living. But that doesn't mean I won't be someday. Look how straight and tall that little tree is. A bit distanced from the other mature trees, definitely an up-and-comer, but nevertheless, thriving. Despite the wind, snow, and ice which buried that tree deeper a few days later, it reaches for the sky with resolute. It was a reminder to stay strong and keep growing. I made a decision not to let discouragement influence me.

Because I didn't give up last year, I am pleased to say, I had my very first published article in a national high school magazine. And I received a check in the mail! 

What hindrances are making you discouraged? 

Can you maneuver around those obstacles with a different outlook? 

Please share your thoughts with us!


Kathleen Moulton is a wife, mother of 8 children, and a freelance writer. You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts -


Margaret Fieland said...

Kathleen, I'm convinced attitude is everything. I fell into writing fiction due to a series of "coincidences," the first of which was being on of four finalists in a poetry contest.

I was terribly encouraged. My undergraduate major was mathematics, and I figured if I continued, odds were in my favor.

As a result, I joined a couple of online communities, had some poems accepted for publication, heard about the Muse Online Writing Conference, and met Linda Barnett Johnson and joined her writing forums. She required everyone to write fiction. The stories I wrote for her were the first ones I'd written, probably, since elementary school.

Heidiwriter said...

I'm glad you didn't give up! It took me 10 years from the time I started writing my novel until I finally found a publisher and had it published! Perseverance is the key!

Karen Cioffi said...

Kathleen, what a great analogy! I would think every writer has fallen prey to writing obstacles at one time or another. It's all about perseverance and 'attitude,' as Peggy mentioned. When you fall down, pick yourself up.

And, being part of writing communities, whether online or offline is also helpful.

And, congrats on the published article!

Kathleen Moulton said...

Thank-you, Margaret, for sharing your story.

I fell into writing, too, kind of coincidental. After raising 8 kids I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it while in school.


Kathleen Moulton said...

TEN years?


You inspire me! I will keep going! I have a couple of book ideas, too.


Kathleen Moulton said...

Thanks, Karen!

PS I'm learning alot from your writing tip newsletter.


widdershins said...

Congratulations on your article! ... and look at that little tree, it's not at all like the others, it's growing in its own way, and getting along just fine!

D. Jean Quarles said...

Wow! Loved your post. How inspiring! Thank you for sharing this with us.

Kathleen Moulton said...

Thank-you, widdershins.

You're right - the tree is also growing in its own way. I like that!


Kathleen Moulton said...

You are very welcome Jean. Thanks for reading!


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