There must be something in the water. So many of us seem to be discouraged lately, whether it's over the publishing business and how darn hard it is to get published, or over our writing. Or (fun!) both.

So listen up, my dears.

First: Publishing is hard. Getting an agent is hard. Getting a publisher is harder. We have to have faith in ourselves, in our writing, and in the industry. Publishing has gone through hard times before, and it always rights itself. A good writer will eventually get published--unless said writer quits!

Second: Writing is hard. We don't always start out writing well. I just told someone this story yesterday--I had a mentor who used to actually beat me with my rolled up chapters. They were really, truly awful. (Also he made me memorize Mark Twain quotes denouncing adverbs, but that is a different story.)

Writing well takes most of us years. For most of us it will never be an effortless exercise. Most of you know that I hated the last book I finished. It simply wasn't very good. Do I quit? Heck no! I move on. Maybe someday I'll go back and force that book to be good. Mebbe not. But I sure don't quit writing.

If I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer, I couldn't drag into my pool and expect to swim well. (Especially because I have a deep and abiding fear of having my head underwater, but again, different story.) I would have to start swimming. And keep swimming. (And maybe be twenty years younger, which means that this metaphor isn't working out so well, but you get the idea, right? Right?)

I believe that if you put your mind to it, you can write, and write well. I believe that if you want to quit, you should. If your characters don't keep you up at night, demanding their stories be told, maybe you're not a writer after all.

But you are. Of course you are. Would you be here if not? So keep plugging away. In your down time, go beta read for other people. You'll learn as much doing that as writing.

And if you get discouraged? Come here for a hug.