Discouraging Words

“Oh, give me a home where the Buffalo roam
Where the Deer and the Antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the sky is not cloudy all day.”
Home on the Range

Where oh where is this wonderful place where “seldom is heard a discouraging word”? Beam me up, Scotty!

It seems only fitting that a post on “Encouraging Words,” should be followed by this one. While supportive words are often in short supply, sadly, there’s no shortage of downbeat dialogue around. It’s everywhere!

“To deprive of courage or confidence – dishearten” — that’s the Webster’s definition of discouragement. The word “dishearten” says it all. Discouraging words can make us lose heart — and when that happens, then nothing happens.

As writers working to hone our craft and make our marks, we often battle discouragement on several fronts. On the publishing front, there’s plenty of dispiriting news about the book business and declining readership. On the agent front, we’ve all heard about how hard it is and the odds we face.

In the family-and-friends arena, support for our writing projects can ebb and flow. When Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help (see Give In) began racking up rejections left and right, she started lying about continuing to work on her “book” because the people around her couldn’t understand why she didn’t just give it up. Writing is hard work and getting your writing right is even harder. Instead of giving us credit for our persistence, people close to us sometimes dismiss or diminish our drive.

But the most damaging discouraging words are the ones we say to ourselves. When we hit a snag, we can be impatient with ourselves instead of patient. When agents reject us, we can reject ourselves and shove our work in a drawer instead of sticking with it like Kathryn. When we send our work out to on-line outlets and it doesn’t pay off, we can tell ourselves we don’t have what it takes instead of rolling up our sleeves and trying again.

But losing heart means giving up on our dreams. So let’s dump discouragement and treat the writer within us with respect and compassion. And write on!

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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4 Responses to Discouraging Words

  1. Elise says:

    Ah the battlefield of the mind! Countering our negative thoughts with positive ones is indeed a struggle, but one I believe we beat with continued practice…and awareness.

    • Hi Elise,

      Thanks so much for your comment. “The battlefield of the mind!” — what an apt phrase. The skirmishes there are so loaded — and so lengthy. I agree with you wholeheartedly: while it’s tough to replace our negative self-talk, it can be done. It’s a habit, like so much daily activity — and with practice, patience, and awareness, we can learn how to accentuate the positive — a worthy battle, indeed!

      Write on, Karin

  2. Steve says:


    Absolutely! Getting discouarged can be deadly.

    Chin up and, yes, be positive!


    • Hi Steve,

      You are so right! Discouragement can be so damaging.
      So let’s watch what we say to ourselves — let’s be
      patient and kind to ourselves just as we would be
      to a writer friend who’s going through a rough patch.

      Write on,

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