Monday, December 15, 2014

5 Things to do Before You Give Up

Sometimes “The End” is just the beginning. 

When you’re self-publishing, this is especially true.

After the last words have echoed ’round your head, struck a chord in your heart, and flowed through your fingers, you rejoice in reaching a milestone. The impossible has been accomplished! “I Could Have Danced All Night” is setting the rhythm as you brush your teeth after a hard evening’s type. The first draft is finished, and you feel like You Really Are a Writer.

Then come the edits, and probably a few rounds of them. You have major work to do at beta readers’ suggestions. You wonder, “How can Chapter 10 possibly work out if I change this sequence? How can I [insert quandary] without slowing down the pace?”

Once these hurdles are in the past, the cover has to be designed, the interior formatted (see Kelsey’s great post on this here) and the whole project finished off for printing. Then you remember you’re doing the marketing too. What if nobody outside your circle of friends buys the books?

Oh, can you afford the expedited international shipping to get your own copies before Christmas?

And that’s when you start to wonder if writing should have stayed a hobby, and whether you should put the muse back in its box and work in a coffee shop until you can figure out what to do next. If that’s you, I have a few suggestions.

1) STOP! Pause your track of thought. You can’t give up simply because the going is tough. Like any activity worth doing, writing gets seriously challenging at times. This is good. It reminds us that we’re not superheroes who can do everything on our own. We need the Lord’s hand on our hand, His will in every matter, and His blessing on every endeavour. A rough road can very effectively bring our eyes back to Him. :)

2) Count your blessings. Has a particular verse been an encouragement to you lately? Has someone offered to help, or taken a kindly interest in your projects? Have you done something for another and been blessed through giving?

3) Give thanks! Gratitude is a great way to be inspired—and it’s obedience in action. (1 Thess. 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”)

4) Go ice-skating. Or take a walk when the frost glitters and leaves crackle underfoot. Fresh air and exercise can do wonders. Perhaps a break and a change of scenery will give you renewed energy, hope, and enthusiasm for the story God has given you to tell.

5) Ask for the Lord’s guidance. Are the challenges there to build character in you, or are they a signal that you should change direction? There’s only one way to find out. Pray about it and seek wise counsel. Remember, it’s all for His glory—whether you sell one thousand copies or only one to the neighbors.

These are a few ideas—I’m sure there are many more to add. What would you put down if compiling your own “Things to do Before Giving Up” list?

Happy December, and may you all have a wonderful Christmas!

  Caitlin R. Hedgcock is a Christian author who aspires to use storytelling for God’s glory. She lives with her family in England's picturesque county of Hertfordshire. Visit her blog or Facebook page to find out more.

P.S. Prisoner of the Pyrenees is finished! Click here for quotes I couldn't wait to share. :)


  1. :) This is me and I haven't even written 'The End' yet - it's about halfway through and I get stuck doing the edits in what I've already written! Very encouraging, though, thank you!

    1. You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Every sphere of activity (and stage within that sphere!) seems to have its difficult times. All the best with your writing, and persevero! :)

  2. Very good post! There really are some huge benefits to self-publishing too. I am very proud of you for branching out and can hardly wait to peruse your new title!

    1. Thank you!! It's been a lot of work, and sometimes the need for encouragement arises . . . hence the subject of this post. :D

  3. This was so encouraging! They are great reminders of things to do. For myself, I might add "Remember that almost nothing else gives you the satisfaction that writing a story does. And God wouldn't give you stories if you weren't supposed to use them to glorify Him ... so, with His help and blessing, you have to strive to tell it and share it through publishing." Can you tell I've been thinking about that lately? :)
    Thank you for sharing this encouragement, and for sharing your exciting snippets!

  4. That's a great addition, Kelsey! Thank you for sharing the point. Often, writing seems like something we can't stop ourselves from doing--so it's an opportunity to take that overflowing creativity and use it in service of the One Who gives it to us.

    It's a pleasure; hope you enjoyed them :)


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