Writing Highs and Lows

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The question for this month is:  It’s the best of times; it’s the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

Writing Highs and Lows

In the beginning…

It was a good thing I didn’t know of the lows that were to come because those lows could have fractured my early naive passion for wanting to be an author.

As it was, I started with my own insecure low, not believing I could write a novel. That I needed to start small and work my way up.

So, I did, starting with magazine articles and short stories (pre-internet days) and a newspaper column, traveling a path that today has me as an indie publisher.

The highs are:

  • Seeing my name in print, my words on the page.
  • Getting a phone call early on in my career from a complete stranger, an older gentleman from Oklahoma who shared my husband’s first name and my former last name, and who wanted my help in finding his own inspiration based on my inspirational article he’d just read.
  • Learning of readers who look forward to my next book or who just read one of my books and liked/loved it.
  • Helping other writers, sharing with them what I’ve learned.
  • Opening a box of newly published books. Opening those boxes never gets old.
  • Seeing my book on a library or bookstore shelf.
  • Being driven to write the next story, with characters following me around, plots wanting further development, and projects clamoring to be finished.
  • Sending a finished project out into the universe.
  • Being alone in my workspace and being surrounded by books. This was a vision I always had from the beginning.
  • Being able to have a day job that embraced my writing passion. It happened when I became a professor of writing.

In the early days, I saw rejections as a low. Today, I view rejections as paths of not where I want to be or go. The rejection simply means my work isn’t a good fit for that publisher or producer. Nothing more, nothing less.

Likewise, if I don’t place well in a contest, that simply means that there were different stories that grabbed the judges’ attention more. It didn’t mean that my work sucked. Only that it didn’t fit what they were looking for or enjoyed reading.

Today, the lows are:

  • Needing more reviews. The few I have are GREAT! Sadly, to deal with a platform’s algorithms, I need more of them.
  • Wanting more sales. While I’m okay with not being a best-selling author yet, more sales would indicate that I’m reaching more readers, which is my ultimate goal. With so many books out there today, it’s a big ocean we authors are sailing within.
  • Needing to hire an assistant. One of the tasks of writing I prefer not to do is all of the promotional work that is required. I’d rather turn that over to a creative assistant, allowing my time to develop new stories and just write.
  • Wishing I lived closer to more writers. Lately, I’ve dreamed of owning a big Victorian house with a wrap-around porch, which I could turn into a writer’s retreat haven, a place where I could mentor and coach, and where I could other writers who are looking for an inspiration landscape in which to write. Where I could be surrounded by writers more often than not.

In the end, some of my lows aren’t really lows but are wishes, instead. Even though I’ve achieved many of my dreams, I’m still dreaming. Are you?


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.


About Diana Stout

Screenwriter, author, former English professor
This entry was posted in #IWSG, Writer at Work and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Writing Highs and Lows

  1. I can relate to so many of your highs and lows. Finishing a project, hearing someone say they enjoyed a book or article I’ve written, opening the box of newly published books, I imagine they are universal highs for writers.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy Gideon says:

    I’m ready for you to get that big ole Victorian house, Di!! Soooo relate to your list – as I think all writers do. So often, we are our own worst critics when we should be our best cheerleaders.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those aren’t bad lows. But they are good goals.
    You don’t stress rejection the same way I don’t stress bad reviews. My book just wasn’t a good fit for that reader. No big deal.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. chemistken says:

    I haven’t published yet, but I can imagine not having enough reviews could be a real pain. I’m not even sure how I’d go about asking readers for more reviews. Good luck in that department.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diana Stout says:

      With my first book, I looked for books like mine, then looked at their reviews, then clicking on those who did great jobs of their reviews, contacting them through their Amazon page, asking if they’d review mine if I sent them a copy. I got some really great reviews that way. I need to do more of that!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Diane Burton says:

    Can’t wait for that big, old house for the writers’ retreat. I’ll come. Your highs and lows are similar to mine. Like you, I’m glad I didn’t know about the lows when I started this crazy journey. But, we haven’t given up yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diana Stout says:

      No, we haven’t given up, and I don’t plan to, not for a long time. Though time is getting shorter! Glad to know you’ll come to the big old house! 🙂 Take care!


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