Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How to Deal with Falling Rocks Landing on the Writer's Road to Publication

I recently read an interesting article by Jack Canfield on Positively Positives’s blog about overcoming obstacles, and right away I thought about how this applies to the writer’s journey.

Are there obstacles standing between you and your finished published manuscript
Lack of time to write? 
Lack of money for conferences, workshops, babysitters? 
Not enough support from your family? 

The obstacles to getting published can seem so numerous, so obvious, and so tough to get past. And the way we deal with obstacles can take a lot of time, and energy away from our creative writing selves. Often the way we deal can keep the focus on the obstacle and not on our forward journey. Two of the most common negative responses to a rock thrown in our path is to explain the rock or to resist the rock.

Here’s Jack Canfield’s analogy of obstacles we may come across.

Imagine you’re driving down a scenic highway. Suddenly, you come to a huge rock in the middle of the road. You have the usual two options. Explain away how the rock ended up there, it must have come loose in a recent earthquake tremor. Or you might resist and complain about the carelessness of highway construction and the lack of government funding for rock removal. 

Or you could bypass all this negativity and just drive around the rock. 

                                                                                  Photo by Chris Marin - Hawaii

Which simply means... instead of asking WHY did this happen, ask WHAT can I do. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to get bogged down when rock, after rock, after rock seems to be dropped on your road to publication.

But look what this woman does with rocks: 

Photos by Jessica Purvis Vancouver, British Columbia June 2012

So instead of seeing the rocks thrown on your road as a STOP sign, which could derail all your efforts, maybe even cause you to give up for awhile, see the rock as a YIELD sign.  Slow down, ask what can I do, but keep moving forward on your writerly path.

And when I need to remind myself that the obstacles are part of being a writer, I think of this Thomas Mann quote:

            “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult   
                                                   than it is for other people.”

Feel free to comment on your obstacles, your ways to deal with them, or anything else.


  1. What great insight into the obstacles that distract us and steal our joy. Maybe instead of taking my jackhammer approach to those darn rocks, I'll embrace them as conflict in this story we call life.
    And Thomas Mann... Wow. He SO got it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Sandy. I love your analogy of the jackhammer. What about dynamite. Blast those rocks out of the way. LOL

  2. Great post! Now, I think I need to go drive around a rock...

    1. Thanks for stopping by Liz. Sounds like a great plan.

  3. Great points! And I had to laugh; I'm one of those women who stack rocks into cairns...
    --Rebecca Rivard

  4. Wow, Rebecca that is amazing that you can do the rock stacking. My family and I tried in a dry river bed in Arizona (not many rocks here on the coast of Florida LOL) and we had fun, but it's harder than it looks.

  5. Yes, just like my favourite quote "rather light a candle than complain about the darkness".

  6. Thank you for stopping by Norah and I love your quote.