That's why I surround myself with things like this.
Neil Gaiman give the commencement address at The University of the Arts. 14 Ways to Make Mediocre Art comes from Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky (get your own cool copy here). The framed note I received in a packet of thank you letters after a school visit. "It's okay to be scared to write," it says. "I am too!"
To the right of my desk I've pinned this quote on the wall:
“Know that it is good to work. Work with love and think of liking it when you do it. It is easy and interesting. It is a privilege. There is nothing hard about it but your anxious vanity and fear of failure.
And when you work on your writing remember these things. Work with all your intellegence and love. Work freely and rollickingly as though talking to a friend who loves you. Mentally thumb your nose at the know-it-alls, jeerers, critics, doubters.” -- IF YOU WANT TO WRITE, Barbara UelandThen there is this mini-poster I made, a response to all the thoughts rolling around in my head during my debut year. (Email me if you'd like your own copy!)
And other quotes I gather like sea shells, to pull out and examine when I need a boost:
"To make art is to sing with the human voice. To do this you must first learn that the only voice you need is the voice you already have. Art work is ordinary work, but it takes courage to embrace that work, and wisdom to mediate the interplay of art and fear." -- ART AND FEAR: OBSERVATIONS ON THE PERILS (AND REWARDS) OF ARTMAKING, by David Bayles and Ted Orland
"I am convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing... . Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation. Affectation itself, beginning with the need to define some sorts of writing as 'good' and others sorts as 'bad,' is fearful behavior. Good writing is also about making good choices when it comes to picking the tools [words] you plan to work with." -- ON WRITING, Stephen King
"Be an unstoppable force. Write with an imaginary machete strapped to your thigh. This is not wishy-washy, polite, drinking-tea-with-your-pinkie-sticking-out stuff. It’s who you want to be, your most powerful self. Write your books. Finish them, then make them better. Find the way. No one will make this dream come true for you but you." -- Laini Taylor
"Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn't force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything." -- LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET, Rainer Maria RilkeHow do you encourage yourself when writing is hard?