March 27, 2014

Discouragement is a Choice

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine

Trimalchio of West Egg was one author’s great disappointments. After one year and fourteen thousand pages of the written word he was told his story was too vague. He had to start over. Certainly a disappointment but the author was not discouraged. His story was to be written, but it would be another year.

One of the disappointing changes would be the title. Trimalchio was a first century AD Roman character who found and lost fortunes again and again, thus the name meaning “thrice king”. The pattern from humble beginnings to extravagant wealth and excess was repeated as well in this new novel thus the name of the book. The title itself seemed to be as out of place and as distant the first draft. The reference of Trimalchio and the fictitious town of West Egg was to remain in the novel but not the title. The title would reflect the main character. Once completed, we had that great American novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald was disappointed but not discouraged. His book was completed and published but it received mixed reviews and that first year only sold 20,000 copies. That was another great disappointment for Fitzgerald and when he died some fifteen years later he did so thinking himself a failure.

“Disappointments are inevitable, discouragement is a choice.” Charles F. Stanley

Our disappointments will come. As Charles Stanley said, “disappointments are inevitable”. We must not be surprised or overwhelmed but must decide what is next and move forward. We must make a choice and one of the first choices to make at that time is to not be discouraged. If discouragement had prevailed with Fitzgerald we would not have his great work to enjoy.

Discouragement is a choice. Don’t make it yours. 

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