Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Don't Give Up - Unless That's What You Want

Maybe it's the stress of the holidays, but I've seen a lot of writers talking about calling it quits lately. Maybe I shouldn't be so upset by this, seeing as how they're my competition and all, but I can't help myself.

If you want to give up because you genuinely don't enjoy writing any more? OK. That's a good reason to quit. If you want to be an author only because you want to make money, PLEASE go ahead and quit.

But if it's because you got another rejection, heard a published author complain about how hard the industry is, got a bad critique?

If writing is what you truly want to do, if you get a kick out of creating characters you love and putting them through the worst crap possible before they get to their happy (or not) ending, if you know your life wouldn't be the same without writing, if you have something that needs said - Don't Quit. 

Yeah, it's hard. Yeah, we have to suffer quite a bit of rejection before we get a yes. Yeah, not everyone will like everything we write. Sometimes we won't even like what we write. Maybe you need to take a break, but (again: if it's something you truly want to do) don't pack it in all together.

What would our literary world be like if JK Rowling had decided it was too hard? If Shakespeare had buckled to peer pressure and locked his writing away? If Jane Austen believed them when they told her a woman shouldn't write? Aren't you glad they didn't quit? You'll soon be glad that you didn't either.

Have you been thinking about quitting? How do you handle it when you think "maybe it's not worth it?"


  1. Rejections keep rolling into my inbox, and it is starting to chip away at my soul. But I could never stop writing. I think I would lose my mind if I couldn't create a world, a character, a plot that I truly cared about. A writer is who I am.

  2. I can't quit. I've tried. But characters and stories creep into my head and I can't lock them out. I just have to write.

  3. I certainly threaten to quit sometimes, especially when my boyfriend says all I do it sit in front of the computer or when the honeymoon is over with one of my manuscripts. Rejections suck, too. Put them all together and it can making writing seem like masochism. But then I get a story idea and I just start writing, losing myself in another world, and I remember that quitting would be impossible.

  4. There are days when the cyber trash can seems to be glowing on my computer, and I really feel like sending some ms's it's way, but I know I could never do that. It's hard to hear/see rejection, it's hard to push through barriers either self inflicted or out of your control, but because of the very low lows, there are also very high highs. And they are right around the corner if we wait for them. Sometimes it comes in the form of another wip, or the form of an encouraging email from a cp, or sometimes it just comes to us. Writing is all about passion and emotions. We all have to deal with them somehow, and the outlet is and always will be in a story.

    Great post! As you can tell, it really inspired me :)

  5. That's so true, and I think I'm going to bookmark this post when I get to days I feel like my writing sucks and what the heck am I doing? I usually get past that by remembering my love of writing and my love of the story I'm telling.

  6. I recently quit NaNoWriMo. However, what a lot of people seemed to think was that I was quitting writing. I am not. However, I think we all need our breaks and NaNo was not eliciting good work from me -- and I get that's not the point. But I was already so far behind and the story had the completely wrong overtones, so I scrapped it and I will restart it later.

    What bothers me is when people write on their blog at least once a week that they are done writing. That it's too hard, that someone said something mean, and that they shouldn't do it. It's not only annoying (when it's all the time) but it's also not good for you.

  7. Lately I have been tempted to quit. But then I e-mailed a friend and asked for feedback. She provided a fresh perspective on my manuscript, which helped me get over the hump.

  8. I have not felt like stopping, on the contrary. Writing had become a tad more difficult for awhile but in the good challenging kinda of way. The kind which makes you realize that you want to continue.
    I think when some authors want to drop the towel, they should try to remember how they felt when they first started writing. Would they really be ready to give up the excitement, the butterflies (sometimes I do have them when I´m on a roll :-)), the delight when they managed to pull through?

  9. Rows of rejections, seeing all the red marks after a CP or Beta gets their hands on the manuscript - yep, the blues come and sometimes I'm sure that I'll never get published. But quit? I couldn't do that if I tried. I think story writing is in the blood - I've been writing since I learned my ABC's - the thought of trying to get some of it published just hit me a year or so ago - after thirty years!