For myself, something I've noticed, is that before something good can come of it, I must be beaten and broken into the dirt. I must be seriously reassessing my life choices to seek publication at all. I must be giving up on writing entirely in a serious, bone-weary way. I must be wallowing in my despair of ever finding any (further, more,) success. And not only because I've been on submission for an eon, or because I was in the query trenches for an even longer age, but because everything in my life around me is blowing up, too. Financial woes. Personal woes. Business woes. Family woes.
But ultimately, it is always darkest before the dawn. Because once I reach the bottom of that pit of despair where I am verging on surety that I have made a terrible decision and it is time to just give up on chasing this dream, because it is just never going to happen, and it is not fair to the people around me that I keep investing so much into it at their expense, that is when I get an email or a phone call that changes everything.
The first time this happened, it was after my Grandfather had suffered his first stroke, and things were looking pretty grim. The house was a revolving door for guests -- family members coming and going to help my grandfather with his recovery -- and it was very likely, as unsuited as I was to the whole of it, that I, too, would be burdened with some portion of his care. My life was rapidly spiraling out of my control, and I felt very much as if I was being crushed under the weight of family obligation and expectation, with a heaping side of crippling guilt.
I remember one night, I had sunk to the cool, blue linoleum of the kitchen floor in front of the refrigerator, and I looked up at my cousin standing by the door and said: "I can't do this. I think I'm going to quit writing. I have to." Without hesitation or consideration, she said immediately: "No, you're not."
Within days, World Weaver Press contacted me about my Fate of the Gods books. And I flew through the house, sprinting to the guest room/living room/office where my aunt from California was staying, and that same cousin was ensconced, ready and waiting for me to "just check my email quick" before we started watching the summer Olympics, and the news burst out of me in a rush. I had an offer of publication. Someone wanted my books. Someone believed in my books. Someone believed in me. It was a lifeline. A sign, so close on the heels of my late night confession of doubt and despair.
I wasn't quitting writing after all.
At least not yet.
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Thank you for sharing your story. I've been there so many times, wanted to give up, but I couldn't. The characters in my head would drive me insane if I ever stopped. :)ReplyDelete
I don't think I could stop writing for MYSELF, either -- I'd still be writing gratuitous stuff to keep my head clear, and since this point in time, I've come to realize that when I'm not writing, I'm not as mentally healthy. I *need* to write for my own well-being and emotional stability. But giving up the dream of publishing or being an author? Giving up the idea that I was going to do this for my career and my profession? That was/has been a totally different story. Writing is my lifeline, the Pursuit of Publication practically drives me off cliffs.Delete
I think that's one thing all we writers know - we can't give it up. I've thought about stopping before (okay, never for more than a minute or two, but still) and the thought of having all these ideas and not doing anything with them depresses the hell out of me. O_o So I keep going, because no matter how hard it gets, the alternative is worse.ReplyDelete
Yes. We can quit attempting publication, but we can't quit writing!Delete
The alternative, for me, is absolutely worse, without question.