A very good writer friend of mine made an announcement recently that has me reeling in my socks. She’s quitting the biz. She’s tired of the rejections and heart break and she needs time away.
I understand this, I really do. At the same time, I want to grab her and shake her and tell her she’s not allowed, under ANY circumstances, to quit! I’m furious and upset and sad. She’s one of the finest unpublished writers I know. She’s not unpublished because she has no talent. She’s unpublished because she hasn’t hit that right combo of luck, talent, and timing yet. Her books are not easily categorized. They aren’t trendy. They are, however, full of emotion and damn fine storytelling.
But one editor too many sent her a rejection this month. It’s not just this month, of course, because that would be silly. And she’s not being silly, though I still think she’s wrong. After years of contest finals and near-misses, she’s just tired. Worn out and tired of being hurt. I understand.
Yet I want to give her a flame-retardant suit and tell her to keep going. I’ve quit before. I convinced myself writing wasn’t for me. I missed it from time to time, but I went back to school and ended up with an MA for my trouble. I wrote plenty then. Papers, papers, papers.
I missed romance writing. I read it, sighed a lot, thought how apparently I just wasn’t good enough to make it. And then I got an idea. It kept me up at night. I started to write, just for me, and it grew bigger. I kept writing because it was fun when there was no pressure.
That book was pure fun, but I never sent it out. Instead, I started another one. By this time, I knew I was back and the dream was still alive. I finished the next book. Decided it was awful, but I liked the idea. Threw just about everything away and rewrote it. Rewrote it again. That book is HOT PURSUIT, my Golden Heart Finalist.
I am NOT judging my friend. Our roads have been different, and I can’t know her heart. But I grieve for the loss because I know she’s good. I think (hope) she’ll be back. The funny thing about me, when I came back, was I knew I wasn’t ever leaving again. I can’t. I will not quit because I’ve been there and it was no fun.
What would it take to make you quit writing? Do you believe in dragging your broken body up the mountain, or would you say, forget this, and withdraw from the race? Everyone’s different. There is no right answer. But what would it take? I’d really like to know….