Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 60

Thread: Throwing in the towel after 9 years

  1. #1
    Gonzo Journalist kuatolives's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    285

    Throwing in the towel after 9 years

    So my (ex)literary agent called yesterday to terminate our relationship. After a year of failing to place a novel I'd written he finally decided to throw in the towel. I don't really blame him as I'd written off writing last year citing burnout and the general downward trajectory my life had taken since taking writing seriously.

    The day I'd submitted that final draft of that particular novel to my agent, I was living in my friend's back room, hadn't worked in months, lost my girlfriend, and was probably drinking too much (probably still do lol). That state of affairs wasn't entirely related to writing, but writing definitely contributed to it as I tend to obsess over a task until complete to the exclusion of all other tasks, including living an acceptable lifestyle.

    So, once I was represented and on submission, I forgot about writing and concentrated on getting my life back together. It was easy to do considering I had so many aspects of my life needing attention. And attend I did. Within the last year, I've earned a half million dollars through a re-constructed career, moved into a luxury condo with a fantastic downtown view, and started a new relationship. I even managed to squeeze a month of vactioning in Scotland during the Edinburgh summer festival. Because I had a novel on submission to publishers, it didn't matter to me that I wasn't writing anymore as 'things were in motion'; I was still tackling that particular problem. Anyday I could get that phone call. Then I got it ...

    "You're fired! Take your schlock someplace else!" (Paraphrasing)

    GRRRRRRR.

    First instinct: Query that novel again.
    Second instinct : Finish the second draft of the other novel I'd been working on but abandoned.

    "Fuck it, I'll get back on the horse."
    "You sure about that? You know what will happen don't you?"
    "Who are you?"
    "He who knows better."
    "What will happen?"
    "You'll start writing again. The job, the condo, the girlfiend ....whooosh! Gone baby, gone; one at a time, slowly but surely. Nothing to show but words on paper that nobody wants to read much less pay for."
    "I'll just write a couple hours a day."
    "Who do you think you're kidding? It'll be all day, every day. You can't do it any other way. The ship that is your life will start to sink again.. slowly, surely ... like the Andrea Something."
    "Doria. No, I'll just-"
    "You could be a millionaire in two more years then live off the investment income. You can write then. Until that time, just keep - that - fuckin - laptop - shut."
    "I gotta get this problem tackled! I promised myself! Just a couple hours a day. I'll set an alarm or something."
    "How much time have you spent in the last year on writing messageboards?"
    "None, really."
    "And today? How much time did you spend composing this post?"
    "A few minutes... I dunno... maybe fifteen mintues. Not much-"
    "The Hang Seng index opens in 90 minutes. Instead of watching your foreign investments, you're writing an imaginary conversation. See, it's already begun."
    "Close it?"
    "Close it."
    "Just for a while longer, right?"
    "Just for a while longer. What's a year in the publishing industry?"


    Click.

  2. #2
    Azarath Metrion Zinthos AshleyEpidemic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Austin
    Posts
    1,456
    No quitting. Move on to another story. Prioritize. You will find a way.
    So, I have this blog. It's here
    and a book blog
    I tweet too.

  3. #3
    Widely Regarded as a Bad Move DanielaTorre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    The Lost Moon of Poosh
    Posts
    1,226
    Congratulations on getting your shit together. Query your novel again then start writing. I doubt your life will take a disasterous turn simply because you'e writing. Who knows, mabe you can do a meta novel about a writer who quit writing and got his shit together, only to start writing again and have his perfect life ripped from right under his little pretentious fingers.

    Relax.If you get your novel published, fine. If you don't, fine. It's not the end of your world, especially if you've made something of yourself in spite of it.


    ~ Twitter ~

  4. #4
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    In the land of cheese and chocolate
    Posts
    7,932
    Just wanted to point that if the agent has shopped the novel around to all possible publishers and not found a home for it, then there's no point in querying it again. No agent is going to take it on.

    As to the rest (warning: blunt advice here) -- if you can find a way to write in moderation, without wrecking your life, then do it. Otherwise, let it go. It's not worth being penniless and friendless.

  5. #5
    Seashell Seller Layla Nahar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Seashore
    Posts
    4,097
    Well, quit if you want to, quit if it's really the right thing, and you'll be happier. But I'd say the odds are *real* good that the problems you describe - living in your friend's back room, losing your girlfriend - come from something other than writing. lol.
    すべての武器を楽器に
    Of all instruments of war, make instruments of music

  6. #6
    can totally spell Brobdinrgnagrian buzhidao's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    4,405
    Only you know what you really want and what's best for you. But generally, I agree with Beth. It does seem odd to me that you would *have* to dump your life in the toilet in order to write, and my feeling is that you could do it. But I don't know you. If that really is the way you operate, I'm not sure it's worth it. And if a couple years is all it takes for you to become a millionaire--that really isn't that long to put it off. You can always come back to writing.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Accebera's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    328
    Can the girlfriend help you with this? Make sure you don't write more than X hours every day? Or maybe join a local writing group so that they can keep an eye on you? Otherwise, I tend to agree with Beth and Buzhidao.

    (Side note, I find it intriguing that you seem to have the exact opposite problem of most writers I've talked to, including myself. Usually we're trying to motivate ourselves to start writing, not stop!)
    WIP: Treasure Story - fantasy/adventure - drafting

    Stuff your eyes with wonder. -Ray Bradbury

  8. #8
    Runs With Scissors RedWombat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    883
    Honestly, if it doesn't make you happy, don't do it. Life is way too long to spend doing something that makes you miserable if you can possible avoid it--and that applies to a career in business OR writing.

  9. #9
    Simplify. frankiebrown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    962
    Do what makes you happy. If writing makes you happy, great. If it's going to make you miserable, don't start writing again. Or you can find a good psychologist that can talk you through your obsessive behavior and then try to learn how to take things in moderation. But seriously-- if you were on your death bed tomorrow, what would your regret be? Wish I'd kept that condo? Wish I'd published that novel? Neither?
    "To a worm in horseradish, the world is horseradish."
    Blog last updated 12/7: On Pacing

    on twitter: @frankiebrown25
    Debut novel: UNTIL WE END Bloomsbury Spark, Dec '13. Represented by JL Stermer.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Enzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Eurasia West, Eurasia East
    Posts
    1,190
    Find a balance.
    If you can make half a million within a year, that means you can be a success at something, if not at everything.
    If you feel like writing, write. Take your time, don't dive into it and neglect everything else. If you really feel like writing, you'll do it, and you'll improve. Another and better agent will be ahead.
    http://twitter.com/RioMoss
    Y: 007 Raw NaNoWriMo fanfic at http://riomoss.blogspot.com
    WIP: Eurothriller Blood

  11. #11
    Keeper of Fort Blanket L.C. Blackwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Coffee Shop
    Posts
    1,649
    Quote Originally Posted by FOTSGreg View Post

    But your agent? They're an As$hat who's got a big head syndrome. They've forgotten what their job is, what they're supposed to be doing, and who they really work for.
    Sorry, but this is a thoroughly unprofessional statement that will get you nowhere in the publishing world. An agent is not required to go on shopping a dead novel indefinitely, and it's a waste of time and resources to do so.

    While writing a new book and looking for a new agent is a reasonable option--provided the OP can maintain some balance while doing it--throwing a tantrum and blaming the former agent is the least constructive choice. (Kudos to the OP for not doing so.)

    Maybe more could have been done, but without knowing exactly what the agent did or did not do, there's no justification for the above comments.
    I am sometimes here. You can also find me at: First They Came for the Communists, a human rights blog.

    "We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can't think what anybody sees in them.

    -JRR Tolkien
    The Hobbit

  12. #12
    is watching you via her avatar jjdebenedictis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    5,320
    OP: I have no clue what the point of your post was. The fact your agent threw in the towel? That you threw in the towel? Maybe you just wanted to talk? Or brag? Or test-drive your fiction snippet on us?

    I dun get it.

    FOTSGreg: So, agents aren't allowed out of their business arrangements? And if they do escape, they deserve to be called names and have obscene tortures wished upon them?

    I realize you're just trying to sympathize with the OP, but your response seemed a wee bit overwrought.
    Twitter: jjdebenedictis
    GoodReads: jj-debenedictis

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW cmi0616's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    With you in Rockland
    Posts
    1,292
    If you don't feel that you absolutely need to write, congratulations, you are free. Especially since you seem to be doing so well... I hate to be cynical, but writing for a lot of people is a compulsion. I know that, regardless of whether I have any talent, regardless of whether I'll ever get published or not, I need to write. Something feels off or missing from me if I don't. It's a heartbreaking, often unrewarding business, as you seem to have already found out. If you're getting on well without it, there's probably not a whole lot of reason to go back to it.
    Goodreads- let's be friends!
    [/COLOR][/FONT] [/FONT][/COLOR]

  14. #14
    creative genie katci13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    tennessee
    Posts
    1,297
    OP - It depends on why you're writing.
    Honestly though, it sounds like you got obsessed with it and over-focused to the point of wasting away. And that's probably not the your novel's fault.
    If you're happy not writing then just do that. If you're not going to be satisfied unless you write, then find a way to make it work. Find a way to write without all getting all obsessed about it. Either just do it as a hobby or set up some boundaries around it. Key word being boundaries.
    Whatever you do, don't throw in the towel just because your last novel didn't make the cut.

    Do whatever is going to make you happy. And note, happy people don't lock themselves up in a room and waste away. ^_^

    Works in Progress:

    Paranormal/Horror - Drafting

  15. #15
    Banned
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    452
    Quote Originally Posted by DanielaTorre View Post
    Congratulations on getting your shit together. Query your novel again then start writing. I doubt your life will take a disasterous turn simply because you'e writing. Who knows, mabe you can do a meta novel about a writer who quit writing and got his shit together, only to start writing again and have his perfect life ripped from right under his little pretentious fingers.

    Relax.If you get your novel published, fine. If you don't, fine. It's not the end of your world, especially if you've made something of yourself in spite of it.

    I love your signature.


    Kuatolives, don't give up. Just continue to query and write another novel. You've got the talent. Don't let it waste away.

  16. #16
    That hairy-handed gent
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Who ran amok in Kent
    Posts
    31,549
    Get a new towel.

    caw
    "Badger! Badger! The weasels have stolen my motor-car!"

    "Frankly, Toad, I don't give a damn."

    -- Gone with the Wind in the Willows

  17. #17
    Will Swansen WillSwansen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    3
    I had four editors on my first book! They all wanted money and after I had payed the first editor, I found one grammar and two spelling mistakes in the first chapter. She was fired!
    Will Swansen
    www.willswansen.com

  18. #18
    Dull Old Person Flicka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Far North
    Posts
    1,154
    Quote Originally Posted by BethS View Post
    As to the rest (warning: blunt advice here) -- if you can find a way to write in moderation, without wrecking your life, then do it. Otherwise, let it go. It's not worth being penniless and friendless.
    This. To me it sounds like your relationship with writing is more like an addiction than a hobby.

    Some people can drink in moderation, even if they once had a problem. Other people can't have even one without stumbling back into addiction. Only you can tell which of the two you are.
    Consulting girl detective
    Coups neatly executed. Nothing sordid, vulgar or plebeian. Deserving cases preferred.

    The Rags of Time | Twitter | Facebook

    Currently working on:
    A Candle to the Devil (mystery; set in 1628)
    Perfect Shadows In a Sunshine Day (mystery; set in 1919)

  19. #19
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    3,195
    Agreeing with BethS and Flicka. A lot of writers slip into unhealthy habits when they're sucked into a draft, but not to the extent you're describing.

    Your current writing techniques aren't working for you. Adapt your methods, or stop before you do lasting damage to your life.

    And good luck.


    Quote Originally Posted by WillSwansen View Post
    I had four editors on my first book! They all wanted money and after I had payed the first editor, I found one grammar and two spelling mistakes in the first chapter. She was fired!
    That's a whole other kettle of fish, my friend. Your editors shouldn't be wanting money unless you're self-publishing, and if you are, why do you need four? You might want to make a new thread so we can discuss your situation without derailing this one.

    EDIT: I just took a look at your first thread in the New members forum where you mentioned paying a publisher. Definitely start a new thread, Will, it sounds like you're following some dangerous routes to publication.
    Website/Blog- Twitter

    WIP: Mecha and Monsters Project, Draft 5

  20. #20
    resident curmudgeon
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    26,288
    There's nothing wrong with quitting. The dumb writers are often the ones who don't quit when they should, and waste a life that could have been wonderful. The smartest thng I ever did was give up painting. It was something I really wanted to do, and something I learned I had no talent for.

    Only a fool keeps doing anything that isn't making them happy.

  21. #21
    resident curmudgeon
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    26,288
    Quote Originally Posted by FOTSGreg View Post
    Um, your agent can't fire you. They WORK FOR you, not the other way. Oh, sure, they can QUIT or you can fire them, but they can't fire you.

    The only one who can quit is you. It's your choice.

    But your agent? They're an As$hat who's got a big head syndrome. They've forgotten what their job is, what they're supposed to be doing, and who they really work for. FRAK this one - with a giant telephone-pole-sized dildo. You CAN do better.

    So long as it's not YOU who quits.
    What kind of silliness is this? You want an agent to keep working after a book has made the rounds? I don't think you have a clue what an agent's job is, and certainly have no respect for them. Really, that's way, way out of line, way, way out of all rationality.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    120
    Good for you. From what you've said it sounds like you realized you had an unhealthy addiction (even if an unusual one) and you're kicking it to the curb. There's no point in chasing a dream that ruins your life and your relationships. If writing is not serving to make your life better (not worse!), writing is not for you.

  23. #23
    permanently suctioned to Buz's leg Putputt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    No longer in Cali :(
    Posts
    4,091
    Quote Originally Posted by FOTSGreg View Post
    Um, your agent can't fire you. They WORK FOR you, not the other way. Oh, sure, they can QUIT or you can fire them, but they can't fire you.

    The only one who can quit is you. It's your choice.

    But your agent? They're an As$hat who's got a big head syndrome. They've forgotten what their job is, what they're supposed to be doing, and who they really work for. FRAK this one - with a giant telephone-pole-sized dildo. You CAN do better.

    So long as it's not YOU who quits.
    To me it sounds like the OP's ex agent has subbed the book to the editors he thought might like it and come to the end of his list. In this case, it makes sense for him to call it quits and let the OP query other agents if he wishes to. The ex agent did nothing wrong, so I'm not sure where your anger towards him is coming from...

    To the OP,

    If you plan on querying the book elsewhere, make sure you have a list of editors that your ex agent subbed to. As for compulsive writing, you might want to seek help for that. See a therapist, someone who can curb your unhealthy writing behaviour. I'm not convinced that you should be writing if it makes you miserable. What's the fun in that?
    corny: This is the way of the future. Nonsensical fragments and oozingly gross weeping sores of language spilling over the keyboard.

    I feel like corny needs to have a book review site, really.

    Hippo Cartoons
    Twitter

    Repped by M&O

  24. #24
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    yawping barbarically over the roofs of the world
    Posts
    5,931
    Quote Originally Posted by Brynn View Post
    Good for you. From what you've said it sounds like you realized you had an unhealthy addiction (even if an unusual one) and you're kicking it to the curb. There's no point in chasing a dream that ruins your life and your relationships. If writing is not serving to make your life better (not worse!), writing is not for you.
    This. *waves hands over it* All of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Putputt View Post
    I'm not convinced that you should be writing if it makes you miserable. What's the fun in that?
    Listen to the Hippo; the Hippo is wise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    The first draft is a huge pile of clay that you've laboriously heaped on your table, patting it into a rough shape as you go along. From the second draft onward, you'll cut away chunks, add bits, pat and punch and pinch, until you finally have a gorgeous figure of, oh, Marcus Aurelius. Or a duck. But a damn fine duck.
    Quote Originally Posted by KTC View Post
    1) Write like your face is on fire.
    I tweet. Not often, maybe not interestingly, but I tweet.
    My sort-of-not-really blog.

  25. #25
    In the moment Michael Parks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    308
    Moderation in all things.




    "There are intangible realities which float near us, formless and without words;
    realities which no one has thought out, and which are excluded for lack of interpreters."
    - -Natalie Clifford Barney.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search