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View Full Version : I just wonder if it's time to quit.



Sailor Kenshin
05-25-2004, 05:47 PM
I don' t know. You've been in the business for years. You see your work slowly improve. But you aren't moving up into those better markets, and this year started out slow.

You have in the past gotten published here and there and you work your heart out, you really think this is the best story you can do for this particular market (a big-name anthology), you agonize over every word, you think the subject matter and treatment are perfect, and it comes flying back with a "Nicely written, but no resolution and very familiar" type of reject.


What do you do when your best isn't good enough?

Fresie
05-25-2004, 06:05 PM
Sailor, you're breaking my heart. Here I am thinking the very same kind of thoughts. :head

I believe, the right time to quit is only when you've achieved every goal you could think of for yourself. When you can't see how you can do it better any more (if it's ever possible). And I believe that this very moment, now, is exactly the wrongest moment to quit. This is the moment of change, the moment when the quantity (of writing, patience, determination) is going to turn into quality, and pretty soon, too. If you quit now, you'd be doomed--but I'm pretty sure you won't. Whatever creativity there is in you would be doomed, too (what a loss!!!). If you hold on, very soon you'll see positive changes. They're inevitable, it's a law of nature. Too many people confuse this "black moment" with the end of their creative lives. It's so wrong. This is only a test.

So hold on, Sailor, and whatever you do, just keep on writing.:bang

Sailor Kenshin
05-25-2004, 07:14 PM
Thanks, Fresie. I really appreciate what you said.

Someone else just told me, "If you stop polishing your craft, then where will you be when the next opportunity comes?"

(But still .... waaaahhhhhh)

Tish Davidson
05-25-2004, 11:23 PM
You might want to try a change of pace. Take a class, try writing in a different genre, even non-fiction. Read someone's work you admire and try to imitate it, not for publication, but to figure out what it is you admire about it. Maybe if you back off from trying to write something publishable and do something fresh for 3 or 6 months, you will have something fresh to take back to those stories. I have found that the crossover between writing fiction and nonfiction has helped me write better in both genres. My storytelling is better in nonfiction after some fiction writing and my ability to use detail effectively in fiction is enhanced by researching and writing nonfiction. Sometimes you have to do something drastic to get out of your rut and rejuvenate your interest in your craft.

battlechaser
05-27-2004, 09:43 AM
Just keep going. Writers write because they like to write, not because they get published. Getting published is just icing on the inside of the cake. When people buy your writing, it's icing on the cake.

Being content with who you are is the most prized possession that one can have.

Fresie
05-27-2004, 02:36 PM
Writers write because they like to write, not because they get published.

Hey, that's a nice notion! I need to remind myself about it more often. :D Thanks!

veingloree
05-27-2004, 04:32 PM
Hmm. I think I may writer exactly because I do want to be published -- but if things have been a bit slow, or a story just won't sell I will send it to a less selective non-paying market just to cheer myself up and get a free magazine ;)

Sailor Kenshin
05-27-2004, 07:16 PM
I'm working on another story for that anthology. And thinking where to send the one they rejected.

Cate
08-16-2004, 11:14 AM
Just a thought . . .
Have you tried any non-fiction?
Might work as an inroad . . .

Cate;)

Sailor Kenshin
08-16-2004, 07:14 PM
Thanks, Cate. I used to write a LOT of nonfiction. I've been scribbling op-ed notes for a while now, so that might be a good thing to pursue.

Know any good op-ed markets? ;)

veingloree
08-16-2004, 07:48 PM
Indeed, when you're banging your head against a wall :head a detour can help :gone

I think I try is sitting down and scrawling out piles of material without editing too much and just shoot them of to any plausible market.

Sometime I go through the hard-drive and try tarting up old stuff for new markets.

If I need some success to cheer me up I search for obscrure marketes that seem really desperate and learn all about what ever topic they want stuff on (tickle torture, amateur shortwave radio enthusiasts, belly dancing, whatever! Google is your friend).

RichMar
08-19-2004, 01:11 AM
I don't think I've ever had thoughts of writing for an actual living. I've been writing with publishing in mind, but at at a snail's pace since arround 1970. I only submit to magazines with either a 100,000 plus circulation, or to some few lits that I like. I've had a successful career outside of writing, and have been retired from the bring-home-the-bacon job since 1998.

If I hit a mega-lottery tomorrow, I'd be figuring out how I can turn it into a dynamite story.

nolabohemian
08-22-2004, 07:54 AM
Don't forget, in the big markets, it is a lot about who you know. Were you able to name drop in your cover letter or query? "So and so (who the editor knows and you know) said I should send this story on to you..." Maybe they have a lot of stories by the clients of agents they do lunch with, ya' know? As much as we hate to admit it, this still happens a lot. Just because one place isn't going to let you get the foot in the door, doesn't mean it's going to be that way across the board. Keep trying. I heard there was one lady who got 900 rejections before she finally got published, but she never gave up, at 901, she hit it big.

Sailor Kenshin
08-22-2004, 07:59 AM
Don't forget, in the big markets, it is a lot about who you know. Were you able to name drop in your cover letter or query? "So and so (who the editor knows and you know) said I should send this story on to you..." Maybe they have a lot of stories by the clients of agents they do lunch with, ya' know? As much as we hate to admit it, this still happens a lot. Just because one place isn't going to let you get the foot in the door, doesn't mean it's going to be that way across the board. Keep trying. I heard there was one lady who got 900 rejections before she finally got published, but she never gave up, at 901, she hit it big.

This was some little ol' web site looking for reprints! :b

Cate
08-28-2004, 07:39 AM
Keep pluggin.
It stinks to get a rejection (or many), but you just never know what is around that corner.
Gambatte, ne!
(Japanese for "keep your chin up!")
Cate

ms pasquale
08-30-2004, 08:18 AM
For all of you who are wondering if it's time to quit yet..I just looked at my watch and no...no...it's not time yet.:grin

My mom always says "If you throw enough mud against the wall...at some point, some of it is bound to stick."

Let's all hang in there together, ok?

:hug

Sailor Kenshin
08-30-2004, 06:56 PM
My mom always says "If you throw enough mud against the wall...at some point, some of it is bound to stick."

I love it! :lol

Greenwolf103
08-30-2004, 11:08 PM
ms pasquale, that is perfect. :thumbs

Sailor, hang in there. You are bound to sell something! Don't let those rejections get to you, okay? I know all too well how hard it can be after you've poured your heart and soul into something.

One thing you can do, as vein suggests, is submit it to a nonpaying market. I may get pounced for this, but look at it this way: It's getting into print that will cheer you up more than any check would. Seriously.

Keep in mind that you don't need to be published to be a writer. Ask yourself WHY you are writing and WHY you want to be a writer. Just "keep on keepin' on."

But if you're talking about quitting freelancing, then only you can make that decision.

Good luck!

--Dawn

ArrMatey
09-02-2004, 09:51 AM
If you shoot for the stars, you're bound to hit the sky.

annied
09-12-2004, 06:33 AM
Hey, sailor!

I've thought about quitting for years, especially after running into so many naysayers and receiving buckoos of rejection slips. :bang But then I get the itch to write and I do it anyway. Long before I thought about writing to get published, I wrote because I loved it, and the heck with everyone else. I wrote for myself and didn't necessarily think first about the markets. Now I'm trying to strike a happy medium between the two extremes.

Never lose your love of writing. It'll pull you through. :thumbs And know we all hit the wall sometimes!

Annie

Sailor Kenshin
09-12-2004, 06:57 AM
Thanks! :heart

Jamesaritchie
11-30-2004, 10:12 AM
Don't forget, in the big markets, it is a lot about who you know.

No, it isn;t about who you know in the big markets, it's strictly about how good you are.

I've sold to a bunch of the biggest markets without knowing anyone, and I've bought for big markets from writers who knew no one.

I have some close friends who are editors at the largest magazines and book publishers, and they don't give a rat's behind who teh writer does or doesn't know.

At most, at the absolute most, knowing someone will get you past the first reader, but this is all it ever does.

The ONLY difference between selling to small markets and selling to top markets is the level of competition. You simply have to be a better writer to sell to top markets. Editors simply don't care who you know, they just want the best writing they can get.

Sailor Kenshin
12-01-2004, 04:22 AM
No, it isn;t about who you know in the big markets, it's strictly about how good you are.

Well, that's a relief, because I'm a hermit! :lol

EliseTaylor
12-08-2004, 04:53 AM
I'm right there with all of you. I've been writing for a number of years, everything from the college newspaper to six or seven unfinished novels. (I've lost count...how pathetic is that?) Sometimes I feel like ditching all this, but because I love it so much, I'm not ready to give up. Ask me again in another ten years.

With the help of a few wonderful people out there who I love and appreciate more than words can say, I have stuck it out for much longer than I had ever hoped. Writing is one of the most enjoyable things in the world, but it can be just as miserable. Sounds a lot like love, doesn't it?

Don't give up yet.

Elise

Sailor Kenshin
12-08-2004, 07:19 AM
Thanks! :)

drmelvinblair
12-24-2004, 11:43 AM
:rolleyes
If you look at your copy of the official Writers' Handbook, you will see on page 14, para 2 sent 1 "Writers may conclude their craft four days, two hours, and thirteen minutes after taking their last Earthly breath."

So, there ya have it. If you are still breathin, you are still a writer...paid or not...the handbook <looking upward with a slight aura of awe> says so...

Live yer Bliss!

Roger J Carlson
01-03-2005, 11:44 PM
What do you do when your best isn't good enough?

I wish I could remember where I read it, but someone once said: "If you CAN quit writing, you SHOULD". I took that to mean that a real writer doesn't have a choice. He or she is driven to write.

So far, that is still true for me. After more than 60 rejections on my first novel, I am still doggedly working on my second. Each and every rejection knocks me for a loop, but after a couple of days, I start writing again.

Keep on plugging!

--Roger Carlson
www.rogerjcarlson.com

arkady
01-06-2005, 12:42 AM
So far, that is still true for me. After more than 60 rejections on my first novel, I am still doggedly working on my second.

I hope you haven't given up submitting #1.

Each and every rejection knocks me for a loop, but after a couple of days, I start writing again.

That's about it. It's like Purgatory -- you can't quit, but you can't seem to get ahead, either.

wurdwise
01-21-2005, 07:56 AM
I have only been writing for less than a year. I am a fairly new member here, perusing through the different forums, and I thought I'd share these thoughts I wrote down this morning.

"I have been busy for a week communicating back and forth through email with an editor who contacted me, switching moods from cautious to ecstatic to anxious. It has all been very draining, so much so that before I fell asleep last night, I was questioning the sanity of staying in this business. Between the trolls and frustrated writers on message boards, and the constant barrage of cautions about scammers, the woeful tales of long years of rejection with no signs of being rewarded for the fruits of their labor, I was thinking the
mind set of many writers was rich in anxiety. So I prayed for calmness, for the ability to keep the business aspects of writing in perspective. My peace of mind comes first, my family, even before my writing. It must be that way for me, or no writing of quality would ever be accomplished.

And when I woke up, an image came to me, a metaphor if you will, of writers and publishing that I wanted to share with you. Some writers look at the world of success as a jungle, danger lurking everywhere, agents, publishers and editors, anyone involved in the business side of things, as giant tigers with sharp claws set to rip them apart the second they step foot into the jungle. This can make a person miserable, frustrated, fearful and anxious. My vision was of a beautiful garden instead, full of colorful flowers and greenery, a garden in which each writer is one of the flowers or plants. The garden does contain hidden snakes and poisonous bugs, there are
thorns on the roses, it is part of the natural order. And though we must be aware of and protect ourselves from these hidden dangers, we must never lose sight of the beauty of the garden, and remember that it belongs to us, the writer. "

This change in perspective has made me determined to never stop writing.

Sailor Kenshin
01-21-2005, 08:07 AM
Kewl. :D

1walkingadverb
02-04-2005, 05:56 AM
Hello Sailor. New in town?

Do I think of quittin'?

Nevvv-ahhh!

I'm the poster child of starving writers everywhere. Do I write to make a ton of money? To please an agent? With offish thoughts to getting published. Hell, yes, to the latter, but it matters not. I writer to let the characters I create live through me. I write to tell a story and for the love of writing. <<Explicative>> everyone else.

I send inspiring thoughs your way.

Anchors away...

Sailor Kenshin
02-04-2005, 10:17 AM
Thanks! :D

Bout2givUp
02-06-2005, 10:31 PM
Myself just me I believe most of us would be so much happier if we could cast off our artistic habits,be they writing,painting whatever.
Then make a community thing of it get all the dejected writers,painters to brings their wares over for a big old fashion bon fire,and maybe a weenie roast:hat

lANTERNjACK o'tRUMPETmARSH
02-22-2005, 02:10 AM
...because you have two choices: being a quitter or being among the walking dead, those literary corpses who go through the rote years after their passion has been snuffed out. The sorry truth is: there are very few Mozarts and a lot of Salieris. Heck, Salieri was at least commercially successful. Most hopefuls aren't even that. When a person wants to commit writerly hiri-kiri, they go from friend to friend asking, "Should I quit?" when what they're really questing for is someone to justify a decision they've all ready made.

Richard
02-22-2005, 02:33 AM
That's about it. It's like Purgatory -- you can't quit, but you can't seem to get ahead, either.

Nah, you don't have to pay postage in Purgatory ;-)

Wandering Sensei
03-08-2005, 10:30 AM
Sailor, here's a quote that I like that I try to keep in mind for myself (for times like these, as a matter of fact).

"Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever." - Lance Armstrong

I mean, he should know. Right?