I heard something a while back that really hit home for me. A woman had lost 300lbs in 3 years by dieting and exercise. What struck me about her transformation was what she said, “In order to succeed at anything, you have to surround yourself with people who understand your vision, and support it.”
There couldn’t be a more truthful statement than that, and it especially goes for writers.
In order to succeed, we do need each other and that cheer squad at your back. We need that support system to find our way through the darkness of rejections, bad contest scores, cruel judges, and the struggle to continue to write. We’ve all met up with that moment, when we’d considered throwing in the towel. To give it all up, and say, “I can’t do this.” I know I have, and had to fight to come back.
I wouldn’t be sitting here if I didn’t have the support of friends and family for my writing. They don’t always understand why I continue to write, after so many rejections, (I could wallpaper my den, and down the hall), but even without always being a part of my writing world, they continue to support me. They see my vision. Maybe not as clearly as I do, but yet, they still see it happening for me. If they don’t, they still are very supportive, and continue to be positive in their statements.
Recently, I met up with a group of old work colleagues for dinner, one of the gal’s asks, “Are you still writing?”
I responded, “Yep, still plugging away at it.”
“OMG, it’s time to give that up. It’s been long enough, and you’re still not published. Obviously, what you’re writing isn’t very good. I mean, anyone can write a book.”
In that moment I knew I wouldn’t see this person again. It was a hurtful statement that really stabbed at me. It gave me pause, for a second, maybe two. People who make remarks like this clearly don’t understand the publishing world, and the difficulties that authors face, and how much we love to write, regardless.
My response, “It’s not about publishing, or the money, it’s about my love for the written word.” I ended the conversation with, “Why don’t you write a book?”
I got no response, she ordered another drink.
The economy, has taken a familiar industry and transformed it into something, I personally never thought I’d see. Midlist authors are being dropped. Sell threw on contracts have gone from 40% to close to 80%. Print runs are much smaller, longtime agents/editors are let go from large publishing agencies and houses. And it’s become harder for traditionally published authors, at least more stressful for them, to hang on.
E-publishing has made a impressive stand against the industry, and self-publishing is now being considered by authors who once turned their nose up at it, ‘as not really being published.’ Everything is changing, what hasn’t changed for me, is my little group of supporters, and the cheer leading squad that I hear in my head occasionally.
Have you ever been faced with quitting?