Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Cheerleading squad

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?


Mona Risk said...

Yes, I have been faced with quitting but I never did and will never do. Why? Because I need to write like I need to eat. I don't write to make money and I don't write for others. I write for myself, a story that has been playing in my head for too long and need to get out. My family didn't support me at the beginning of my writing. Husband and children thought writing was stealing the time I owe them, but later they were proud of my success. The fans who send me emails telling me they like my books give me incredible joy.

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Dh still calls it a hobby b/c I don't bring home much money. But he doesn't interfere and I tell myself some day. :-D

One of the nice things about being part of a writing team is that we are always cheering on one another. I also have some wonderful cps.

Continue to write as long as your heart demands it. I know I will. ( :

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Good on you for such a great attitude. I have never thought of quitting. I have taken a break because other life got in the way but I could never stop writing. As you say it is a love that I don't want to give up. I write for myself, for my own satisfaction as well as to get published. And with this new era of epublishing access for authors, those who have banged their head against the NY brick wall for years can now self publish and find success.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I am glad you are sticking in there, Mona. I am definitely oneof your supporters because I believe in you and your stories are wonderful.

Every now and then the urge to quit hits home because of a discouraging remark from a judge, but I actually started writing because I wanted to see if I could write a book. How did I know that I would step into a world so uplifting and full of great friends, support in no matter what is going on good or bad in my life and encouragement when I am down and joy when I do well. When my daughter died, it was my writing friends who pulled me through. I am thinking it is because writers know emotions. I've heard there are cases where jealousy can cause a problem, but I have been lucky to never have that happen in my writing life. I am so thankful that my friends allow me to ride on their published coattails and their accomplishments. If I should never sell, it still has been a great ride. I've learned a lot about me and finishing what I begin, not to stop when I hit a dry spot or problem. There are plenty of friends out there to give me help to get through it.

You and I have been through a lot together and I treasure your friendship a great deal, Mona. And, I still garle with Cepocal every day like you suggested all those years ago....

Josie said...

Like the lovely ladies who have already commented, I don't forsee myself quitting writing for a long time.

At this point, I'm hanging in there!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Where is that idiotic woman who said that hurtful thing to you and how soon can I get my hands around her neck???? Sorry...let me take a breath here...

Stephen King was rejected countless times. J.K. Rowling twelve. What do they have in common? They didn't give up.

I'm sure while you are working toward publication, you're studying your craft. By virtue of continual writing, you're improving.

Undoubtedly (did I spell that correctly? can't spell for jellybeans when I'm miffed!) that woman needed someone to stand on to feel taller herself. Use her as your next "bitchy" character and keep on truckin'. Of course you have talent! You're talented enough to develop a storyline with characters and conflict. You're talented enough to finish what you start. All she could finish was her next drink!

Write on, dearheart, and believe in yourself. We were all meant to shine.

Jill James said...

When my mom died I almost quit. She died at 61 years old. It was like I could see this road of life with not much road left and was I going to continue to write, get rejection letters, and never be published?

But Lee was there for me every painful step as I pulled myself together and took 2 years to write another word.

And she was my biggest, happiest cheerleader when I texted her (she was on vacation) to say I had been offered a contract. Her scream when she called was louder than mine had been. :-)