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Comments on: Have you ever wanted to just give up?

read with hunger, write with joy, live with passion

Last Build Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 16:29:05 +0000


By: Monica

Thu, 13 Sep 2007 00:15:09 +0000

Yes, I've considered quitting 'cause the lack of a rainbow pisses me off, and never so seriously as now. There is so much to do! After writing 20 or so books and anthologies, why not be free to move on? Oh, yeah, the contract.

By: Katherine

Wed, 12 Sep 2007 16:44:07 +0000

What Tambo said. J.K. Rowling has said (paraphrasing) that, having been in a place where she wasn't sure where her next meal was coming from, she's never ever going to complain about the level of success she's had. Still, she was completely unprepared for the loss of privacy. (Huge, in her case, with people going through her trash and such.) She really misses the days when she could just find a quiet corner of her favorite coffee shop and write in near-anonymity. Since many writers are basically solitary people, I would imagine that this is a very common problem. The more successful you are, the more others are likely to want a piece of your time, and the more difficult continuing to write becomes. If you're J.K. Rowling, you can hire people to help fend off the hordes, but that's not the case for even most successful pros.

By: PolarBear

Wed, 12 Sep 2007 00:47:58 +0000

Thank you, Tambo, for adding your comments. Your voice adds balance to the "gotta go pro now" sentiment that runs rampant (not from Holly, in case anyone thinks that's what I'm implying). I am financially risk aversive. In my case, I've always wanted to write. Five years ago, I began to do that -- in preparation for being ready to do so full time after I retire. If things go the way I'm planning, I'll detour to get another academic degree after I retire next year, but writing is a significant part of that goal. Thanks to Tambo and things we've discussed privately, I see a side of the business where someone might not have to pursue the traditional model presented. And since I don't have to feed my family with my writing, I'm happy to know there is more than one way to define success in publishing. If you're financially risk averse, that doesn't mean you need to give up writing, but you'll be doing it in addition to your "day" job and in odd moments here and there. There is (as Holly and others have repeatedly said) no One True Way to write and be published. Determine the path that will work best for you and your needs and plan accordingly. And, as Tambo notes, consider the effect that success will have upon you and your writing, recognizing it may not be the bed of thornless roses it looks like.

By: tambo

Tue, 11 Sep 2007 23:34:46 +0000

I hope it's okay that I chime in my 2¢ Holly - if not, please go ahead and delete this. :) I 'went pro' in the summer of '03 and if I knew then what I knew now, I'd handle things on my end a lot differently. I have been INCREDIBLY lucky in many, many ways. My editor and agent are both fantastic - from what I can tell that particular combo's a rarity - a major publsiher picked me up, first book won an award and is still selling well after three years on the shelf, I have fans, made friends in the biz, and by all measurements have had a bump-free ride so far... but (isn't there always a but?) I have come close to quitting and in fact still consider that possibility every day I look at my computer. I used to love to craft fiction, now... Now it's my own unique hell. Be careful what you wish for is just about the best advice I can give, because you truly might get it. Know WHY you're seeking publication and figure that out ahead of time. Make plans for 'What happens if?' and include good, almost unimaginable things on that 'what if' list. Because they're the ones that blindside you. Most folks prepare for the worst. I sure did. Rejection I can handle without a bit of trouble. Success has nearly killed me and every single day I ask if it was worth it. Just because everyone says 'this is the path' doesn't mean that's YOUR path. Figure it out before you start, decide where YOU want to go and WHY, especially the why. Otherwise you might find yourself in a bog from which you can't escape.

By: NoelFigart

Tue, 11 Sep 2007 22:43:28 +0000

Thanks. I'm still flogging around the novel I wrote last summer and am trying to keep up the courage to finish That Damned Book (it's got a title when it's going well, but right now, it's That Damned Book). Hope Hawkspar resolves to your happy satisfaction.

By: crystallyn

Tue, 11 Sep 2007 19:34:34 +0000

Great response Holly. It's one of the reasons I love your blog...great writing, advice and inspiration. To add--just like art, literature is subjective. Some of the most celebrated writers were rejected over and over before they made it. Finding your audience is often a big chunk of the game. If you haven't seen this NYTimes essay yet, it's an excellent confidence booster--to try, try and try again because that book may just finally sell. :)

By: Jess

Tue, 11 Sep 2007 18:38:59 +0000

Thank you for sharing that. Having just graduated and working a day job I don't particularly enjoy, the timing is perfect. I'm not sure I find any comfort in it, but when I got to the end, all I could think of was, I really need to write. I can't think of anything else that makes me feel the way I do when I'm writing and producing pages (okay, even when I'm not) and that squishes the pragmatist in me saying, "But." Good luck figuring it out for yourself, to whoever sent the original letter.

By: TimK

Tue, 11 Sep 2007 17:46:54 +0000

Wow, Holly. What a poignant piece. I agree completely that it's never too late to make a change in your life. I worked for 14 years as an employee, all for the same company. I was a software developer. But when I got laid off, I discovered how truly special that place was. Two and a half years later, I finally made my own change to software consulting. But what I really love is writing. So I write marketing copy for websites. And I write as much fiction as I can, though I can't support myself and my family only on fiction income. The challenges of being a novelist, and the drives that urge one to this lifestyle, are common to entrepreneurs, as anyone who reads Pam Slims excellent blog Escape from Cubicle Nation can attest. Though she would probably disagree with you that "careers in regular day jobs are not a struggle every single day." Because they are a struggle if you don't belong there! That's what I discovered after I got laid off, and what forced me to become self-employed. Still, the point is that it's okay to do what makes you happy. Or as Pam Slim puts it, "There is nothing wrong with you. -TimK

By: Maxx

Tue, 11 Sep 2007 15:28:31 +0000

Thank you for sharing this. Perfect timing for me exactly what I needed to know. I'll keep going. :) Hope you will too.