Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On Quitting and the Key to Publication


Writing a novel for publication is hard work.

Facing rejection after rejection.

Dedicating hours and hours of time, usually in the early morning or late hours of the night to finish something that ultimately gets shelved.

Getting so close, but never quite there.

 In truth, almost everything about the road to publication is tough. And sometimes in the face of all that difficulty it’s really tempting to consider giving up. I know I have. Lots. And sometimes, when my current WIP is kicking my butt on a minute by minute basis for weeks and I’m not sure I’ll ever get it to where it needs to be, I still consider it.  

Why?

Because giving up is just easier, isn’t it? Especially when publication is just a wish and not a reality. It takes further rejection right out of the mix. It puts the power of deciding our fates firmly in our own hands. We decide when enough is enough and just like that our writing careers can be over...before they even really begin. And there are a thousand reasonable justifications for quitting.

Focusing on the day job, you know, the one that’s actually paying the bills.

Focusing on the family--who could always use more time.

Focusing on keeping a clean house.

Focusing on friends and getting out and--ya know--living a bit outside of a café or huddled behind a desk in the corner of a bedroom. Maybe see the sun more regularly than the computer.

Focusing on physical health--because let’s face it--all those hours pounding away on a keyboard don’t really produce much of a sweat, do they? I know my butt is agreeing loudly with this one.

Focusing on getting a good night sleep because it’s been so long, you’re not quite sure that those even exist anymore.

I could go on and on and every reason I can come up with to quit, I promise you is reasonable.  Understandable.  Sensible, even.

But here’s the thing. Writing for publication is a dream. And dreams by definition (in my opinion) aren’t supposed to be reasonable or sensible. They are the purest expression of what’s locked deep inside of us. And personal ones like getting published are our best stab at figuring out what makes life meaningful and significant for us when we’re not considering other people or responsibilities into the equation.  They are the our essence. And that’s not something you can quit, not really. How do you quit what makes you you?
Now I’m not saying that every writer’s dream is to publish or even to show their work to anyone. Ever. But I am saying that it was and is mine, so much so that I’ve spent a lot of nights sitting up with this goal of publication burning its way through me like a fire, making me half-crazy with want for it. And now that I can see that bit coming into focus and happening, it’s being replaced with my next dream which is staying published…and I’m still up at night with the same exact fire.  

Some of you reading right now know exactly what I mean. You want it so bad. SO BAD. And it kills you every time you receive that rejection in your inbox. It drives you to distraction that no matter how many things you do right, you still keep getting hit with road blocks. Quitting can seem so tempting. Especially when other people give you that dubious look and ask: “So are you still doing that writing thing?”

But here’s the thing. If you are meant to be a published writer, if it is WHO YOU ARE, you won’t be able to quit. You’ll be miserable until you take up that pen and get busy again, until you pick up those other authors’ books and study their techniques, until you do everything and anything under the sun to realize your destiny. In short you will persevere because you have no other choice. And perseverance in this business, my friend, is the key.
Amy Christine Parker's book, THE SILO, realeases with Random House Children's Fall of 2013 and follows a teenage girl named Lyla who has been living in a religious cult after the disappearance of her sister. While her parents are hopelessly under the sway of the group’s leader, Pioneer, Lyla is drawn into a dangerous situation when she begins to question Pioneer’s prophecy about the impending apocalypse. You can find her on her website, on her blog, and/or follow her on Twitter. She would absolutely love it if you added THE SILO on your to read list on Goodreads here.

14 comments:

  1. Great post Amy. I think about quitting often for all the reasons you list. I can't help thinking how much easier life would be. But I love writing so I persevere and have a much longer work week than my 40 hour job. But I agree with you. It's worth it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Weird how we volunteer to make life harder on ourselves, isn't it? But yeah, it is TOTALLY WORTH IT.

      Delete
  2. Another heartfelt post - this is so your thing! I admit I entertained the thought of quitting, or at least stepping back a bit, a couple of times in the last year.

    I never will though : D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a walking Hallmark card:-). I think if you don't consider quitting at least once or twice you're not doing it right!

      Delete
  3. A great post. It sums up how so many of us feel and why we keep going!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Excellent post, Amy. Also THE SILO sounds really cool. I want to read it right now please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! Now if I can just multiply you by a few thousand....:-) Excited and freaked out to get SILO out there to be read!

      Delete
  5. Great post, Amy. I've definitely considered giving up, especially the summer before I got my agent. But then I'd immediately think BUT I WANT IT SO BAD THIS IS MY DREAM DAMN IT and then I'd pull myself together and continue on :P

    Can't wait to read The Silo. It sounds so cool and just the right amount of creepy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sooo glad that you stuck it out! And so excited to see where this next year takes you:-)

      Delete
  6. You are so right about this. Writing's a hard way to make a living. For years, people thought I was nuts for wanting to be a writer. Now I'm wondering if I AM nuts because Book #2 is...um...not coming together and I want to set it on fire.

    I can't wait to read SILO though!! It sounds great!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lol, I am SO where you are with book two, it's only just this week becoming more than the bane of my existence.

    And I can't wait to read FIND ME too!

    ReplyDelete
  8. My mother has always visited me four times a year. At the end of each visit, she'd ask the following question (with a sour face), "So, how is your writing going?" I hated that moment. I hated that my writing had become this sick and dying thing that my mother had to quietly and painfully ask about. (Of course she was only trying to be kind in remembering my dream.) As of last August, that dream is no longer coughing up blood in some dark back room, but very much glowing with health. Keeping your dreams alive can be tough! Great post, Amy!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I couldn't add THE SILO fast enough to GoodReads just now. I am so into cults! (Not in real life, of course, but I love reading about them.) Your book sounds fantastic. Great post, too.

    ReplyDelete