Worth It

Don’t get discouraged…

Writing can be a blessing and a curse. If you’ve been at this a while, you know what I mean. Sometimes things go very well. Creativity is sparkling, words are flowing, the keys of the keyboard tap out a furious staccato. The finished work is brilliant – some of the best stuff you’ve ever written. You edit carefully, then send it out into the world, on your blog, into a self-published book on Amazon, or in a query to an agent. You wait for the response.

And nothing….

You get a few likes on your blog, maybe a couple lukewarm comments. Your book languishes, sales are weak, nonexistent even. The agents are silent, or worse, dismissive… “Thank you but your work isn’t a good fit for me. Good luck in your journey…”

If you are expecting the usual litany of “think positive”clichés, sorry! You know how I hate that crap! Nevertheless, how do you keep from going under in the floodwaters of writing and publishing?

Remember why you started writing in the first place.  Even if your goal is to make a living at this endeavor, your most basic reason for writing has to be because you love it.  You have a song to sing, a story to tell, a cause to champion, and so forth.  We all want to be appreciated, have readers enjoy what we write.   But it is a rare thing to achieve overnight success.

Our world has trained us to expect instant gratification.  If we can’t have “it” right now, something is wrong.  Writers need to have vision – a long view.  Ok, here’s a cliche but an appropriate one:  it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  A marathon requires setting a pace, having time goals for the splits of the race, refueling at appropriate opportunities… You know what I’m saying?  Yes, some faster runners will blow by you. But here’s the cool thing about marathon running:  most runners race to achieve a personal best.  That’s why thousands of slow runners sign up to participate in marathons.  The goal is completion, not winning.  So to carry the metaphor back to writing, success can’t be tied to sales, reviews, likes and comments.  Success is tied to your personal best.  And like a runner who keeps training, you only get better the more you run.

Don’t let your desire for validation derail your dreams.  Whatever you write, for whomever you write, on whatever medium you write, remember that you love to write.  And that alone makes it worth it.

39 thoughts on “Worth It

  1. LOVE the marathon -personal best analogy. It is a great reminder. I know that not only do I want instant gratification but there is the am I good enough. Writers -no- all people with passion for soemthing are perfectionists and there comes a lot of self doubt and negativity with that. Cut out the competition. That is the key. Yes, be in competition with yourself but at a pace where you can say I did xyz a tiny bit better than the last time I did it.. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear that. It is the shared experience of all of us, I think. I wrote this precisely because I’m dragging myself out of my own bad place!
      And FYI…
      I bought White Picket Prisons to read on vacation! I’m going to love it – I just know it!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Aww….you are the best. I think you might like it. Do you think I’d like your novels? Keep in mind that I am psychologically unable to read a book in which the protagonist is female. It’s not misogyny. I read from a first person point of view. When I’m reading I am the main character. My manly brain has a hard time seeing things through the perspective of a woman. Like I said, I’m not misogynistic, just crazy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well then, give them a pass. All my main characters are girls. Although they aren’t super girly girls. One is an engineer, one is a landscape designer and the other is a physical therapist. There are sports, fishing, and cool cars in all of them too. 😀 I have written a few shorts from the 1st person POV of a male character. I should do that for one of the novels, might reach a broader audience. I think I write “dude” pretty well, actually.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a brilliant post. I am quite guilty of looking for validation for my writing. One of the reasons I started blogging in the first place was for feedback on what I thought was sub-par amateur writing. And anonymously, I was sort of okay if people laughed at me. At least they wouldn’t/couldn’t do it to my face!

    But, besides all of that, I have to write. It helps me in so many ways. I have too much going on in my head and I have to get it out… even if no one ever reads those words. Even if I never read them again…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes. Writer means you write, not necessarily earn a living at it or for that matter, even publish it. (But you should.) After all the fooling around this month, I have to get back to the stuff I’ve been ignoring and pick up the threads of my other works in progress! And for you, I’d say the myth of your amateurish writing has been thoroughly debunked! I think both of us have to also remember why we are blogging! The friendships are amazing, BUT the feedback is wonderful and the practice is essential to becoming better writers. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re so right. Earning a living at it would be great… but unless I pen the next Harry Potter series (or something that does equally as ridiculously well and becomes many movies), it likely wouldn’t make me as much as I’d need anyway!

        But I need to write anyway. And I need to finally finish something. Because I still hate endings! (And I think some of my plots are weak..)

        Like

  3. I always get a bit discouraged whenever I browse the Goodread’s giveaways. Let’s face it, some of those things are utter garbage, and yet that person’s done more than I have. They’ve (a) actually finished something and (b) felt confident enough to send it out into the world. Meanwhile, I stare at pages of unedited material for my *first* WIP and just can’t bear to say “This is it. Be free. Make of yourself what you will.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true. The utter garbage is doing a fine job of burying the good stuff under it’s pile. Self publishing has been as much a bane as a boon to writers wanting to send their work out into the world. Yes, it’s given us a chance when traditional publishing would not, but still… Now everyone is swamped by the sheer volume of material being published. That’s the main reason for writing for one’s own self. I love to do it. Would I love to make a living at it? Absolutely. But I would’t give it up if I never made a dime. Come on, Jay, join the club!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I so needed this. I’m still no where close to publishing. But still this was inspiring. One of the magazines that takes submissions as ‘contributions’ and doesn’t pay for them recently rejected one of my short stories and called it a ‘character sketch’. I felt miserable for a minute and then promptly sent it to another publication for their online collection. They accepted it and even though I didn’t get paid, the fact that it got published online made me feel better.
    I had started out wanting my blog to be a platform for my writing. So whatever i wrote went on my blog. Also, a lot of the publications don’t accept articles or stories that are previously published, even if its just a personal blog. And that’s disappointing.
    And now, even though I am writing more, my blog is getting ignored. ‘Coz now I’m busy writing my novel, instead of publishing short stories on my blog. Strange position to be in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a real challenge to overcome rejection. Take heart that some of the best writers in the world have had their work rejected by publishers. Stephen King, JK Rowling, F Scott Fitzgerald… the list goes on! And ignoring your blog in favor of writing for publication is NOT a bad thing! That’s really what its all about! Best of luck sister!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! That does make me feel better. And not so guilty about the blog, anymore. You really are the best sister I have. 🙂 Oh, and Rashmi too. (Psst… it’s just you, actually. I just had to add the last bit there in case she sees this 😛 )

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This was a good reminder of why I started to write in the first place, I have a story to tell and I think I should continue to do that!
    Loved how you compared it to running, I am training for a 5k now my starting point in the world of running and I have similar fears about running and writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow 🙂 This is such a wonderful piece for all newbies and veterans out there writing their way to the world 🙂 A gentle nudge or reminder reminding them why its worth to keep writing 🙂 I am totally in love with your blog Meg 🙂 I am happy I discovered it atleast now! Would have loved to stumble upon it earlier but it took Jacqueline’s party to make me find your amazing space 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I love crazy drivers 😉 Literally and in real 😀 My hubby is one! But of course marriage has made him more careful than our careless college days, still I love when the streak of craziness which appears once in a while 😀 When I meet a person/blog who deviates from normality it immediately strikes a vibe with me 😀 Looking reallly forward to be a part of your awesome crazy journey ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Um… Do you have my phones tapped and my house bugged? I’ve been struggling with this exact issue recently – letting a desire for validation derail my dreams. For someone who doesn’t go for the “think positive” mumbo jumbo, you sure do give a kick-ass pep talk! Thanks for the reminder of what’s really important. I needed it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rita! I’m glad it helps. Did you make the big change to your schedule like you talked about? I know you were thinking about reducing your work hours? I meant to comment at the time and I let time get away from me. I did that very thing at the end of 2013…

      Like

      1. I did! Friday was my last day as an employee! My boss has agreed to continue having me write his newsletters and some other projects as an independent contractor, just as I had hoped. I’ve been having the occasional freak out this weekend as I realize the leap I’ve taken, but mostly I’m extremely excited. First order of business is getting my blog back on a schedule. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is fantastic! Good for you! It is a big leap… I left a busy practice to run a small practice out of my house. I haven’t regretted it at all. I’m sure you won’t either. Catch your breath and then write something awesome!!! 👍

        Liked by 1 person

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