I posted an earlier version of this article on January 16, 2012. At the time, I was a bit discouraged. Also, I had listened to several people who were in the same frame of mind. Now, I’m having those thoughts again. After all, I’m “old enough” to retire from everything without guilt. The conversation I’m having with myself goes something like this.
Giving up, dropping out, moving on. Really—I quit. On one hand, my last few submissions were rejected. On the other hand, I am not paid much for writing that is accepted. This writing gig is too much work for too little reward.
What if I give up writing entirely? Then, I will not have books and magazines all over my home. I won’t need to spend money on style manuals, memberships, subscriptions, or writers conferences. I won’t spend my time monitoring online writers’ groups or reading blogs about writers and writing. I will not feel obligated to attend writers’ group meetings to share experiences with other writers. I can use my “office” space for another activity, something less frustrating and requiring less stuff. And—I won’t carry around a load of guilt about not writing when I’m too tired or too busy to concentrate.
Whatever made me think I wanted to be writer anyway? Others told me I was good at it. People asked me to write things for them, telling me I had a gift. Through a series of “coincidences,” I attended a writers’ conference and caught the writing bug. I learned the ropes and began submitting my work. A surprising percentage of my first submissions were accepted. I found that I enjoy interviewing people and giving them a chance to tell their stories. People tell me that they are blessed by my work. Other writers say that I have been a source of encouragement for them.
On second thought…
If I stop calling myself a writer, I will lose contact with some very good people, and I will miss the opportunity to meet new writing friends. Who will help my interview subjects tell their stories and have their moment of fame? And—what about all the time and effort I have expended learning the writing ropes? I can’t write it off as time wasted. And, most important—if I give up writing, I will no longer have the privilege of being a blessing and a source of encouragement to others.
I became a writer by design and not by coincidence. I was called and equipped to write, not to measure the cost. No—I’m not done yet. I just need a new plan.
What about you?
Do you find yourself wanting to give up? How do you get yourself going again?