Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time to Rethink

It's been longer than I intended since the last post. The trip to New York was great, and I will post more pictures later this week. (This one is Central Park... what a gorgeous day it was!)

In the meantime, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the writing career. On my first night in New York I got a devastating rejection - one which really sent me a bit for a tailspin. I've gotten used to rejections - both on queries and requested fulls and partials, and thought I was getting numb to them.

I'm not.

It was the kind of rejection that made me rethink my decision to be a writer. It was the kind that made me want to just throw in the towel and say, That's it. That's all the heartache I can take. I'm done with this.

But I've got too much invested at this point, including a writing group and a blog. What would happen to those if I stopped writing?

It made me wonder about all the bloggers I've come across in the last 18 months, all those commenters on agent blogs who have declared themselves as writers. Is there a large attrition rate to writing? Do people dive in full force to the writing and the blogosphere only to give up after a while if no success comes? Or are writers notoriously stubborn and determined, no matter what agents say?

Do you know people who have dropped out of this race because it just got too hard, or heart-wrenching?


  1. I was thinking about this as I drove into work this morning. Would you keep writing if you knew there was no way you were going to be published. I think the answer for me is, yes. But I think getting published is definitely the driving force behind writing everyday and having a blog. If it wasn't there I probably wouldn't work at it as hard.

    Sorry to hear about the rejection. Keep your head up. On one of my rejections the agent stated that it only takes one yes, so keep trying.

  2. Patti - I agree that I would probably write anyway. But I wouldn't spend my hopes and time looking for publication if I knew it wasn't coming.

    I'd like that magic ball that said, "Keep at it, it's coming in your future" or "It's gotta be just for fun, kid, cuz publishing isn't in your future."

    That way I'd know. :)

  3. That is a really good point Patti. I've "written" for years and I enjoy the process. It is a love of mine. I'm not published. I'd love to be published on day, that is my goal, but I would definitely write no matter what.

    Hang in there Heidi. I believe in you and your writing.

    I had a speech teacher who said he wrote but he stopped after he was rejected by so many agents.

  4. Such a difficult topic!
    I write because I enjoy it AND because I have dreams of being published. For me, I don't think I could have one without the other.

    I could never write if I didn't love it and immerse myself in a world with my characters.

    But I'm not sure I would have the motivation to write consistently if I didn't have dreams of publishing dancing through my head, encouraging me forward each day.

    And I hope to handle the rejections like I do other problems in my life. Cry in private, wallow in self-pity for a few days and then pull myself up by the boot straps and get back to work. If for no other reason than to prove to the rejector that they were wrong :)

  5. Yeah, we won't let you quit. As if. :)

    But I have not actually met a writer that considers themself a writer that has ever quit. Does that make sense? I do know a couple who've decided it, and then they find their agent/publisher.

    I would write even if I were never published, although I'd be sad. It's a bit of blind optimism, but necessary.

    Don't give up. :) Please.

  6. I think once a writer declares herself a writer, she is always one because even if life gets too busy, we never really STOP writing, even if we take breaks, we always go back.

  7. I worked for years on the same project because I kept getting "nibbles". It kept me stuck on that one manuscript, working and reworking it and then resubmitting. Then one day, I had this epiphany (which wasn't really much of an epiphany, just me coming to my senses), and I decided that I was sick of this place I was "stuck" in. I wanted to be a writer, which meant writing. Writing *new* things. Things that I *wanted* to write (instead of just revising) and could fall in love with again. Even if it meant never landing an agent. Even if it meant I would never get published.

    I didn't give up on querying (obviously), but it became more about the writing and less about the quest. I was definitely in a more peaceful place.

    Obviously, I don't think you should throw in the towel, but maybe taking a step back to reassess is good. Think about *why* you're writing. I believe what everyone else has already said, once a writer always a's in our blood.

  8. I dropped out a few times but always ended up back. I had 2 of my books go to acquisitions only to be rejected. I was heartbroken. Like Im never writing again heartbroken and i stopped for a long time. But i missed it. I feel for you :( I will say after years of rejections - I just got an agent. Don't stop - you are a beautiful writer - I can tell by your heartfelt blogs - you will make it. This is the point where the ones who make it rise up!

  9. I haven't even stepped up to the plate yet, writing wise. No rejections (other than contests lost) and no submissions. You have bested me there.

    I'm interested to see how I react when I get those first bunch of rejections.