“…there are lots of other writers…who don’t have a chance in hell of making their dreams come true…” — Sean Minogue
Yeah, it has been that kind of week.
I always thought I was the kind of person that grew from rejections. I didn’t let them get to me, and I would take VERY seriously any feedback they gave me. I would take the rejection in stride and move on, trying, struggling, fighting to make my work better.
Today though instead of Googling comma use (I hate you, vile comma!)…I am Googling, “When to stop trying to be a writer.”
I’m not throwing a pity party, although I’ve been known to throw some great ones. No, I’m wondering if they all know something I haven’t yet had the courage to face. Today, I am honestly and thoughtfully asking msyelf, “Should I stop trying to be a writer?”
And, for those of you wondering…I don’t know yet. What I do know, is that there are precious few useful articles out there on this subject, but I did find a few.
The first, from which the above abridged quote was taken, made me realize that I’ll never STOP being a writer. I like writing. Even with all the complaining and cat vacuuming, I do like it. And I will likely do it, even if I never publish anything. Blogging and journaling will continue, perhaps even reviews. It also reminded me, that a passion does not have to be a job…a passion does not need to be validated by anyone other than yourself (that goes out to Day, btw)…and to be careful of those to fallacies:
I also found a quick and dirty 12 Signs it is Time to Leave Your Job article. It doesn’t COMPLETELY apply, but if you change some of the wording I think this might turn out to be a nice checklist as to your happiness with writing. Things like getting sick, and letting it impact your life to the point that others notice something is wrong should be a BIG indicator that writing should move to the back burner: http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/07/06/12-signs-it-is-really-time-to-leave-your-job.htm
This next one, is for those of you that are looking for a cheering section. Yes, I am aware that stopping is admitting defeat. BUT is it really defeat when you can re-direct your energy to things that you will get more personal development and enjoyment from? If you are looking for reasons to stay in the writing field then have at this one. Me, I’m trying to figure out if I should leave… http://markterrybooks.blogspot.com/2009/02/should-you-quit.html
This one is the same way, and it is written from someone who is obviously not suffering at the moment, which makes it even worse sorta. BUT there is one grain of help here, it starts with, “So when do you quit?” and goes to the end of the article. In particular I am looking at the idea that another dream might mean more to me than writing. Do I have that now? Is there something out there that, when faced with a life or death choice, I would rather have than writing? Interesting question, don’t you think? http://www.murderati.com/blog/2009/4/19/how-do-you-know-when-to-quit.html
So I am left with some questions to ask myself in all seriousness:
Am I doing this to make a living? Or is this a passion I can continue doing quietly without recognition?
Is this impacting my life in a negative way to the point I can no longer ignore it?
Is this fulfilling me? And are there rewards (attainable) that I have yet to reach?
Speaking of attainable…are my expectations reasonable?
Is this done in a fit of pique? Out of self-pity? If so, will every rejection elicit this reaction and can I live with that? Can my wife?
Finally, and most importantly, is writing keeping me from following another dream, more dear to me than it? If I was told I could never write again in favor of this other dream, could I accept that and move on?
I know I can’t answer these right now, I need time to think and process. I also know that my questions won’t necessarily work for you, but I’m hoping if you came to this place looking for help that I have provided it. If it does then I’ve accomplished something…