Is It Time to Quit?

If you try it long enough you’ll realize that this writing thing is HARD.

You’ll see books that you think are crap get published while you keep getting rejection letters.

You’ll have friends or family who promise to read your stories but then never do.

You’ll put your heart and soul into a story only to have someone call it trite and contrived.

You’ll write and write and write and not be able to get an agent or a publisher or a short story sale or a magazine sale.

Or maybe you will get some sales.  Maybe you’ll get an agent.  Or a publishing contract.

But then the sales will dry up.  Or the agent won’t be able to place your novel.  Or the publisher will end up only publishing two of your three book series.

So, should you quit?

Well, that’s really up to you.

But the fact of the matter is that everything above?  It pretty much happens to all of us.  It doesn’t mean you’ve failed.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll never succeed.

It could.

If you quit now, it will.

I’ve been at this writing thing (somewhat off and on) for three years now.  And the one thing I’ve heard over and over and over again is that writing requires persistence.  It requires picking yourself up off the ground over and over and over again.

Only you can say whether the end result will be worth that.

There’s a Macklemore song that says something about if he’d done it for the money he’d have been a lawyer.  It’s true.  If you want to make money and that’s your goal, then there are any number of traditional careers that will get you a high-paying salary as long as you stick with them long enough.  And they’ll pay you while you learn your “craft”.

When I started my professional career I knew nothing about my profession.  I had a college degree that had taught me nothing I actually needed to know to do my job.  But that’s okay.  Because they paid me to learn my job.  They trained me.  They gave me a mentor.  They started me off with simple assignments and let me slowly take on more responsibility.

Writing? It doesn’t work like that.  You’re competing with the seasoned pros almost every time you try to sell a story or novel or get an agent.

And it’s all up to you to learn what you don’t know.  It’s up to you to keep going and keep improving.  It’s up to you to find a mentor or writing group.

And that’s not easy to do in the face of no pay and lots of rejection.

But here’s the thing.

No one can tell the stories you have to tell.  No one else will share the special truths that you see in this world.

So, yeah, you can quit.  And for some people, quitting makes sense.  If writing doesn’t make your life better, then find something that does.

But if writing does bring you joy, if it does make your life better somehow, then I’d urge you to keep a toe in the water.  Keep a story or two circulating.  Continue to write down ideas that come to you.  Do something to keep the flame burning.

Step away if you need to.  But never quit.

Never quit.

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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3 Responses to Is It Time to Quit?

  1. Inspiring! Thanks!

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