244. The reasons to quit writing

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Earlier today, or yesterday because it is way past midnight now, Alison posted a link to a post to another authors blog containing a list of 20 reasons a writer should quit writing.  Angelle also discusses this list in a recent entry tonight.

The list is as follows:

  1. You’ve been doing this for more than five years, and haven’t sold anything.

  2. You’ve got some kind of degree in writing, and haven’t sold anything.

  3. Writing causes you pain.

  4. You’ve been working on one novel for five years.

  5. You’re great at starting stories, but never finish them.

  6. You want to be a writer, but spend all your time going to classes and researching, but never get any writing done.

  7. You could live without ever writing again.

  8. You think that writing will make you rich.

  9. You believe that once you sell a book, it’s a cakewalk from then on.

  10. You truly feel that you have something important to say.

  11. You think being a writer is cool.

  12. You’re doing it to show your family and friends.

  13. You want to win awards.

  14. You believe that editing, rewriting, and revision are for the less talented.

  15. You have a thin skin.

  16. You think that writing will make you famous.

  17. You think that once you’re in print, that will be enough and you’ll never want more.

  18. You think there’s a conspiracy keeping you from getting published.

  19. You don’t live to write.

  20. At the end of your life, if you’re still not published, it will hurt you.
This list interested me a great deal. By this list, I should quit writing. Well, yes I have sold, and I have been writing towards publication for the last five years. I've been writing much longer than that though, and when I began writing it really wasn't for the money, and that still isn't my primary goal.

I write because I know nothing else but the love of writing. I've been writing since I was a child, nearly twenty years now, and I don't see myself stopping any time soon. I love putting words to paper or in this case the screen. I think it would actually hurt me more not to write.

I know my goals for writing have changed in recent years. The monetary has come into play. I'm unable to work outside of the home, so the only way I can try to support myself is by my writing. Writing isn't easy, and I never thought it would be. Writing is actually one of the hardest professions one can undertake.

A lot on this list can pertain to me though. I have trouble finishing stories, but I can write an article in under an hour. I can have a thin skin, but I'm working on that. I'm learning when someone is trying to help, and when someone is only messing with you with unprofessional behavior. I have been in the business for five years, and I've sold very little. I'm working on that too, and I'm selling more now. Everyone has to start somewhere right?

The difference from a real writer and one that ends up quitting is that a real writer needs to write. They live and breathe words. It is what they want to do, and what they think they are meant to do for the rest of their lives. Some may never get published, and they don't write to get published. They write just for themselves, and that's okay for them. Just getting the words out of their heads and down onto some surface is enough for them.  

Others want the world to see their words. They need to share what they have written. It might not be earth shatteringly important, but they do have something to say, and they will say it to whoever is willing to listen. Those are the ones that work towards publication, and they don't write to become a millionaire, but they write because it is what they love to do. That's the bottom line.

Where do you fall?


Anonymous said...

Hello Gina,
This is my first visit here so the 'hello' eventhough I feel it is not the fashion in the blogosphere. I totally agree that money is secondary to a true writer. But, the question is how can anybody dismissed a writer who writes keeping money in mind. You have mentioned, a true writer writes and people wants to see/read his writtings. I feel that the money minded writer is doing the other way round, they see what the people wants and than write. This doesn't make them any less/inferior writer if they truely have the talent for writing. You can also say, the difference is only that the so call true writer have to search for a theme or topic to write whereas the money minded one have readimade themes all around him.
I am no writer myself(writing only because I am blogging). So, pardon me if I am wrong.

Gina said...

Hello! Thanks for stopping by. I'd return the favor and visit your blog, but your profile is blocked. A writer does also need to write content that others will want to read, if that is what they wish. Writers can choose to write about anything their heart desires. For me, I love to write fiction, but I know the writing I'm getting paid for right now is in the entertainment field. That will hopefully change in the future, and I'll be paid for both. As for my entertainment writing, that might fall in the second category you mentioned. There is always entertainment news to cover, but I still have to go out and find the stories I cover every day to share my thoughts on them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the visit. Planning to add your blog in my still developing syndication of links to writer's blog like yours.

Dawno said...

Konrath is an interesting character - I don't agree with a lot of what he says, but there are some good points in his list. I think the 5 year thing is rather sad. Let's talk about Elizabeth Kostova - didn't she take 20 years to get The Historian into print? *shrug* Takes all kinds, I think.

Great stuff here - it's a pleasure to read your blog.

I have strong feelings about this subject, but, of course, they’re just my personal beliefs--just my two cents. I just wanted to preface my comments with that little disclaimer. ;-)

Personally, I write because I must. I love to write. I could no more give it up than I could give up one of my extremities because writing is so very much a part of who I am. It is a part of my soul…my essence. If one is really and truly a writer, there really isn’t any question about giving it up. A true writer simply couldn’t turn off the driving desire, the ingrained need to write as easily as if they were flipping a light switch. Some people write solely as a job or because it’s something different to try--they aren’t what I consider true writers. True writers write because they are compelled to do so--because they can’t not write, whether they earn money at the craft or not.

For me, a far greater reward than the obvious monetary is the positive feedback I receive from people who have read and enjoyed my books. Just knowing that I’ve been able to touch someone in a special way with my words, especially hearing that I’ve brought some needed laughter to their day, is like taking an amazing drug and experiencing an unbelievable high.

Depriving myself of that special joy would be as distressing as depriving myself of any of my senses.

chryscat said...

This interests me. I write because I have to.
If I hadn't sold. If nothing had ever come from it but words in a notebook...I had to.
And now, being published, I write because after cracking that door open, I'm now flooded with ideas about stories and such. All it really took for me was wholly opening myself up to the feeling that I wanted it more than anything. And now I can hardly keep up.
I do hope that my words touch others. But even then, the important thing is that they touched me.

Annalee Blysse said...

The last two on the list struck me. Sure I don't live to write, but people who don't set goals and constantly work on them will absolutely die before accomplishing those goals. There aren't all that many movie stars who are like Fay Wray's character in the original King Kong and just happened to be stealing an apple at a fruit stand when a movie producer walks by and offered them the role.

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