Monday, January 25, 2010

How Long Can I Keep Going?

Let me start off by saying that January and February are the two months of the year that I like the least. The holidays are over, we're in the dead of winter and the skies and I are both dreary.

With that being said, I was surprised to find my thoughts about my writing endeavors turning darker than the mold growing in the corner of my shower. Logically, I know my outlook in general affects how I view my writing, so the other day, when I was at my lowest, I decided I needed to revert back to what I knew I could do. I went back into my comfort zone and sent off several short magazine articles. It turned out to be just what I needed. Two of the four articles I submitted were accepted. With my confidence restored, I am now in a place where I can resume work on my current manuscript.

Today I spoke to a friend who is frustrated with her writing progress. She has given herself a set time frame within which to become published. If hard work and effort were the only criteria to be considered, she would be published already. I don't know anyone who works harder than she does and she is a great storyteller.

But, becoming published requires more than just being a competent writer. Your work must be marketable. It is subject to the financial environment and the wildly changing publishing industry. In other words, you must be at the right place, at the right time, with the right manuscript, in the right financial market. WHEW!! It's only normal that we would become frustrated. If we weren't we wouldn't be human.

At times like these it's nice to know that I am involved with a group of other people who share the same feelings. There have been several times when I have decided that I am a better reader than writer, only to be convinced by my peers to keep writing. They know what I am going through. That's what I like about Southern Magic. It, and the friends I've made, have given me the support I needed to carry on when all my senses said QUIT, QUIT, QUIT--IT WOULD BE A RELIEF--JUST ONE LESS PRESSURE YOU'RE PLACING ON YOURSELF.

What do you do? Who do you turn to when you're at your lowest ebb as a writer? What works to give you the strength to carry on?


Christine said...

Diane: I'm not a fan of Jan/Feb either. They are my least favorite months because of the cold and dreary weather. Meh. And I do believe mood affects my writing. To top it all off, major stressors tend to come into my life this time of year so they impact my writing.

I had a really good year last year, but still not published. I got frustrated by the ins and outs of publishing and how hard it is to be "in the right place at the right time with the right ms." There are so many factors beyond my control it's easy to say, why bother?

What keeps me going (especially during deep revision hell)? My CPs, my writing chapters and their constant support, entering contests, writing just a little every day and letting go of the "time frame" and the things I can't control.

All I can control is my writing, learning the craft and submitting. The rest is up to God, the universe and the fates.

Diane Richmond said...

I hear ya, Christine. The key is not quitting.

Callie James said...

My husband, my chapter mates, my CP, and anyone who will listen to me gripe over a cup of strong coffee. That's what keeps me going. I love and appreciate each and every one of you!

Gwen Hernandez said...

Being part of a chapter, and having writing friends, is definitely a huge help. When I'm feeling low about writing, I sometimes take a day off. If I get a rejection or bad contest feedback, I find that I'll feel better if I give it a day or two to simmer.

I itch to write, so I don't think I could stay away too long, but the business side of it--wanting to be published--can be hard to take sometimes.

M.V.Freeman said...

I think that is the one thing every writer struggles with: the secret voice that whispers "Quit".

The thing is to look at it in the eye,and ask yourself this: Why?

I've decided to fight. I am going to write. I am not saying I won't walk away for a month or two, but I'll pick up the sword..I mean pen and start again.

The brick wall is there for a reason. Its for those that will give up. We just have to figure how to go around it if we can't go through it or over it.

And I agree with Callie, a cup of coffee and a venting session helps LOTS. :-)

Keep writing Diane! :)

Jeanie said...

Being in a writer's group has helped me through the dark times. Who else but another writer can understand what we go through? Some inner demon drives me on, even when I am singing the 'I suck' song.

I set myself goals. Sometimes I reach them, sometimes not, but I have now reached the point where I feel guilty if I don't write! Sure, there are plenty of days when I don't, but that nagging little voice in the back of my mind is pecking at me the whole time. As hard as it is, it's actually easier to sit in the chair and write than to listen to her!

Louisa Cornell said...

The ONLY difference between the published writer and the unpublished writer is - the published writer didn't quit. That doesn't mean she didn't doubt, she didn't despair, she didn't run into brick wall after brick wall and she didn't have times when she just couldn't drag a single word from her mind onto the page. It means simply this. In spite of ALL of those things, she didn't quit. To quote one of my favorite movies "Never give up. Never surrender."

Houston A.W. Knight said...

I write...that's what I do. At my worst of times I talk to me twin and to my friend Cecile, both know how to pick me up, give me a kick in me Irish butt and get me moving again.

It is a hard business because so much you can't control and so much of the time they're screaming "We want something different" and when you give them something different...they're afraid to be the first ones to try it in the market place!

It's hard to win with them.


Carla Swafford said...

My friends...especially you, Diane. Hugs.