Thursday, February 11, 2010

Should You Give Up Writing?

Missy, here. If you're like me, you've probably had those moments where you've considered giving up on your publishing dream. Maybe you got a terrible contest entry back with scathing comments. Or you got a form rejection letter. Or a critique group shredded your baby into a zillion pieces. Before selling my first book, I hit the point of quitting several times. Especially when my family questioned the money and time I was spending on pursuing my dream.
So when I saw a link to Vicki Hinze's blog post titled My Very Best Writing Advice, and she mentioned the blog was about giving up, I was intrigued. It's a great article I hope you'll go read. Then I hope you'll hop back here to talk about it. Let me know if you agree. Or if you disagree. And if you're at the point of quitting, please let us know so we can encourage you. To read Vicki's post, click here.


  1. Morning, Missy....

    What a great article. And I have to say I agree with the advice. I don't know what the people in my head would do if I quit writing. I have thought about it.
    I have wondered what it would be like not to have a story going on my computer, running through my head.
    It seems impossible to imagine.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Now, I'm back to editing that book I'm writing, because I have another one I want to start on.
    Guess that means I'm a writer.

  2. Lindi, I know how you feel. I can't imagine truly giving up writing--although I at one time nearly gave up on trying to publish. I always feel better when I'm writing, especially when I'm working on a first draft. Creating makes me happy!

  3. Hi Missy:

    I must say I totally disagree with Vicki’s post on being a writer. It’s an example of ‘digital thinking’ – that is, the light bulb is either on or it is off.

    I would say that James Michener was a writer long before he ever wrote his first book. Some people are natural born writers whether they ever write a book or not. Then there are authors who are not writers but who sell lots of books. I’m thinking of Dr. Oz who uses co-authors to write the books for him based on his ideas. Dr. Oz legitimately should still get credit as an author even if he never wrote a word.

    There are people who are not writers but who have one book in them. Should we tell them not to write that book? There are writers who refuse to write the kind of books that will ever sell. Should we tell them to stop -- if they are content and their writing brings them enjoyment and brings no harm to anyone else?

    Then there are writers who hate writing. I remember an interview with Mickey Spillane in which he said he hated to write. He would put off writing as long as he could and when he ran out of money he would write another mystery in three weeks. Mickey was a guy who could quit writing with ease -- if he didn't need the money. Was he a real writer? He sold a lot of books and I’ve read most of them.

    Who’s to say who’s a writer? Who’s to say you’re not a writer if you can’t make a decent living writing?

    Maybe a writer is as a writer does.

    If you can walk away and never write again, that’s your right. But think of A. J. Cronin who threw his only manuscript in the trash and walked away from writing only to find that a farmer had retrieved the manuscript, liked it, and convinced Cronin to submit it to a publisher.

    When to give up a dream is hard to quantify. Perhaps the rule should be: “You’ll know the truth in your heart and to that truth you should be faithful.”


  4. Very good points, Vince! I love how you always look at things from many different angles.

    I think it might be helpful for us to separate out being a writer from pursuing publishing. Decide if you're a writer. Then decide whether or not you'll pursue publication.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Perfect advice for this week, Missy. Much needed.