I’ve had some great discussions with a writer friend of mine recently about who “makes” it as a writer. Of course, one must first define “make it.” Perhaps making it to you means that you give a story that you’ve written to a friend and that friend loves the story. Or maybe, you need that recognition from a professor, an editor, an agent. It is different for everyone, I suppose. For me, making it means being published. I don't even mean that I have to have a huge contract or make millions of dollars. I want to see my name attached to a story that I've written in print.
I have submitted articles and short stories to magazines and journals and I have queried agents for both of my novels but have not yet received that YES that I am seeking. That YES that would make me feel as if I’ve made it. I’ve been wondering if it is worth it to continue writing if I never make it, aka get published. Am I just hobby writer? How does one know?
I often wonder about athletes whose dream it is to play on a professional team. They work really hard in high school and college because it's their dream to play professionally. The may even get on a team only to be cut again and again. What makes them different from the players who make it? Or, what about all of those singers on reality contest shows who are beautiful singers but get eliminated and go nowhere with their gift? Luck I suppose. But at what point do you quit? Is it ever ok to quit?
I do know that what makes those who get published different from
those who don’t is persistence, and probably a little luck. Writers must have
that drive to keep going and some days I think I have it and others, well I
don’t know. My characters call me back to write even on those days that I want
to quit and burn everything I’ve ever written. When I don’t write my mind is
constantly in story mode. Every person is a potential character. Every situation
I encounter is the beginning of a great story.
I know that writing is a part of me but I am tired. I’m tired of falling in love with my stories only to have them rejected. I’m tired of feeling elated when I finally get that story right only to have someone else say, it’s not quite right. Maybe all of this is normal, maybe it’s not.
All I know is that my writing, and my writing friend, won’t let me quit and so I won’t. I joined an online critique site last week called Critique Circle. I have
been having fun reading and critiquing other people's stories. I even put
up one of mine for critique.
I joined this site because I’m at a point where I need help –a point where either I try harder or give up altogether. I am enjoying reading these stories on Critique Circle and feel that by reading others work that I may gain some insight about my own. So far, some of the comments I've received on my story have been very insightful, other comments I will dismiss but either way, these anonymous people have made me think about my story and ultimately have made me want to make it better.
Tomorrow night I am going to a local writer's group to see if I can get feedback there too. My goal is to try just a little longer, to hopefully get better, and maybe have some fun while doing it.
WRITING! I CAN'T QUIT YOU!
Maybe I will have to adjust my expectations and find happiness in trying.
Happy writing my friends……