Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IWSG: Keep Staring


Or
If I stare at my Inbox long enough...
An agent's offer will appear.
My submission will be accepted.
My CPs will send me the critique.



Sure.  Just keep staring.

We all know what the answer to this is --> "Write something new."


But it's hard to concentrate when you have that burning itch to Go Look.  So you distract yourself by... Going to Facebook!

And everyone's like:  "I just wrote 15k in one day!!"  "I just released a novel!!"  "My editor bought my next three books!!"  "My book hit #9 bestseller on Amazon's Victorian Suspense> Twin Heroines> With Bouffant Hair> And Purple Eyes  list!!" 

Oh, look.  Everyone's doing great except for you.  Time to binge on the ice cream, crawl into bed, and pull the covers over your head.  

But there's something worse than no good news.

There's nothing.  Zip.  Nada.  Because you never asked for a critique.  Because you never sent the query/submission.  Because you got discouraged.  Got busy.  Got fed up.  And stopped trying.

I recently lost a member of my CP group.  A really talented writer.  Because this person couldn't continue to take the sting of rejection while others in the group were getting offers and pubbing.  It makes me SO SAD... But maybe it's a phase and this CP will find their way back to the group.  I really hope so.  But I know one thing for sure -- this person will never get an agent or get pubbed if they just quit.

There's only one sure way to succeed --> "Keep Trying."



Have you known anyone who quit writing?  Did they ever return to it?



This is a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh.  It exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other, blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate.  To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Plus, check out the IWSG Website for lots of helpful info and links.


81 comments:

Andrew Leon said...

Just keep swimming, as Dori would say.
Something like that, anyway.

Lynda R Young said...

I quit writing once... for 10 years. Biggest mistake I ever made.

Donna Hosie said...

Awesome post.

And that list made me LOL!

mooderino said...

It can be demoralising getting rejected over and over, but you're right, you've got to be in it to win it.

mood
Moody Writing

Kate Larkindale said...

Dealing with rejection is hard, but you can't get anywhere if you quit. I've given up writing more times than I can remember now, but somehow something always drags me back to it. And I'm really glad I have gone back now, because if I'd stayed holed up in my room reading other peoples' books and despairing of ever making it, I'd never have published a novel.

Heather Musk said...

Great post Lexa, and it's just the kind of mentality I'm adjusting myself to as the new year gets going.
If I don't keep trying, I'll never know!

T.F. Walsh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T.F. Walsh said...

LOL, that is so me - the cat staring non-stop at my screen, waiting for another sale, improved rankings, another review...hehe Wonderful post and makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one doing that. It's a new year, and I just know it is going to be a wonderful year. I totally agree on never giving up.

Creepy Query Girl said...

True true be true true. I always say you can count on time passing no matter what. It's what you do with it that matters. I've had my share of low and bitter breakfasts these last few years. But the important thing is to always brush yourself off and give it another go. Otherwise we won't get anywhere ever. Great post!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's right - you can't succeed if you quit. Hopefully that person steps up to the plate again.
And that Amazon category is funny. I bet there's a real one that's close as well.

Natalie Aguirre said...

So true, Lexa. I confess that I have considered quitting at time because I have a full time job and this writing and blogging makes life so busy. Like almost every minute must be productive. But when I write, I love it so I continue doing it.

Love your new header BTW.

Cathrina Constantine said...

I almost threw in the towel 2 years ago, and it was right at that point that I finally received an offer. Fate? Rejection is very hard, especially AFTER you have books published. I am that person who procrastinates by hitting every social media site instead of working on what I should be, writing!

Winter Moon said...

I do like your new page banner :)

Sharing your written work takes a certain kind of confidence I think,
and for it to be rejected can make you feel like giving up.
My mother was never published and gave up writing after a few rejections.
She never went back to it and found other things which seemed to
fill the void, but I know she'd love to write again. I hope she does some day.

I'm not confident enough to share my own written work with the world.
Not yet anyway.

Have a lovely day :)

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

In all things one tries, a time of discouragement happens often. I think if a person wants it badly enough, they keep plugging on. It also matters on how one measures success. For some, the act of completion is satisfying, and for others comparison to others can inhibit growth.

Kelly Hashway said...

Giving up is a sure way to find failure. This is a tough industry. We all know that. But we can't succeed if we don't try. It's as simple as that. Giving up means you will NEVER succeed. I couldn't live with that. So, I'll take rejections because they bring me one step closer to that acceptance.

Matthew Keith Reviews said...

VERY good post to share, Lexa. (kudos Alex!) Any author can attest to doing exactly what was described there. And yup, I'm one of the ones that can't help but click on the KDP reports 3x a day... and no matter how many sales it shows I'm always disappointed-- because if there's none, of course I say, "Man, if I just had ONE today, it wouldn't be so bad..." and if there's 243 I'm saying, "Man, it would've been nice to see 250". And yes, if I'm disappointed I turn to Facebook, Twitter, or my blog---all with the intention of saying something or doing something that might help spur sales, but in the end its always the same... I get sucked into the vortex of wasted time that IS Facebook.

There's no better way to spur sales than to give readers more options (write more books) and the sad thing is --as authors-- we all know it! I suppose it's just the 'old fashioned way' of making money, writer-style, and that equates to a 4-letter word that starts with "W" so who in their right mind would want to go about it THAT WAY lol!

Loved the post. And after I'm done browsing your blog some more, maybe making a few more comments, and ... just kidding. Going to go write! Chapter 8--after today, you're history.

Tonja said...

Keep writing is my motto too.

Stephen Hayes said...

Facing rejection is difficult, but I like to think I have a much thicker skin than when I started writing ten years ago.

Annie said...

Amen.

Stephen Tremp said...

Just have to write through it. Its the only thing to do. Its great to have a support group and losing a CP is tough. But change is good and where one door closes, a window opens.

Cherie Reich said...

You can't succeed if you quit. Rejection is still tough, and it never stops, even when the book is published because then readers can reject it (and those hurt worse than any other types of rejection), but there will also be people who love our work and make all the pain worth it. Sorry to hear about the CP quitting, and I hope it's just a phase.

Mina Burrows said...

Hilarious photo! Excellent advice--Keep writing. My motto is keep moving forward. 15K is impressive. Go Girl!

Steven said...

I agree that no news is the worst -- I've been there many times myself. I've seen a number of writers give up and call it quits. Those who genuinely just take a break sometimes gain perspective and come back refreshed and ready to give it their all. I've seen many who become bitter and actually go out of their way to sabotage the efforts of young writers they know who are just getting their start. In the end, I think if you have a dream you need to pursue it to its fullest, even if you reach the point where you feel like you've accomplished what you set out to do and it's time to move on.

DMS said...

Love the photo that goes with the post!

I agree with you that it can be hard to wait- but it is worse if we don't try. It can be scary to try and it does take patience and some thick skin. If we try we are working towards our dreams, and if we don't try we will always wonder!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)
~Jess

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I love that cat's face! I try to focus on what I'm doing, what I can do better etc and not compare myself so much to others. It's not easy but I think it's worth it. :)

Emma Adams said...

That cat is me. I'm trying to cut down on the time I spend just refreshing my inbox/Amazon - I always seem to be waiting on something! And much as I loved Twitter, there are times when watching everyone else get good news can be a bit off-putting!

I've not known anyone quit writing, but when I was at university, it was so frustrating watching people I knew get easily discouraged by negative comments and quit on projects that could have been something great. The important thing to remember about critiques is that they're subjective! My creative writing tutors hated my submissions, yet the parts they criticised were the parts my readers liked the most. Totally subjective!

Chemist Ken said...

I have no clue if I'll ever be published (although getting around to finishing the manuscript would certainly help those odds :) and sometimes I wonder if I'm just kidding myself about the whole business of writing. But no matter how depressed I get, it usually only takes me a day to get back to writing again, because writing is fun.

M Pax said...

I love your header. Is it new? It is, right? Yes, I've known folks who have quit. I just know I won't be one of them. Onward and onward I say. It's a tough business. It really is. The writers road is full of rocks and holes.

shelly said...

So true. When I was in my live group, many came and went for the same reason.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have known people who have given up and few of them come back. It takes a special strength to keep going through the failures.

Munir said...

Sometimes things on Facebook seem like Christmas letters. "We are doing great, are you" kind of thing goes on and on, so don't worry. If you know that you put your heart and soul in your work, something good will happen. Delay does not spell Dismay.

Kim Lajevardi said...

I haven't known anyone who has given on writing specifically, but I've heard reasons from many others who quit "because ...". I myself made a big error in judgement when I dropped out of high school, but since then, and probably because of that, I hate to give up. The sting of not completing what I want seems far more devastating than the challenge of getting through it. Maybe your CP will come back once he/she feels the loss left behind from not doing something they care about.

cleemckenzie said...

No in answer to your question about people giving up. And I didn't know you could write anything with bouffant hair. Maybe that's my problem. Happy 2014! Here's to that uber high Amazon rank!

Christine Rains said...

Perseverance is the key. We need thick skins to survive. I've seen many writers just give up because they got too many rejections. It's hard, really hard some days, but we push forward.

Kimberly said...

I love your new blog header picture! (And just as an FYI, I read your posts - I just forget to come and comment sometimes since I get them by email now!) :)

And, this is an awesome post! I hope your CP will come back too!

Ava Quinn said...

I've thought about quitting a few times, but haven't yet. I hope your cp uses this as a break to recharge rather than throw in the towel.

Your blog header rocks!

A great post.

Leandra Wallace said...

I guess my insecurity of the day is being afraid I'll eventually be that person who quits trying. =/ And I really don't want to be! So I'll just keep at it!

Lara Lacombe said...

Outstanding post--I'm bookmarking this so I can come back and read it when I need a kick in the pants!

Tammy Theriault said...

It sucks to think everyone is succeeding but you when In reality it tis not true. Oh I rhymed!

Cathy Keaton said...

That is a sad story about your former CP. I hope he/she finds their way back someday.

Have I ever known someone who quit writing? Me. I quit many years ago for about a year until I just decided to start writing again on a whim, and I was back in the game. I even nearly quit a second time a little over a year ago, after starting my blog and everything! But, having already gained a writing partner and having support from other writers by that time, it made it so much easier to not go through with it. I'm still alive and kicking, and just shocked at myself!

M.L. Swift said...

I love seeing your headers. So...Egyptian! :)

Never give up; never surrender! Great post, Lexa. One that reminds us to put aside the curiosity and just keep writing. I think it finally killed the cat in the picture. He'd never quit staring long enough to lap up some milk.

M.L. Swift, Writer: The Best is Yet to Come

River Fairchild said...

I think I missed that category about the bouffant hair and purple eyes when I was listing my book...
Love this, Lexa! It's so true. We can't give up, no matter what. I guess that means I have to put down the ice cream now and write something.

Michelle Wallace said...

Quitting? I've only just begun... well, I only started writing in 2011. So technically, I'm still a newbie...

Crystal Collier said...

AH!!! You have a NEW new header!

Ahem. Back to reality here... I have a couple friends who've been CP's and pulled back to face reality rather than write. I can't blame them. Life is easier. Sometimes. Of course, they're keeping the dream--for retirement, I think. I can totally see where someone would get super discouraged though. Heck, I've been there. It's so hard NOT to compare yourself to everyone else, but you can't. We're all unique--like different flavor cheeses. Someone who likes Roquefort may not care for Gouda, and someone who adores Feta may not really like Brie. I think everyone has a niche, we just have to realize our unique journey will be that--unique.

Candilynn Fite said...

So true, Lexa. I hope the CP you mentioned finds her way back. Sometimes, sticking with it is so damn hard, but the only way to fail, is to give up completely.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

You're right. You can't give up. I wrote 300 words today. Now don't laugh. That's good for me. Remember, the turtle finally crosses the finish line. BTW, a great heading on your blog.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Yeah, a lot of people quit and then return to writing once they retire. I've met plenty of them. The sting of rejection hurts, but waiting on uncertainty is futile.

Be well, Lexa.
xoRobyn

LD Masterson said...

I do know someone who quit writing. Me. Several times over the years. Know what the biggest difference is now? You. And all the other friends I've made online. I'm still amazed at how writers support and encourage each other. Back in the old days, there was no Internet or blogs or online support groups. It was like writing in a vacuum. Now there's...this.

Lady Lilith said...

Lol. If I stare at my blog longer, will I get more hits?

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

I'm with LD Masterson. I've quit before too. And when I finally came back to it, there was so much to learn because the market had changed. I was away for nine years! Those friends I started writing with many years ago have quit. They were selling writers but just got tired of racing the deadlines. There are a lot of different reasons one decides to quit. My personal reason wasn't very good. Probably much like your CP. :) Good post. I have a really bad habit of staring ... and staring ... and staring. :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I'm staring every day, lol.

I hope your CP returns. I've been in situations in which people seem to be doing better than me, but we can't compare ourselves to others. All our journeys are vastly different.

Heather Holden said...

LOL, I've definitely fallen prey to staring like that. It's such an easy form of procrastination!

As for your question...I actually quit novel-writing in 2012. (I still write comics, though!) I know I won't return to it since the reason I quit is because I found out I genuinely don't enjoy it. There was also a time where I quit art, but that was because I felt so discouraged about my skills. I returned to art eventually, which makes me think there's hope your CP will return to writing!

Elise Fallson said...

Keep trying--the only way to succeed.
I hope your CP returns too.
Have a great weekend Lexa!

Nana Prah said...

I had just checked my Amazon page right before I hopped onto your blog. Laughing. Giving up never lead to success. Thanks for the laugh and inspiration.

M. J. Joachim said...

Excellent advice! I'm so glad I stopped by today :)

klahanie said...

Hey Lexa,

Good thing Penny didn't see that photo of the cat! :) I come from a totally different angle. I'm under no illusions about my writing or my stats. I just have a bit of fun and then stare at my stats, pretend they are decent and then go to Farcebook and suddenly realise I'm doing a run-on sentence....

Yep, keep going, Lexa.

Gary :)

Catherine Stine said...

It's painful when a talented person gives up. Rarely the right thing to do, but it's such a personal choice. Me? Nah, never. :)

VikLit said...

What excellent advice and what an inspiring post! Thank you for sharing it.

readfaced said...

Once upon a time I let a critique from a group at a conference throw me into a tailspin. That was about 12 years ago. I didn't start writing again until five years ago. Now, I am much better read and a much better writer. I hope your friend will find the same for his / herself.

Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com/ )

Morgan said...

Yes.

Yes, yes, YES.

I don't think there's anything more difficult than continuing to work while you're waiting for a response. Definitely a bad thing when 6 months of a wait can be a minimum. But we HAVE to. We have to learn to keep working. Keep writing. :)

Mina Lobo said...

Obsessing over your Amazon Best Sellers Rank is de rigueur for first-time authors, surely? (Asks the woman who's keeping a spreadsheet documenting said Rank for *her* debut novel.) (Just for a little while.) (I can totally stop anytime I want.)

Melanie said...

Fantastic post! The key is always to keep trying, because one day you'll succeed!

Rhonda Albom said...

Staring and facebook do seem to take up too much of my time, and I am not even finished with my first draft yet. Great advice, wonderfully inspiring post. I was really late with IWSG this month.

Gina Stoneheart said...

The key to success, especially within this industry, is to keep on trying. The publishing industry has changed dramatically over the past five or six years. There is so much more criteria now; even if the writer is actually GOOD at writing! From platforms to branding to actually having a solid piece put together, there is so much work and dedication needed.
We must remember that writing is a passion and if we truly want others to read our stories, then we can't give up. Just keep on writing. And we will have our bad days, filled with lots of procrastination and chocolate, but must pick it back up after we have crawled out of our funk.
I hope your author friend returns to your group.

Liz Fichera said...

OMG, this post. Yes, a thousand times yes. It is so damn easy to get discouraged. You really have to learn mental gymnastics with yourself to stay motivated and keep pushing forward.

E. Arroyo said...

I totally know how that feels. Sometimes I want to quit. I won't ever quit writing, just the whole publishing being "out there" thing. I think that decision is a personal one. If it no longer makes you happy then by all means. Withdraw and find something that does make you happy. I think if your CP truly loves to write she will get back to it. If not, then I hope she does find something that makes her/him happy. =)

Ms Misantropia said...

Your always playing around with the look of your blog - I like it!

I don't know any writers really, and me myself, I only have writing surges every 5 years or so, and in between nothing. Needless to say, I've never really tried to be published... :)

Julie Flanders said...

I had to laugh at the Amazon list. Perfect! I decided to stop checking my rank a while ago because any time I did it made me want to dig a hole and bury myself in it. I'm been struggling to write anything new lately but really need to get back on track, thanks for the inspiration!

Nigel G. Mitchell said...

Yeah, that was me, the one who quit writing. And I'm the one not checking for acceptance emails because I don't submit my writing to publishers. But I do wonder if I have the guts to dive back into the rejection pool, uh, I mean, slush pile again. My addiction is checking my Amazon sales. I check it a couple times a day, hoping to see a sudden rush of hundreds of sales.

Pk Hrezo said...

LOL, this is so funny, Lexa. Not the part about the CP but the Amazon ranking madness. I mean, who ever thought it would be like this. Being a pubbed writer is such a new experience--not letting it distract you from writing a new story. It's tough!!
I bet that CP will find their way back, even if it's to another group. The fact of the matter is, it's truly hard. And I came to the conclusion that it's ok to wallow in the misery for a bit, throw your hands up and give up. Just for a little while. Then it's back to the drawing board with renewed ambition and determination cuz not writing is worse than all those rejections combined. We all have to find our own paths, and sometimes that path is separating ourselves from others' success.

mshatch said...

Oh that's too bad about your CP who quit writing. Maybe they'll come back to it. I've never quit and after a very very long time am soon to see my first book released. If I'd quit this wouldn't be happening.

Jay Noel said...

That stinks, yet understandable. I know plenty of people that quit writing, but every single one of them went back to it. I took a several year hiatus when all that rejection got too much to take.

Cecilia Robert said...

LOVE the new banner, Lexa. :) Hope your year started out great. That cat is So me! LOL

Sometimes it can be quite discouraging as a writer to see everyone getting somewhere. Hope your CP comes back. Maybe she just needs a break. :)


Magaly Guerrero said...

I've known more than one person so give up writing for a reason or another; many because things don't happen fast enough, or as fast as they think it should. I'm an earthy woman... I think things will happen in their own time. We should work hard, enjoy the work, support each other, be happy for the success of our writer friends... And when things get a bit tough, we can always we could always curl up with a bowl of ice cream and someone's #9 bestseller on Amazon's Victorian Suspense> Twin Heroines> With Bouffant Hair> And Purple Eyes list!!" I mean, who can resist bouffant hair and purple eyes? ;-D

Beth said...

Love this. I keep hitting refresh in hopes of a CP's crit as we speak.

Stephsco said...

It's a tough biz. I'm still at the earlier point in the journey and not immune to giving up. Sometimes I think about it, but the drive to see my book published, to meet readers at a signing, and to change a kid's life with my book, I can't let go.

Carol Kilgore said...

Excellent! Never give up.

Georgina Morales said...

You are so right, Lexa. It's really hard to be rejected and read everywhere that others are doing fine. What I keep telling myself is that at least twice as many writers have never published anything at all. So I'm a step ahead, farther than I was two years ago, wiser than 2004 me. Just. Keep. Writing. The best advise ever given. =)

Happy 2014!

Chris said...

Hi Lexa, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

JeffO said...

A little late to the party, but I have to say, as someone who has waded through form rejections and heavy silence, it is definitely hard to take everyone else's good news. "I'm good enough," you say. "My story's good!"

In the end, you're absolutely right, the only way to get there is to keep writing, keep learning, keep knocking on the doors. Great post.

Jocelyn Rish said...

Lexa, I wished you lived down the street from me because I think having coffee with you at least once a week would be a blast. You are so funny and so full of positive energy.