The Dogged Writer


There’s always a discussion percolating somewhere amongst writers about what it takes to keep on keeping on, particularly for those who’ve been writing for years, have faced more rejections than they care to count, and haven’t seen any money.  There’s the reality of bills, a desire to be a contributing member of the family unit, yet the strong feeling that the current work in progress will be the one that gets the call.  There’s hope while they work on it, and that hope lasts for months – even years.

Until…, yet again, it isn’t the one and they are compelled to put it away.  They think about how hard they worked, and about all that time spent that now seems wasted…,yet, somehow, they move on.  They begin a brand new project and they go through it all over again.  Like that oft repeated phrase; wash, rinse, repeat.  Let’s face it.  The reality of becoming a published writer is daunting.  Remember that old post about the 1%?  Yeah.  1%.  That’s what research showed. I wonder how many writers have tossed in the towel before they should, how many talented, wonderful writers we’ll never know?

I know some who say they won’t ever give up.  They’ve said it’s like breathing to them, and they have to do it.  They are possibly more persistent than I will ever be – I don’t know yet.  I don’t know how thick my skin is because I haven’t earned as many rejections, haven’t experienced the overwhelming chance at success, then had it yanked away.  Some writers have gained an agent, then lost them for a variety of reasons, stemming from an amicable parting of ways, to agents who’ve changed jobs, to agencies closing their doors.  Some writers have had a publisher and a contract and then, somewhere, something just didn’t line up and the book never came to be.  Can you imagine?  They even had a launch date!  That would be a crushing blow.

Would you keep on? Would I?

I can answer for me and that answer is yes.  It would be hard, sure, yet, if I didn’t, I know how I’d feel.  I’d feel like I let myself down.  I would lose the sense of who I’m supposed to be at this juncture in my life, like not finishing one of those races where I would train for months at a time.  Not completing those training runs was out of the question unless I had the flu, a really high fever, or a broken leg.  Wait.  I did have a broken leg and ran a marathon anyway.  It was only when an orthopedist said, “it will break, and then we will then need to insert a steel rod to fix it,”  that I became convinced I had to lay off running and let my leg heal.  (In my own defense, if you can believe this, I didn’t know it was broken – until a lump formed mid shin.  I guess I just got used to the pain.)

Crazy?  Maybe.  I prefer to think I’m dogged.  Here’s another example of that “doggedness.”  One morning I fell coming down the stairs, just before one of those important training runs (a long one – 18 miles) and my husband immediately said, “Don’t run. You just fell.” I looked at him like he’d lost his mind. I said, “it’s my elbows that hurt, not my feet.”  And I ran, banged up, bruised elbows and all.

What will it take to stop me from writing?  I can’t begin to guess.  I only know  I will continue to do it – until.  Until what?  Until I’m published.  It’s that straight forward. If this next WIP doesn’t sell, then I’ll write another, and another, and another.  Until something does.  And then?  Well, what a lot of people don’t know (I didn’t for a long time) is staying published is harder than getting published.  I guess that means I’ll turn into someone hell bent on staying published, and whatever that entails.

Dogged writer that I am, I’m in this for the long haul…, how about you?

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3 Comments

Four years ago I lost close to a hundred pounds, got down to a single-number size unimaginable for a lifetime. As difficult as losing the weight was, staying slim is harder but, as I have learned, not impossible. It’s trusting in the plan. Writing is like that. Trusting in the plan.

I believe that in any endeavor as long as you do what you are supposed to do, learn what you are supposed to learn, and humbly implement every means possible to succeed, you will succeed…maybe.

Dreams are just hopes sprinkled with maybes.

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    A plan. I like having a plan. 🙂

    I think what you did (losing the weight) shows you have as much determination as is required for the long haul. Even aside from that, you’ve also persevered through other writerly/publishing dilemmas – there’s a story you shared on a couple other blogs about a publishing possibility that I believe went by the wayside for a variety of reasons. Yet, you kept on, and here you are today with loads of writing/publishing credits.

    Sometimes a dream gets the most important sprinkle = yes. Therefore, we dream/hope. What a vicious circle. LOL!

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      The publishing dilemma you mention was many years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t regret my youthful belief that there is always tomorrow. The scene in Field of Dreams when Burt Lancaster speaks of his ball playing dream brushing past like a fly…and not knowing that it might have been his only chance…that was then, Now, I’m making my own chances. And you know what, it’s better this way. My life, my terms. Second chances do come if you hang in long enough.

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