To Quit or Not to Quit (Shouldn’t be a Question) #atozchallenge

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When I was younger — like, late high school, college and even grad school — I’d fight my tendency to be a writer. (Little did I know the editor gene wouldn’t be fully awakened for awhile yet) I’d vow I was quitting.

But over the years, the time between proclaiming, “I quit!” and returning to my fictional worlds shrunk, to the point that, as a married woman, I barely had the words formed on my lips and had to acknowledge the lack of truth to them.

Some of us are just cursed.

But if you’re not one of them, I get how hard this whole writing-as-a-career thing can be. It’s big. It’s scary. There are a million other books out there, and what feels like ten million other authors. And because we’re writers and we suffer from Inherent Writerly Insecurity, it seems like those ten million other authors are better writers, savvier marketers, smarter networkers; the whole deal.

It is enough to make a peson quit writing, and yes, I’ve had a few authors tell me that after their second or third book, they were done.

Not so fast, I like to tell them. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to tells me that it takes four, five, sometimes six novels before the momentum takes over and you have enough of a back catalog to stimulate organic sales. (Of course, this does NOT excuse the need for good marketing!) No, they don’t have to be a series — although it, of course, helps.

But you need a critical mass.

So don’t give up too fast. In fact, if you can NOT give up, if you can return to those days when you’d write for the sheer love of writing, you’ll be ahead. Write what you love. Write FOR love.

Network with other writers, and seize the marketing opportunities they present to you. Network with other readers. Leave reviews of books you’ve read because you want to.

In short, BE a writer. That doesn’t mean sitting around at home, slaving in front of a piece of parchment as the candle burns down and the tip of the quill goes soft. Not anymore! Being a writer means supporting other authors. Learning craft. Reading. Networking.

And mostly, having fun.

Because if you’re having fun, why contemplate quitting at all?

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1 Comment

  1. Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

    April 20, 2017 7:12 am

    Great post! When I decided to self-publish, I gave myself nine years (until a milestone birthday) to make it work because I knew it would take a while. I’m going into year six, and sales are still slow. However, I feel I’ve learned a lot since I started, and I have so many other stories that still need to be told. I don’t plan to quit no matter where I’m at in 2020.

    Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, Science Fiction/Fantasy Author

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