The power to create a world, solely from the words written by your own mind, is a gift that should never be hidden.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I wanted to quit, but...I don't think I can.

This latest rejection was really hard on me.

REALLY, hard on me.

Since the end of my time trying out for MAE I haven't really written a thing. Ohh, I have put a few words down, a hundred here, another hundred there, but my heart hasn't really been in it. I even spent a few days thinking, this might not be for me, you ran the race. Now it is time to throw in the towel.

Yes, quite writing, drop it, give it up forever. I know that if I decided to do that, then it really would end. I might scribble a bit here and there, perhaps store up some ideas. But my heart would no longer be in it. I am still waffling with that even now. This is not a letter to say either yay, or nay, it is just my thoughts coming out onto your screen.

I love writing, but just loving something isn't enough. You have to work on it, practice it, grow in it. I am not sure I can accomplish this. The problems I have with English are not going to go away so easy, they have been burned into my mind since the first day I learned to write and they will not release their grasp so easily.

For inspiration I go back to a few emails from MAE and look at some of the nice things they say about me. (Yes, there were some in there, mixed in with the ones telling me to get better and try harder.) Here are a few quotes that I had to ask for permission to use.

You have a gift of creating stories in your mind. And that is exactly what it is...a gift. No one can teach that. You were born with that gift, and it is that gift that sets storytellers apart from the rest of us. It is something that is precious and priceless.

Got to admit that is pretty strong stuff there. Unfortunately a gift not used is useless, am I using mine?
The next quote is about how close I really came to being an actual author, a real life one, not an, as seen on TV fake one with really tiny words underneath...

I looked for any way at all that I could take you on board. I want you to be one of our authors, Jamie, because you have the gift. Frankly, most authors don't have it as much as you do. Most authors have to struggle for their next story. I can tell that is not the case for you. They just come to you, effortlessly, and they just keep coming. That's rare. Very rare. Of the more than 750 authors we represent, I could count on one hand the number who are like you. And, to be blunt, I am envious of them and you.

Yep, you like that one right? Me too, but the words that are hard to see are still in there. They want me, but I am not good enough. I know what you are saying, well I know what one person is saying, enough with the pity party. Get on with it, fix it, get writing. Well there is more to it than that, but I will get back to that later.

I went to my direct boss and asked him about just signing you despite all the numbers screaming at me not to do so. David (he's the son of Melodee's original agent and business partner) raised his eyebrow and asked me, "You know that the Board will shit down both legs when we lose that kind of money on just one author for the next 2 years, right?" I told him I did. He then asked, "And you understand that they will probably fire both of us, right?" Again I said yes. David looked at things and finally shrugged. "I know this is going to piss you off, and it's either the best or the worst decision I have ever made, but no."
Even though I am not the best, I am good at making stories. Good enough for someone to go to that length for me. To try and get me through, even though my own skills weren't good enough. That is the part that hurts the most. I came that close, it is much like coming in second in the Olympics...yes you were number two, but no one remembers number two. The conversation goes into detail of what I need to fix and what I can expect if and when I can fix those things. The odds are against me though. Why is this? How can I be so sure?
Well here is a bit from the very first letter I sent when I applied for this possibility. It is from my "Query" to MAE.

I currently am employed in the field of sales and while it pays my bills it offers nothing in the area of growth or satisfaction. I know that I can write and write well; I just need the chance to show it to others so that they too will fall in love with my work.

I started this whole process for the chance to take the reigns of my own future into my hands and change the direction my life was headed. The brief time I did write these assignments, even though very frustrating at times, was wonderful. I was in control. The mistakes were mine and the consequences had to be paid from my own skin. I had some control...then I lost it.

The one thing that is still tripping me up is I went into this all to free up my time. I thought I could get away with being an author 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. Now I am told that IF I can fix my issues, and I get a contract. That is not going to be possible. I would be writing more than 10 hours a day 7 days a week for an unknown amount of time. What free time I did have, would be now spent writing. The whole desire to become a writer so I can spend more time with my family would force me to spend less time with my family. That dog doesn't walk. ( I stole that, only 1 person will truly get it) Then there is the problem of my own health. I am on a down state right now, up will come soon, but the downs force me to remember that at some point in my future I may not be able to work. My memory is bad enough now that I have just started explaining to every customer why I can't remember there name. It is much easier than them looking at me like I am an idiot. My brain just doesn't retain things anymore. On the up side to that, I can re-read my own stories and find them interesting all over again!

So I am trapped, I had hoped writing out my thoughts like this would assist me in making a decision...yet it hasn't. I can't post this online without permission. (Legal issues) so I must only save it as a draft. Should anyone ever be able to read it, you can know that I did not miss quote anything.

In a nutshell, this last quote summarizes my problem...

(1) You have good stories.
(2) I want to sell those stories for you.
(3) Your mechanical skills are such that it takes too long to fix them to make a profit.
(4) Only you can fix #3.

Can I fix number three? Do I even want to? If I can, is now the right time for it? So many questions...


  1. Don't be silly. You can fix number three. The best part is someone has told you what needs to be corrected in order for them to sell your work.

    My first book, I jumped the gun and sent out like 100 queries. Seriously. One agent told me about my tense issue and another about my grammar. I made it a point to study those things and figure out what I was doing wrong.

    When that happened, something writing is ten times cleaner than it used to be.

    Everyone can improve. Quiting because your 'mechanics' aren't up to snuff is just giving up because you don't want to improve. Read books. Grow. And try again. That's what people do.

    And if you to quit, you'll just be annoyed with yourself later. I suspect.

    Oh, and it's 'quit' not quite. These are probably things the editor is talking about and these issues are all about rushing and not slowing down. A little more care and a lot more reading. That's what will bring you along as a writer.

  2. Thought I caught all my "quite's" damn...I would go back and change it but infortunatly I had to ask for permission to post those quotes and with that asking I am not allowed to make changes once that permission has been giving.

    It is a hard struggle for me, I will work to fix the mechanics regardless, I hate being the one making mistakes, really hate it, but do I keep submitting my work? One company has held my hand, followed me through the whole writing proccess, telling me I can create interesting, readable stories, only to say we can't take you...
    It is a rejection on a whole different scale. Yet they want me to resubmit once I think I have the issues fixed, but is it just an issue with fixing me grammar that is hard or is it the issue of my time that is holding me back. It is a constant struggle inside my mind and I don't see a clear path to take.

  3. Yes, you can fix it. Writing... it's a process. It takes time. Everyone finds a different way of making it work for them. The only constant I've seen is: The more you write the better you get.

    You write one book and it's not bad. Maybe you polish it, maybe you publish it, maybe you stuff it under the bed. You write another book after that. And another. And another. And several books into the process you realize the first drafts aren't so horrible. You wonder why on Earth you thought that first book was worthy of your attention. You wonder how much better the next book will be...

    This didn't pan out and that sucks. But... maybe it's the universe's way of saying something better is around the corner. Maybe it's not. In the end, it doesn't matter. If you let yourself quit because of one bump in the road, or one change of direction, you've failed. And you're letting this situation make a failure out of you.

    If you look at it as a growth experience and a dream that didn't pan out, but keep going anyway than it becomes just another class in the hard-knocks of life. You haven't failed, but you have grown and moved on.

    As for grammar... there are beta-readers and critique groups for a reason. Find someone who excels at grammar and let them line edit for you. I bribe my line editors with cookies and scientific dissections of their fantasy creatures (not that he loves that but at least the critters make sense now).


  4. Choosing between making money or writing and not making money for a certain time or never is extremely difficult, as we all have duties and obligations.
    If you are as good as they say, could you have someone beta read and/or edit your work and then resubmit it?
    If you keep getting a "no" for publishing or contract, then you know something isn't right.
    And you could keep your day job while submitting works that are already finished.
    If you decide to 'stop', make it a 'pause' instead. You don't know the future, and we can only bring our best to this life.
    Wishing you much good fortune.

  5. Thanks Liana and Louise,

    A pause is the most likely answer to my problem. They have given me the option to resubmit, when I feel I am ready, with no cut off, or time limit. The problem I guess is I am of the 'I want it right now' generation. I want to be an author, the thought of plodding through the next 5 years with my current job doesn't appeal to me at all. Of course, neither does missing the next 5 years of my children's lives because 'daddy has to write again'. This is one of those situations where there isn't a decision that works for every situation. I will just have to keep thinking about it and waiting, perhaps an answer will come out on its own time.

  6. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get to this. I'd like to say I know what you're going through, but I'm still sitting on my submissions. I'm terrified to try. I get plenty of "Oh yeah, go for it," from people around me, but are they just being nice? Do I really have what it takes to do this for a living. I've yet to see a penny for my writing, and that's all I do now. It is very depressing at times, but getting lost in a story and building characters and worlds is a wonderful escape. I know I will never be a household name, but I love knowing there is a handful of people who have read my work and love it. You should too. Your stories are fascinating. I don't understand why it's so hard for indie writers to reach the higher grounds. I keep telling myself to give it more time, be patient, everyone gets their due. Then there's those days, weeks, that I just want to burn every notebook and delete every file that contains the slightest remnant of my writings. Are we doomed to have these character screaming their stories at us and not be given the chance to share it? Should I settle with my handful of readers? Dare I try for more? Would I survive a rejection? Thus, I've yet to reach for more. I congratulate you for even trying. I admire your bravery. You will achieve more because you are actually trying. You will be heard. You will find your torch bearers.