Wednesday, March 03, 2010

999 Blogs on the Wall...

by Annette Dashofy

It has been pointed out to me that this is our 999th blog post at Working Stiffs. Depending on how you count them, it could even be our 1000th. But I like 999 better, if only because it gives me a better title.

Either way, it represents the piece of advice I thought I’d share today. And that is: the only definite way to NOT get published is to quit writing.

This whole writing-revising-querying-submitting-getting rejected carousel can be maddening and extremely frustrating. So much so that I’ve seen many extremely talented writers give up and get off the ride.

At my very first writer’s conference, a top agent spoke and offered a tale of how the normal writing career progresses. You start out getting form rejection letters. Lots of them. Then, as you improve your craft, you start getting a few form rejections letters with a bit of handwritten encouragement at the bottom. Next comes the personalized rejections, which gradually get to be nicer and nicer. “I really love your writing, but…” Fill in the blank. The agent said that these incredibly nice rejections can be the most painful, because by then you’ve been at it so long. And if it’s so darned good and you love it so darned much, why don’t you accept the thing???

And at that point many writers throw up their hands in defeat and give up.

Which is just sad.

I admit at the time I heard this agent speak, I was at the beginning of the journey and still held on to the fantasy that I was the next Stephen King. Okay, okay, you can all stop laughing now.

It’s been a rough winter in many ways. I went through a spell of frustration with the direction my writing career was going. Or not going. I finally understood what drove some of those excellent writers to throw in the towel.

But I’m over it now. I reminded myself of that old bit of advice about the one sure way to NOT get published.

So, like Working Stiffs, I’m hanging in there. I’m revising and then revising the revisions. I’m preparing to get back on the querying-submitting-getting rejected merry-go-round ride.

Nine-hundred ninety-nine (or 1,000) and still going strong.


Martha Reed said...

Hi, Annette.

Great, positive post. I'm with you about never giving up plus I think writing adds something great to your life even if you never get published. It makes you more thoughtful, curious, eager and compassionate. That said, let's all hope for contracts this year!

Annette said...

I don't think I could ever NOT write, Martha. I get too cranky when I don't get my alloted writing time in. It's the whole "putting it out there" thing that can wear on you.

Joyce Tremel said...

Great post, Annette.

I'm right there with you. I've gotten many of those, "I love your writing, but..." rejections. At this point, I'm too stubborn to quit.

Didn't Joe Konrath say something like, "There's a word for a writer who never gives up: published."

Laurie said...

Hi Annette,
Thanks for such great advice! After reading your post, I can see how it could become disheartening for a writer, and tempting to give up. I'm glad that you're not giving up, and instead are continuing the arduous process of submitting queries, etc.:_)

Oh, and I agree, I like the sound of the "999" too.

Jamie Freveletti said...

I couldn't agree more! I just looked back on some early writing. Flashes of good stuff, great premises all, but back then I couldn't seem to sustain the interest for 300+ pages. My first is staying firmly on the shelf-but I enjoyed reading it this week. Was a labor of love, that one. Enjoy the writing now, because once the contract comes you'll still love it, but the "putting it out there" thing you mention definitely beats a louder drum. Now is magic!

Annette said...

Jamie, I think that's part of the reason I keep overloading my plate. I figure right now I don't have a REAL deadine and once the contract and the deadlines come, I won't be able to do so much other stuff.

But I'd sure like to try out life on the other side...

And, Joyce, I do love that quote from Joe.

Laurie, yep, this is what you're in for. ;-)

PatRemick said...

Loved the post today! Great piece of writing advice.

Anonymous said...

Keep at it, Annette!

So true about 'having to write'. I've always written things, in addition to my work documents, and don't think I could ever stop.


Jemi Fraser said...

Good advice! It's all about perseverance isn't it!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Great post, Annette, and I Love the title! For the record, I won't let you quit! You're too good a writer, so don't even think about it!

Carol Silvis said...

Great advice, Annette. Anything is possible as long as you keep trying. Happy writing.

Annette said...

Thanks, everyone. Donnell, you are the poor soul who talked me through the depths of my dispair this winter! Thanks for prodding me through that difficult decision. And thanks for being so good for my sometimes bruised ego.