Wednesday, October 17, 2012

On Giving Up

My mom just told me "I hope someday you realize there's more [other than writing] you could be doing." What, because I'm 22 and working at a pizza place, so obviously I'll never be published? She also is under the impression that I became set on being an author at 16 or 17 instead of at age 8.

I started the conversation by telling her excitedly that I had finally decided to shelve my first novel (which I first conceived of when I was 14, and spent the whole summer typing on the computer, and my mom told me to stop and go play outside many times, telling me there was more to do on a bright, sunny day than write. Really. She got 16 or 17 from that? Super long sentence interruption!) and start a completely unrelated one. She basically told me that she wished me luck, but didn't believe I was going to be published. She said if I don't get published in the next two years, maybe I'll consider doing something more worthwhile.

She wants me to give up.

When I was in high school, I had the privilege of speaking with Rilla Askew, author or Fire in Beulah. She told me that throughout a writer's life (especially before being published) you have to grow a tough skin, because you'll get a lot of criticism. To make it you have to bear it and keep going. You have to be committed to never giving up.

Could I have gone to college, gotten a career, and still become an author? Sure. It would have taken a lot longer, and been a lot harder to write under those conditions. I'm perfectly happy working a "crappy" job (I actually like it. Low stress, nice people) and writing in my still-ample free time. And pretty soon my husband is going to get a degree and become a teacher, and I won't even need to work. Hopefully I beat him to starting my career (as an author), but if I don't, no worries.

Because I won't quit if things get a little difficult. I made my commitment to this long ago, and I'm going to see it through. I'll never give it up.

What depressing, hurtful thing has someone told you lately? How did you react?


  1. I've been told my writing doesn't measure up to the standards of everyone else. But I wonder whose measuring stick they compare my writing to?

    Writing a book is hard work. It's more than storytelling. But I love it and one day, I can say it was worth every minute spent on writing. It's the "NEXT GREAT BOOK" written by...Talynn Lynn!!

    You go girl. Don't EVER give up. I'm rooting for you:)

    1. Whatever level your writing is at currently, you can get it higher. You just have to use available resources, be that critique partners, books, online lectures, and time. I think you'll write a great book some day.

  2. I decided to be a writer at the age of 40 (six months ago). I've always written, but it took me that long to figure out that it's what I want to do for a career. So I quit my job and am writing full time with the goal of completing something worth publishing in a year. I'm old enough that no one tells me what to do, but there's a lot of dismissal of writing as a silly dream instead of a career choice. The only regret I have is that I didn't make the choice earlier and start pursuing it when I was 20. I envy you.

    1. That takes guts. And obviously you have enough faith in your writing ability that it's more than just a silly dream. But as Ink said in her Wednesday blog post, nothing is a waste if it helped you become the person you want to be. I'm sure becoming financially stable didn't hurt.

  3. To paraphrase Churchill, "Never give in!" It doesn't matter what other people think. If it's your passion, you follow it. That's the only way to live, in my humble opinion ;)