Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

MONDAY MUSINGS: How Much Do You Want It? October 13, 2014

Over the last two years I ‘ve sent over a hundred requests to writers asking if they would participate in my Writer Odyssey Wednesday series. Out of those hundred, I have only had five people say “no” to me. Many of those were because people were on tight deadlines. But one “no” in particular stands out, and I want to share that story today.


When I approached the writer to participate in the series, she was very gracious and explained that I didn’t want her story. Why? Because it did not follow the norm. She wrote one manuscript, queried two agents, and received two offers of representation. She admitted she wasn’t a great example of what really happens in the publishing world. I appreciated the writer’s honesty and it started me thinking about each individual’s commitment to the process.


If you’re on Twitter, you see the announcements every day. Someone signed with an agent or got a book deal. But what you don’t know is how long it took them to get there. Yes, I’ve interviewed some who have had a very easy road, but others have written up to five manuscripts and queried for years before they got those bites.


Which brings me to my thought for today: If you’re struggling, have you ever questioned how much you really want this publishing dream? Have you given yourself a deadline, or a number of books to write before you give up? Or do you never intend to give up? Keep writing until something sparks no matter how long it takes.


I’m in the latter group. Never once did I think I was going to give myself three tries and then I’m out. Maybe it’s because I’m ultra competitive, or because I’ve made my goals known on this blog and I knew you guys would never let me give up. No matter, I think it’s an honest question every writer asks themself at one time or another because it’s easy to get down when things aren’t going well.


In fact, in many of my W.O.W. interviews I have asked, “Did you ever think about giving up on writing dream?” Many have admitted they have been down, and perhaps taken a break, but never entirely given up. Others have flat-out said, “no” because writing is in their blood, and they can’t ever imagine stopping whether they find success or not.


The key thing for me is to think about all the possibilities. There are so many paths available to writers these days. Traditional presses, small presses, digital-first, as well as self-publishing. With all of these options, I think the best thing to wonder is not, “How much do I want it?” but “What am I going to do to make it happen?”


What about you fellow writers? Have you ever stopped and questioned how much you really want that publishing dream? Have you considered each and every avenue to achieve your goal? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.



4 Responses to “MONDAY MUSINGS: How Much Do You Want It?”

  1. I’ve had moments where I’ve been discouraged because I really thought X agent was going to be the one to get my manuscript, but I’ve never considered giving up.

    It’s kind of funny that you posted this today. I went to the Fierce Reads tour last week when it came through St. Louis. Although it was hard to tell for sure, it seemed that even though they had all worked very hard on their first manuscripts, all four authors who were there had sold those first manuscripts. It surprised me that that was the case. Usually when you hear authors speak they talk about their shelved manuscripts and the long journey to publication. It’s probably a fluke that they all happened to get published on their first tries.

    Anyway, one of the authors asked if anyone in the audience was a writer. I was the only one brave enough to raise my hand–something I might not have done a couple of years ago. She asked if I was putting my work out there, and I said I was querying agents. Later, when I went through the book-signing lines, each of the authors asked me how it was going. I told them all I was optimistic, that I had several submissions out there and it was my fourth manuscript. They all kept saying things like, “Hang in there! Sometimes it takes years!” And I said, “I know. I’m not giving up.” Finally, one of them said, “You seem to have your head in the right place.” Then she told me to let her know when I got an agent/a publishing deal. I guess she figured out I didn’t need a pep talk. But I might have a couple of years ago. Now I’m just determined to keep going until I make it happen. So there you have it :).

  2. I’ve never thought about quitting. I’ve questioned why I’m doing this, but never to give it a deadline and not pursue further. I have re thought my path. In other words, what am I going to do to make it happen. I think for me, I’ve been so focused on getting the agent/traditional route, I never gave other avenues a glance. Now, I’m starting to see that those could be a better option, and in fact, be the right path for me. I’m writing my fifth novel now and am querying my fourth novel. I’ve queried twice before and have been on the road to get published for over 5 years. There really is no right or wrong way, it’s opening your eyes to see there is a way.

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