Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Dream has Died

It’s been a long journey, but I’ve decided to not pursue my writing at all any longer. All my life, I’ve dabbled in writing, to the degree of getting my Bachelor’s in Creative Writing.  It’s fun and I do enjoy it, but this last year and a half has depleted me of the love for it.  I know now that I made a huge mistake. I foolishly got swept up in the desire to be published.  In the past I’ve even tried to lie to myself and say that I was just going to write for myself, but publishing still lingered in my mind.  I don’t believe that writers who are online and participating in social media are truly only writing for themselves.  If that were the case, they wouldn’t be talking to other writers and agents and editors networking.  We all have dreams, but I think it’s important I be honest with myself.

As a teacher, we are taught early on to always provide feedback to our students. This feedback is an integral part of their education allowing them to see where they can improve.  Writers look to agents, editors, publishers, and others for feedback.  They are our teachers. What I have learned in this time is that they will not give feedback the majority of the time. They are busy, which I understand, but I cannot grow as a writer without the feedback.  What I take from no feedback is that my writing might me good, but not good enough. That’s all. This has created self-doubt and a disintegrating love of writing, which I would hate to do to any of my own students. I feel as though my teachers have failed me.

My husband always praises for me for not giving up on my dream, but now I have to disappoint him, and myself, by “quitting”. Though I don’t see it as quitting, I see it as I tried for three solid years (perhaps a few longer), and got nowhere.  Quitting would be stopping after that first rejection letter.  I have received over 200 letters over the years. Now, I know someone will say, but JK Rowling was rejected so many times as were other amazing writers, but those numbers are few in a sea of so many.  Agents like to argue that there are few self-published authors who make it big trying to persuade writers not to go that route. The same can be said for rejection letters, queries, etc. The odds are not in my favor.  I’ve given the odds three years of endlessly rewriting, querying, critiquing, twitter following, checking my email, hoping, crying, hoping again, and ultimately, being let down. All with no feedback from the instructors themselves.

I have met many wonderful people through this process who have been wonderful cheerleaders and even friends. I hope they do not go my route. I hope they achieve what they’re reaching for in a short time. I also hope they continue to trust me with critiquing, editing, and just listening. I’m not quitting on them.

What’s in store for my future? I’d love to say I’m not writing anymore, but that’s incredibly unrealistic. I teach Creative Writing, so I’m still absorbed in that which leads to me writing.  I still may write, but I’m going to shut down for a while. I may go back to dabbling not thinking about genre or word count or goals or agents or editors. But I think that will take time. I won’t be blogging or tweeting; I’m going to focus on my family and jobs. I’m truly sad saying good-bye to this side of me, but the roller coaster must come to a stop.

I thought about self-publishing, but if 200 rejections tell me I’m not good enough, I fear putting my work out there and tarnishing my name. I could create a pseudonym, but let’s be honest…the truth always comes out.  Self-publishing flops would destroy me.

So, a writer I am no more. It’s been an experience, but the dream is dead.

6 comments:

  1. Oh Jamie, I am so sorry to hear that that you are not writing anymore and sorry to hear that you are not tweeting anymore. I really hope you take a little hiatus and come back and share and chat. I find that 140 characters sometimes gives me ideas to wrte a thing or two.

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  2. I'll probably still hang out on twitter for a while, but from a distance. I'm not totally disappearing.

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  3. I am just coming back to blogging after spending the last year slogging through the query wait reject rewrite revise query rewrite process. And somewhere along the way I followed your blog and I come back and this is SOOOOO Depressing. I don't know you of course or how hard it has been (but I am sure I can imagine as it is hard for me too over the past couple years), but please don't give up. Saying you are giving up is like saying you are quitting any bad habit - there is some place in your mind that you don't actually believe it. Would you tell your students to give up? Take a year off, but never say never. Of course, it does all depend on how much you love to write. If you do, then you will still write a little and at some point there will be some spark and you will fall in love again and then all things will fall in to place.

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  4. I'm not going to tell you what to do, this is your own personal decision, but this makes me sad. I always enjoyed reading your blog posts, could relate to a lot of things you have said, and was cheering you on even if you didn't know it.

    At least you're still working in writing though. I am trying to go back to school and get an English degree (when I'm not so sick all the time, I will), so that I can get a job hopefully working with the writing process in other ways as well.

    Being rejected and trying so hard for so long is very frustrating, especially since most of the time, most of us are NOT given (like you said) the critiques and chances to improve enough to be successful. There are so many writers out there and we're undervalued. We're viewed as replaceable.

    I wish you the best in everything.

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  5. EB, I so wish this wasn't happening, I am truly saddened by it. I don't think my husband will let me stop blogging. He thinks that in six months I will get the itch to write again. I may blog a bit from time to time, but writing books, for now, is just not in my future (unless something changes).

    AM, I'm sorry as well. I would never tell my students to give up, but having a dream as a kid is so different than having one as an adult. I would hate to waste another three years chasing a dream and missing valuable time with my children.

    I do appreciate everyone's kind words. I want to be inspired again. I don't want to give up, but for right now, my heart is broken.

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  6. I hope you get the itch. And maybe finish a certain book you started. The darker one. After reading "The First Five Pages" and taking a break, maybe you'll get back into it. :D

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