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.