The Insecure Writers' Support Group question for the month of June is: Did you ever say "I quit?" If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?
My nearly 70-book career started back in the '80s, so I've been through just about every up and down in the Romance genre from the first bodice being torn to fifty shades of awful writing. You'd think my skin would be thick enough to upholster a city bus seat after all this time, but time and numbers isn't always a magic bullet to ward off discouragement.
For my first ten years, I'd written 33 novels without a break in multi-book contracts from three major New York publishers. Then, at the end of the '90s, publishing was hit with a decimating midlist crisis. Only seasoned bestsellers and newcomers who'd work for next to nothing could get a contract as lines folded and wholesalers disappeared. And long-producing authors like myself got the "CALL" . . . not the good kind. My agent delivered the news that my publisher wasn't offering a new contract, and, along with THAT news, she suggested we part company and wished me luck. For months, I didn't tell anyone, not even my super supportive critique group, too embarrassed, too stunned, too ashamed that I'd failed as a writer. Better to just slink away. A non-earner for the first time since my children were born, I applied for a 9-to-5 and was hired the next day. I went out to buy proper work clothes, figuring that was that. I'd given my dream a shot, had a good trajectory, but ultimately, missed the mark.
Those who know me, can probably hear me saying, "Waah, waah, waah! Get over it and get on with it!" which is exactly what my critique group said. Not that I wanted to hear it, but they finally got me to listen to my own advice. I started back with cautious baby steps with a small paranormal press and was soon selling again to one of my old New York houses. Then contracting again with a former editor's assistant who'd landed a new job with another publisher.
When self-publishing cut the legs out from under New York, and midlist took another tumble, it was hard, frustrating, and yes, tear-inducing to move forward, but my friends and readers helped my creative ego rally. I mean I was already working full-time so, why not? Why not take a chance on those dreams that continue to define me, even though no longer financially support me? What else could coax me to get up at 4:30 every morning? Only something I love.
So, on a parting note (snort!), here's my take on disappointment, if I could disco-skate . . .
Happy writing. Reach for those dreams. And while you're at it, visit my fellow IWSG pals listed below to see how they bounced back from writing a final The End.
And as a parting gift on the Wild Side, I'll be posting Thursday, June 8th as part of a week-long Facebook Event, as one of the Romance Writers Gone Wild for fun, books galore and some awesome giveaways!
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.
The awesome co-hosts for the June 7th posting of the IWSG will be JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Twitter hashtag is #IWSG