Friday, March 30, 2007

8 Reasons to Quit Writing

Poll a hundred struggling or newbie writers and ask each what is holding them back from the writing success they long for, and you will get a variety of answers. For example:

#1. I'm too old. I should have started writing and submitting while I was young and still had children in my home to observe everyday. At my age I will never live to see my work published. The most I could hope for would be a posthumous success.
Don't be silly. Many published children's writers didn't begin writing and submitting until after their children left home. Age shouldn't be a deterrent to writing. Publishers don't ask you to put your age on your manuscript. And they don't ask you to submit a photo with your manuscript either. Your wrinkles are your little secret until you get published and your photo is on the book cover.

#2. I can't find the time to write with a home to clean and children to care for. I can't write with all the interruptions and things that require my attention each and every day.
Many writers write in little snatches of time they glean from their busy schedules. Some write while the children nap, in doctor waiting rooms, while the family sleeps, when they wait on the phone on hold, etc. Others schedule specific time in each day specifically for writing by setting the alarm clock for an hour earlier or staying up an hour later. Ten minutes here and five minutes there will eventually add up to a complete manuscript.

#3. I'm afraid of rejection. I couldn't face it if an editor rejected my work, I would be devastated.
We all feel that way in the beginning. Actually, rejection is a little easier when you don't have to take it face to face. Eventually we come to recognize that if we have done our homework the rejection isn't about our work so much as it is about the timing and choosing the right publisher.

#4. I can't afford to be a writer. All those supplies and postage stamps would put me in the poor house.
Good planning can help with that. Some publishers will accept submissions electronically and that means no stamps, paper or envelopes! To save ink don't print everything be selective. Research publishers and don't waste stamps and envelopes submitting to inappropriate publishers.

#5. I don't have a college education and I can't afford to take one of those expensive writing courses.
If you can read there are resources galore that will help you learn to write. Check with your library. There are also inexpensive writing courses online. Take some night school classes in writing. Join online or local writing groups and ask questions of others.

#6. My family and friends think it is a foolish dream and I should quit kidding myself. I can't write well enough to get published.
Don't let family and friends take away your dreams. They are not the best judge of your talent. Don't ask family and friends to read your work until after it is published. Some of my biggest critics in the beginning are now my greatest supporters.

#7. I have to work to earn a living. When am I going to have time to write a book?
If it really matters you will make the time. Write before work, at break, at lunch, and after work. Set aside some time on weekends. Few children's writers start out independently wealthy. Most have to support themselves with regular jobs.

#8. I love to write but I'm no Dr Seuss or JK Rowling. What chance have I got?
As far as I know there was only one Dr. Seuss and there is only one JK Rowling. Each of us is unique with our own unique writing style and perspective. Write the best story you are capable of writing, get the help of a critique group, and when you can't improve it anymore, submit it. Let an editor discover just how talented you really are!
(c) 2007 Sharon A. Soffe


sylvia c. said...

These are great.

Thanks for sharing!

Sylvia C.

Maxine said...

This was helpful and encouraging. I have been going through a down time with respect to what I am trying to accomplish here, so I needed this little push. Thanks!

Sean Lindsay said...


Have you read 101 Reasons to Stop Writing? I take a slightly different approach.