This is a revised version of a response I shared with someone who was no longer sure they wanted to write with the goal of being published–and wondered if they should continue.
I’m certain all of us “writers yet to be published” have had self-doubts–that’s a normal part of the process, unfortunately. The odds of a creative “making it” are the same as a salmon avoiding being eaten by bears to complete its egg-laying journey: minimal. Still, they’re juuuuuuuuust good enough to keep those with that “I *must* do this!” drive going, and the cycle renewed with relentless optimism, year after year. I am not sure what the answer is for anyone–if they are THAT salmon that will make it.
The frankest/most helpful advice I’ve heard on the subject is from an author who, when asked in a webinar about deciding if it’s worth it, simply said: if you really don’t love that specific kind of work, don’t NEED to do it…don’t. And honestly, they’re right. After all, there is no shame in the form your love of writing takes! Reading is its own lifelong journey, full of rewards!–OR maybe you concentrate on writing, but not on publishing, per se! (which frees you to write only what you want to write!!!) BUT!!!!………
YOU NEED TO CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF.
Writing friend: are you ENJOYING this? Do you love the work you are doing? Does it fill you up–far more than it frustrates you? If you NEVER got published, would you regret the time you spent working on this craft–on these stories? These are sometimes hard questions to answer honestly, but I am certain the answers will point you toward the right path forward. If you love it, love the ways it bends your mind (good and bad), why stop?
You started this journey for a reason, right?
I don’t know what form the voice inside you that kicked off this adventure took–maybe it specifically said, “I want to see my own work mixed in with the books on the bookshelf right here at the library…” Perhaps it was more of a general creative yearning to express yourself. Maybe you just wanted to feel a sense of achievement in a public space. I don’t know the “Your Name, Trying-to-Get-Published ” origin story, but that doesn’t matter–because you do.
As always, your “why” is going to be the key to a satisfying ending. What will it take for you to get your need(s) met?
I wish you happiness, whatever your future holds. Courage!
(Please note: if your overwhelming feeling right now is fatigue, consider that you just might need a break–not necessarily a breakup. It’s easy to get tired of looking at one thing repeatedly. Funnily enough, I find having a stable full of problematic stories can be a great position to be in—because options prevent boredom! 😂 Also, it helps to remember that there is no deadline for this journey–if you need a break, take one! And come back when you are ready. )