UPDATE: The winner is…bn100!
It seems that every time I turn around someone I know is making the declaration, “I’m going to quit writing. I quit. I’m done with this.” The list goes on and on. Perhaps it is the humidity or that summer seemed to last about three weeks before schools went back in session. We didn’t get any lazy days or time to recover.
A week ago, I celebrated a birthday, and I try to use the night before “my” day to take stock and reflect. Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to purge blatant negativity from my world. No-I don’t have a magic wand but I can turn off, unfollow, and choose to not read things that a.) I cannot change b.) I can’t control c.) I don’t have the energy to engage in anymore.
These are small changes, and I have seen progress. I identify the negatives faster, and I am more decisive about dealing with them. I also am much better at using the stopper, where I ignore and don’t feel that I am missing out by not continuing.
If you follow any form of social media, I am sure that you have seen an author declare they are quitting the business. Some are tired of working and getting nowhere, or putting in the same effort and back-sliding. Others believe that their work is devalued for a variety of reasons, and they can no longer afford to publish. Some are tired of going unnoticed, of not being heard.
I understand their anguish. There have been many days I wonder if anybody cares if I produce another word. I see the lists, and sometimes wonder at those titles. I’ve looked at a royalty statement and felt disappointment. The lure of sitting on the porch and watching the clouds is strong, but I decided to pursue this dream. I decided to try writing romance because I had voices in my head. I would watch a TV show, and then, before I fell asleep, rewrite it. As I drove to work, names, places, and personalities popped into my head. I’d weave these ideas into stories to help me fall asleep at bedtime. I decided to make a concentrated effort to write a manuscript. Of course, that try was a disaster, but I enjoyed the process—the fulfillment of seeing a blank page become full of words that came from my soul, the thrill of finding the perfect adjective to describe an emotion, the joy of creating a scene and knowing that it will make someone smile or cry… I was addicted. I took classes, found mentors, made mistakes and learned from all of them. I rejoiced every time that I typed “The End,” and celebrated every small victory (and some were tiny). I do the same today, six years in.
There have been disasters, heartbreaks, and frustration. In order to succeed, many pieces of the puzzle have to fall together perfectly. I can produce a great story, design an eye-catching cover, and market the hell out of the book, but it might not catch on. Readers are very much like horses being led to water—you can’t make them do anything.
The other lesson I have absorbed is that life is not fair. The world of Publishing is a crapshoot. Readers can be fickle and unreliable. The hot trend today can be dead tomorrow. The editor that loved your book can be without a job overnight. What your Beta Readers praised in your last book doesn’t work for them in this one. It is a topsy-turvy world.
This career isn’t for the weak. I spend time outlining, writing, revising, and worrying about an early draft of a story. I then send it to my trusted editor, and although I know in my heart she is on my side…I dread reading her opinion. I know she is working with me to make this product the best it can be, but with sixteen stories published and four more in the pipeline, it still takes me hours and sometimes days to open up her e-mail. After two rounds of edits, three or four proofreads, plus my final read-through — the book is birthed and ready for public consumption. There are huge parts of my heart, soul and bank account attached to the baby, but now it belongs to the world, and it can be ignored, loved or hated.
And that is hard for writers. We pour so much time and self into each project that when we feel it isn’t getting the proper attention, a part of us wilts. Each time I hear another writer say they are done, a part of me hurts for them, but then I hear another voice that comes from deep inside of me saying, “Keep pushing, keep working… Don’t give up. You can do this. You are doing this.” The voice sounds a little like Vin Diesel. I like to think of it as my Dark Guide — the part of my soul that will keep me upright when my world crumbles, the gritty slice that will fight back until my last breath.
Every morning, I rely on it to make me settle into my chair, to focus on my manuscript, and to do so the next day and the next. Deciding to quit is not easy, but sticking with writing isn’t for the weak.
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About Melanie Jayne/M. Jayne
M. Jayne/Melanie Jayne has the best life. She spends her days chatting with feisty females, waking up to sexy men, eating chocolate and wearing pajamas. Her books predominantly feature characters over the age of thirty-five, facing life head-on. They are woman-positive and advocate empowerment. She writes paranormal romance, The Novus Pack Series, and several contemporary series.
She lives a quiet life on a grain farm in central Indiana with her very patient husband and mastiff, Duncan Keith. She is grateful to all that have helped her with her writing career and in turn, is giving back to new and aspiring writers.
Learn more about Melanie Jayne:
@1MelanieJayne on Twitter
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-jayne ReadMelanieJayne on Instagram