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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Author Insight: Never say die

When you’re feeling defeated and are ready to quit, how do you convince yourself to keep going?

"I remind myself that I'm writing. Writing!!! And I'm lucky to be able to do it."- Elizabeth Scott, author of Grace.

"I don't. My husband, kids and friends do. Without my Circle of Trust I'd be nowhere without a paddle." - Heidi Kling, author of Sea.

"I have people around me who (sometimes literally) kick me in the butt and tell me to suck it up.  A support group that gives you exactly what you need when you need it is invaluable as a writer." - Scott Tracey, author of Witch Eyes.

"I have to stop and think, why am I doing this again? Because I love it, that’s why. Writing gives me joy and I just have remind myself that I’m doing what I love." - Danielle Joseph, author of Indigo Blues.

"Diet Coke, baby! Diet Coke, the soundtracks to Spring Awakening and Glee. My friends and family and my readers and my writing partner and agent and editors and publishers. We all have a tribe; it took me a lifetime to find mine and they keep me from losing my mind. They sort of own me, so I could never quit. They wouldn’t let me." - Margaret Stohl, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"The story itself keeps me in it.  There are secrets in every story I write-- things I don't expect or plot out and so it's like a puzzle.  I can't stop working at it until all the pieces make sense." - Swati Avashti, author of Split.

"I have a self-regulating desire to write; when I get bummed out and quit writing for awhile, inevitably I get grouchy when I'm not writing anything. That always convinces me that this is what I should be doing, no matter what else!" - Karen Kincy, author of Other.

"This is an interesting question to think about.  I'm not big on defeat.  I mean, there are definitely days (or weeks) when things are just not working out and I spend a lot of time lying on my floor and scowling at the ceiling, but I can't say that I've ever really had an impulse to quit.  This is not because I am a secret sparkly unicorn.  I think it's just that I played competitive sports for a really long time, and the main tenet of competitive sports is, even when something is really miserable, that's no reason to stop.  So, because I've run many, many laps, I tend to think of writing like this: there are plenty of times when the process isn't fun, but that doesn't mean it's pointless." - Brenna Yovanoff, author of The Replacement.

"I think of all the time I’ve put into the process of becoming a published author (10 years) and tell myself that I’ve come too far to give up now.  Plus, I have a very vocal support group of friends and family who have talked me down from many (figurative) ledges." - Bree Despain, author of The Dark Divine.

"With writing or with anything that gets so hard it makes me want to quit, the only way to convince myself to keep going to think about how much it would suck to be defeated. If I’m doing something, it’s because I want to do it and wanted to do it for a good reason, so there’s no way I would give up on something I wanted. You can do anything you want to do if you want it bad enough to work hard and sacrifice what you must in order to make it happen." - Courtney Allison Moulton, author of Angelfire.

"I can’t stop myself. I have to write. I have to tell stories. Sometimes I worry that I will run out of them, that I’ll get tired or quit having the ability to tell them and that’s a real fear. But luckily, even when the going is hard and difficult, I find such joy in writing that I have to keep going. It must be how mountain climbers feel when they are slogging up terrible slopes, their bodies exhausted and trembling, and yet they keep going because the pay off is that amazing." - Diana Pharaoh Francis, author of Bitter Night.

"Before I was published, it was pure stubbornness and determination to accomplish what seemed to be the non-accomplishable that kept me going.  These days, I have an agent and editor who connect with my work, so I just think about the fact that they believe in me and let the magnitude of that soak in." - Mindi Scott, author of Freefall.

"This is my job. I think about my bills. :-) Before I was published, I went through periods of despair, like I was wasting my time. But then I remembered how much I really, really wanted it, and that would always get me back at the keyboard." - Diana Peterfreund, author of Rampant.

"It's not so much that I really convince myself to go on as it's that I can't seem to convince myself to stop. I may mope around for a day or two, saying I can't do this, it's never going to work, but not long after that, I wake up with this need to figure out the problem and solve it. I just can't make myself quit---even when I want to, my brain refuses to give up on my stories." - Anastasia Hopcus, author of Shadow Hills.

"I am so lucky to have friends and readers who would have shamed the heck out of me if I had wanted to quit before the book deal. Once I told people I was writing a book, I knew they’d hold me accountable, for better or worse." - Michelle Hodkin, author of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

"This is going to sound silly, but…I wrote freelance for several years before selling a novel.  One day – it was July 7, 2003, to be exact – I had a severe case of self-doubt, wondering if my career would ever go anywhere, wondering if I should seek steady income.  It felt awful, and I quit for the day and went for a long walk.  When I came home, I wrote the date – July 7, 2003 – on a piece of paper and tacked it to my bulletin board.  I promised myself that I’d never doubt myself that strongly again.  Now, whenever I feel down, I think, “This is bad, yes, but it’s no July 7.”  Helps me every time." - Kristin Tubb, author of Selling Hope.

Come back Thursday to find out what the rest of our authors tell themselves when they are feeling down.
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1 comment:

  1. I like these posts a lot! :) Thanks for taking all the time to put these together.

    I want to be a writer so bad, and it is a weekly occurrence for me to get stuck and think about giving up. It is nice to know that all these amazing authors have went through the same thing and do the same things to get through it.