At what point should you give up writing?
I don't sell a lot of books. I advertise. Nothing. I promote. Nothing. I do blog tours. Nothing. The best success I've had selling books is in person at work or at the local markets. But this method of selling makes for a very long, hard slog if I am to sell twenty-five million copies. I'd need to be Katy Perry just to have one tenth of that number in the one room. And it would take a billion hours to personally talk to every single person.
So, should I give up? Should I give myself a deadline? Should I say, okay I'll finish the series I'm currently writing and then say, if I haven't sold a million copies, then I give up?
We've all heard the phrase never give up on your dreams. We've also heard how hard work pays off. We've read the success stories. Here's a great article on 9 famous people who will inspire you to never give up https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-famous-people-who-will-inspire-you-to-never-give-up
Stephen King was so poor he didn't have a telephone and he received 60 rejections before selling his short story for $35. J. K. Rowling was a single mother on government aid and had to manually type up her manuscripts to send to publishers.
Yet, many successful people are still the exceptions. There are thousands more writers who continue to submit manuscripts, continue to publish, and continue to face a hard slog selling their books. So is it better to fail, than to quit?
Michael Jordon once said, "I have missed 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
I saw the movie Wild the other week. It stars Reese Witherspoon and is based on the book by Cheryl Strayed and is a story of a woman who needed to get her head together so she walked a thousand miles in 94 days. She considered giving up a lot of times. Who wouldn't? At all points in this sort of journey there is a way out. And at some point there is also the road of no return - you've come so far you might as well keep going.
I think there's a huge difference between considering giving up and actually giving up. We should be asking ourselves if what we're doing is worth it? And if we walk away and say "yes it is", then we know not to give up.
Christopher Reeve, whom I loved as Superman, became a quadriplegic. He took a moment every day to acknowledge his situation. "In the morning, I need twenty minutes to cry," he said. "To wake up and make that shift, you know, and just to say, 'This really sucks' to really allow yourself the feeling of loss." And then he would say, "And now forward," and move on with his day. He didn't allow his situation to stop him. He took what he had and tried his best to help others. He never gave up. But then, super heroes don't.
Australian crime thriller author, Michael Robotham made a really great point when I saw him speak at the Sydney writers Festival last year. On writing and giving up he said, "If they banned writing and you hid in a basement to write while people overhead stomped around in the search of writers, then you should keep writing."
And so shall I. I don't begrudge people questioning my commitment. Do it! Bring it on! I dare you to motivate me. By questioning me, you help me to pause and reflect and realise that what I'm doing is worth it TO ME. I have a dream. I have a vision. I have a goal. And I will fail a thousand times rather than give up.
And so I will leave you with this piece of advice. Whatever dream you have, do it as if you are the only person who has the zombie cure and you won't rest until you have saved humanity or died trying.
About the author:
Not one to accept being put into a box, D L Richardson writes speculative fiction for anyone who likes a twist in their tale. She now has six books published and is working on an apocalyptic series and a dystopian novel.
You can check out her more about books at her website www.dlrichardson.com