Writing Isn’t for Quitters

i-wont-quitThis week on the The Ball, we’re all reminiscing about a time in our publishing journeys when we wanted to throw in the towel. But here’s the thing: I never had a time when I thought I might quit writing. I had depressing moments when I thought maybe I was the worst writer. Ever. In the history of time and space.

But I always knew that I would write. And I knew that I would write stories and essay and books, even if no one ever wanted to publish them, because writing is what I do. I know a lot of writers who wax poetic about how it fulfills them, or it’s their life’s great passion, or creating is the same as breathing. But honestly, I just like to do it. And when I don’t do it, I’m kind of a bitch.

I wasn’t always sure that I would get a book published, though. The first novel I wrote went through a series of rejections, and about six months into the submissions process, I had to open myself up to the possibility that it was not going to be picked up. That was a pretty low blow to my writer self-esteem (which is generally in a fragile state, anyway).

But I didn’t give up. I wrote another book and started searching for a new agent that would be a better fit for me. She read the manuscript overnight and called me and told me that this was The Call. The one that would change my life. And she was right. And that’s when I had the opposite feeling of When I Thought I Might Quit. That was When I Thought I Just Might Succeed at this getting a book published thing.

And that’s why, if you’re a writer, you shouldn’t ever throw in the towel. Because that moment is still out there, waiting for you. You just have to reach it.

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Colleen Oakley is the author of BEFORE I GO (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, Jan. 2015), a love story. A former editor for Marie Claire and Women's Health & Fitness, she's now an Atlanta-based freelance writer. Find out more at colleenoakley.com.

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This article has 3 Comments

  1. I have been to that brink so many times, too. But writing keeps pulling me back. The world just makes more sense when I’m making things up.

  2. I love writing, and love writing fiction especially — getting lost in a story, letting the characters lead you to unexpected places, seeing a finished book and knowing you wrote every single word…so much fun 🙂

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