QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Was Giving Up Ever an Option?

When does one call oneself a writer? There’s a disconnect from reader to writer on how easy/hard it is to write a book. The reaction from people can be strong. Make you question yourself, if you’re cut out for it.

I started writing two years ago. I was watching Julie & Julia, wishing I had the urge to cook something for dinner. I didn’t. We ordered take-out and watched Julie feverishly cook her heart out. It was her tenacity that had me intrigued. She worked at a dead-end job and she knew she wanted something more. Rather than drowning with everyone she jumped.

I took another bite of chicken fried rice and really thought about what I wanted. Her determination gave me motivation to kick my unhappiness out the door. That evening I started a blog. I was going to write every day about my life and what my plans were.

It took me less than two minutes to get frustrated. I wanted to be a writer and yet I couldn’t even think of a blog name? My husband looked at me and said “Why don’t you title it Unedited? After all, it’s all a work in progress.” My husband shaved off my unhappy mood and opened up a window of opportunity.

For months I blogged and wrote. I wrote a ton of crap, thousands of words that brought me happiness. I hadn’t finished a novel but the fact that I was writing meant something to me, more than anything had ever meant.

Characters started talking to me. Writers embraced me. I had only shared the journey with my husband. It was still fresh, just a hobby. What would it take to get me to break out of the barrier I created? When would I call myself a writer?

I read On Writing by Stephen King, the book that changed it all. He gave me the option to call myself a writer. It was when YOU felt it. When YOU accomplished what a writer would.

I needed to write a novel.

It was then I opened up my word document and pantsed my way through my very first (horrible) manuscript. I cried when it was completed. It was that emotional. It was then that I told everyone I was a writer. I was naïve. I thought for sure it would land me an agent and I’d be the next Stephenie Meyer.

It’s all a learning process. Each stage has its ups and downs and every writer knows that patience and perseverance is involved if you want to succeed.

They say NEVER GIVE UP. They don’t say it because they finally made it. They say it because it’s true. You’re supposed to embrace every emotion (the good and the bad).

Ask yourself… as a writer, could you stop writing right now? Could you imagine your life without the characters, without the several notebooks gracing your coffee table filled with your words?

You couldn’t. So was giving up ever an option? Hasn’t it improved your life?

No, I’m not referring to the pile of laundry sitting in the corner, the kids eating frozen pizza for the third straight day in a row, or the cats meowing for attention. Those things do fall to the wayside but the love you feel for writing is more than just a job. It’s a lifestyle.

So are you a writer? Have you made that commitment to yourself? Do you need help jumping on the motivation train?

Here are some tips:

Start a journal – write what you feel. How was your day? Who did you pass? Even the most unsuspecting person can be interesting. When picking up your coffee did you notice anyone in particular? The more you notice your surroundings the more you can relate to your future characters.

Be creative – Are you one who follows a daily routine? If you want to embrace your inner writer do something that makes you think outside the box. I love museums but never go to them. When I make a point to visit them new feelings erupt. New emotions take place. I feel something that might be useful in the future.

Read – Don’t know what genre you want to write in yet? Who cares! Pick up a book. Read the novel and think about why you like the characters. Is it because they relate to you? Because you wish you could stand up to someone? Wish you felt that kind of love. Make notes on why you like those characters. They’ll become useful later.

Write – Prompts are great. They teach you to think for yourself. Create your voice.

Go on. Start to write. Learn the process. Embrace every moment, the good and the bad. After all, giving up was never an option.

Jen Daiker writes humorous women’s fiction, where cupcakes and cocktails are always on the menu. She’s spends way too much time on Twitter and can be found on her blog Unedited.


E. Arroyo said...

Awesome post!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

Great story of how you began writing. Just reading always inspires. On being creative: I think eavesdropping at the gas pump is a gold mine.

Karen Baldwin said...

Hellooooo over here. Great post! Me? Stop writing? Never!

Anonymous said...

So true. Every now and then I consider giving up writing, but I'm the happiest when I'm writing so guess it's not an option. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Amie Borst said...

so great to see you here jen! enjoyed the post!

Julianna said...

I too was inspired by Julie and Julia. I started my blog after seeing it. I feel frustrated with my blog now though because after the initial rush of just sharing I find myself too critical of my own life! Ha! Thank you for your words. I have an idea for a novel and have joined a critique group. I'm not a writer yet, but I will be!

Barbara Watson said...

Yes! The whole 'when do you call yourself a writer?' thing!??! It's hard to know when. But I've made the commitment to write, therefore, I am a writer.

Jolene Perry said...

My husband made this simple comment-you have such a great imagination, why don't you write some of it down? So I did, and now I can't stop:)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great post, Jen! I don't know what I would do if I didn't write...I think life would be pretty miserable.

Unknown said...

E. Arroyo - Thank you!!

Stacy - Excellent place! I've heard fights at the gas pump between couples! You can learn SO many things!

Em-Musing - Fabulous as always!

Kathy - I agree! Best moments are while writing!

Amie- You're a gem!

Julianna - I love knowing I wasn't the only one inspired by that movie! Best of luck with your writing and I do hope you'll let go a little on your blog and just continue to LIVE!

Barbara - Welcome to the writer's club!

Jolene - Your husband is fantastic! Way to snag him!

Sharon - Thank you! You're a brilliant writer, I love getting to read tidbits!

Steena Holmes said...

Good post! Every so often I'll get a rejection that makes me wonder if I'm pursuing the right passion. After having a pity party I'll remind myself that I'm published and it's a journey with twists and turns. These little bouts of self-doubt always seem to make me stronger.

Johanna Garth said...

I loved Julie and Julia, such a great story that it was the source of your initial inspiration.

Thanks for your inspiring piece here at querytracker...something to hold on to on days when doubt starts to creep in.

Nicki Elson said...

The blog world is awesome for giving us writers a place to, you know, write and get some instant feedback. Writing manuscripts is more of a solitary thing until it's ready to be critiqued, so its nice to find a social outlet that involves writing. :)

Christina Lee said...

Very motivational, Jen! :D :D

Marsha Sigman said...

Love this, Jen. We are totally on the same page this week.

Unknown said...

Steena - Pity parties are acceptable!!! *sends Ben & Jerrys* just keep that carton of ice cream in the freezer for emergencies!

Johanna - Writers are a fountain of support and inspiration. We're always here for one another!

Nicki - I agree. Writing can be lonely but the community is a strong one!

Christina - Thank you fabulous!

Marsha - Now that's what I like to hear! Thanks for stopping in!