by Shirley Drew
A couple of weeks ago, I read Kelly Baugh’s post
Give Up.” She talked about her struggles with
writing. "I either
tend to meander, going off on tangents about the scenery and side plots, or under-develop, having played out a scene in my head so many times I
can’t see it from my reader’s point of view." She encourages us to "fight, don't give up." I enjoyed that post because sometimes I do feel like giving up. With a full time job and a life outside of
work, writing doesn’t always make it to the top of my priority list. My plan to
become a freelance travel writer by the time I retire seems improbable. Even
absurd. But Kelly’s post reminded me that we all feel that way now and then.
And when a second career in writing seems improbable to me, I find that reading stories about successful writers who also had improbable beginnings helps me to stop feeling sorry for myself
For example, Emily Dickinson. She was all but ignored while she was alive, having fewer than a dozen poems published out of her almost 1,800 completed works. Okay, maybe that’s not the best example—at least not if you want your writing to be recognized during your lifetime.
But then most Stephen King aficionados know his story. His first book, Carrie, received 30 rejections, so he finally gave up and threw the manuscript in the trash. His wife, Tabitha, fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it, and of course, the rest is history. King has since published 66 novels and nearly two hundred short stories. Total sales for King’s books are estimated to be between 300 and 350 million copies.
And of course Harry Potter fans know about J.K. Rowling’s tough road to success. Before Harry Potter, she was a divorced singled mother on welfare struggling to get by while also attending school and writing a novel. As of 2012, the HP franchise has made her a BILLIONAIRE.
John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, was rejected by 16 publishers. When it was finally published by Doubleday in 1988, the meager 5000 copies quickly sold out. It later became a best-seller for Grisham, and the eventual combined sales was 250 million.
Jack London's success is even more surprising. Though he was an extremely popular and best-selling American author of his time, he received six hundred (yes, 600) rejections before his first story was ever published. He went on to publish 55 books and hundreds of articles in his lifetime, and more have been published posthumously.
So, to reiterate...
Never ever ever give up!