Time to hang it up?

March 9, 2017

This is one of those days where I keep asking myself, “What’s the point?”

For a very long time, I’ve loved writing. When I was a sophomore in high school, I started writing my own stories. My junior year, I made the decision to pursue a creative writing degree. I never looked back.

But let’s face it, there isn’t exactly a huge job market for that. Maybe I could have gone into television or comic books, but they’re not exactly markets you walk into. I’ve struggled at getting anyone’s attention, but it’s been very few and far between.

I’m 36 years old. In June, I’ll be 37. I’ve been actively pursuing the elusive published story for more than half of my life. Not much has come of it.

Sure, I’ve had a few stories accepted. Some even made money. $36 here or there, nothing to write home about. But it was a start, and it was acknowledgement.

It’s been too long since my last one. I’ve sent out a steady stream of short stories, flooding the market with them all at once. I get some very polite, well-written rejection letters that prove the editors have actually read the story. I’ve gotten some (most, actually) that tell me they took one look at my name and tossed it out right away.

Just a few weeks ago, I self-published my first novel. It was exciting! I put a lot of effort into it, especially considering I was 100% responsible for all of it. I’ve advertised in many different ways, begged “friends” to read and review, and spent countless hours promoting it.

I have sold exactly 1 copy.

You didn’t read that wrong. One. Uno. Solo. Ein. A, an, un, une. Okay, you get the point.

Don’t think I’m doing this just to make money. But how frustrating is it to have all those years of schooling, all those late nights of sending stories out, writing, editing, frying my eyeballs from staring at the screen too long, everything I’ve done…and I have one sale to show for it.

No reviews, no sample copies downloaded for free, no clicks on the ads, no likes on Facebook, no anything.

So why? Why should I continue? Why should I finish the short story I’ve been writing these past few days? Why finish the book I’m 3/4ths of the way through writing? Why edit the stack of stories I’ve been hanging onto?

I used to say it was because I love it. But lately, I don’t think I do. Lately, I don’t know what to think, other than to just give it up.

4 Responses to “Time to hang it up?”

  1. sanseilife said

    Yikes! Don’t give up! This blog post kept my attention from start to end… Good luck!

    • mykelen said

      Thanks for the encouragement. Glad some of my writing can keep people interested! I think a lot of editors fail to see that, at least from comments I get on some of my stories.

  2. wynwords said

    It’s hard. When I get tied up inside, sometimes it helps to take a break. Not necessarily a break from writing, but from the type of writing. I started playing around with nonfiction, poetry, essays…. because I am weak at description, I took my boy to the park and sat and wrote description while he played.

    I’ve also come to the point where I sat down and asked myself what I really and truly thought my calling with writing is. It’s not selling and being a professional writer. Although I have made some sales, that’s not what it is for me. It’s the feeling of connection. So I write letters to those I love. I write them little blip stories, even as I work on a novel that’s just for me.

    It might be time not to give up, but to take a rest. Find out what you’re in it for, and if there’s a way to get there without making money from it. See if your Library has a writers group, and if not ask them to start one.

    But don’t give up, don’t give in to the darkness. Just find another way to shine the light. It has helped me tremendously.

    • mykelen said

      Thanks for the words. This might be something I need to do. I have a feeling I’m overwhelming myself, but who knows? Maybe I’m just not doing what I want to do–and don’t know what that is?

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