Sunday, December 13, 2009

What We Will Say

Time is an interesting thing.
It passes.
And we will be five or ten years older down the line if we like it or not.
What does this have to do with writing?
Where will we be in 10 years? Because, I promise you this. The time will pass. I used to say to my husband back when he was in graduate school (he chose a long road - 4 years undergrad, 4 years grad and 4 years specialty training) Anyway, I used to say, "Look, you're going to be 35 some day anyway. You might as well be 35 doing what you want to do instead of 35 saying I wish I hadn't given up."
No, that is a miserable place to be.
Right now, sitting here in my office, I am thinking back on the last 8 years of writing and saying the same thing to myself.
What if I had given up at three years in when that agent said my writing was 'familiar' (code for overused, played, not exciting)
What if I had given up at five years in when that editor said there's just no market for historical middle grade
What if I had given up at seven years in when that beta reader said (and I swear this is what she said) why would anyone read this tripe when they could be reading Twilight?
Those times (and many others) were painful and discouraging. I doubted myself and my writing.
But I didn't give up.
And it doesn't really matter how long our journey is. It doesn't matter if you get that contract in two years or if it takes you twelve.
What matters is that when we get to that future place and look back on our lives, we say
I didn't give up, even when I was discouraged.
We say,
I learned something. I made a few friends. I kept writing.
We say,
I did it.
What say you?


L.T. Elliot said...

I say, THANK YOU. I needed this post. I've been in a place of discouragement lately and this post is just what I needed to hear. Thank you, Tess. You're simply wonderful.

Lisa and Laura said...

Gorgeous. Um..and I think I need the phone # for your beta reader. Seriously? Shocking. Just shocking.

Tess said...

LT - so glad, thanks for sharing that. we all feel that way from time to time and it's all about persistence.

LiLa: well, she isn't STILL my beta. And, I was lucky to have two really great beta reads AFTER that one .. but still. rude.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I've been feeling like I'm standing at the station watching my train disappear down the tracks. Your words are what I need to hear. Gotta believe. Gotta stick to it.
Although those examples--OUCH! You deserve three gold stars for not letting those comments derail you.
And I just want to say again thank you for the CD. I love it and plan to put it on when I decorate my tree. :D

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I want to say: "I didn't give up. Even when I made embarrassing mistakes in my quest. Those were just public learning experiences. And now look at me--with my own spot on the shelves!"

Can't wait for that day! I'm happy for you!

btw, I got the package! Thank you so much!

Susan Fields said...

Thanks for the encouraging words, Tess! I gotta admit, I'm getting dangerously close to that twelve year mark (well, okay, maybe just ten, but still), and it does get discouraging. That's why I absolutely love to hear about successes like yours - it is still possible for a new name to make it out there!

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I say: I will fight on, press on and write on.
Great message here today.
~ Wendy

Amy Saia said...

This is very inspiring to read! It's so true that time waits for no one and a person is only hurt when they wait too long for their dreams to come true. My new saying--that I came up with last week--is, Dreams don't have floorboards. Basically, always look up. If you fail, you still are on the right path by just enjoying the journey no matter the outcome. Enjoy what you do, use time to your advantage, and believe good things are coming.

Jackee said...

Beautiful post!

And that beta, she obviously didn't know a good thing when she saw it, another proof being she compared a YA to an MG!

Thanks for the CD, you are so fast.

Linda Kage said...

I think I'll say, Thank you too. Thanks for the inspirational, encouraging post. Thanks for not giving up, so we'll all be blest with your story soon. Thanks for being such a good blogger!

Tess said...

Tricia: you are such a good writer--even in your comments (following that train metaphor all the way through). Impressive. And, you are right to hang in there. Your writing is beautiful -- it just needs to find the right home. It will happen!

Kristen: yes! it will and you have the perfect outlook :)

Susan: You are sooo close, my friend. Can you feel it?

Wendy: yes, well said.

Amy: I like that saying - thanks for sharing it :D

Jackee: yeah, she was a goof head, but it still stung. gotta pick those betas more carefully and be certain they know your genre (that's what I learned from that experience).

Linda: thank you for your kind words - they made me smile :)

Paul Greci said...

Thanks for the encouraging words. There are lots of places to give up along the way. I'm sorry you had such a negative experience w/a beta reader. I had a similar experience. It's amazing how long that kind of stuff can linger.

Tina Lee said...

It is really hard to have perspective on such a large thing as time. And that every word we write moves us forward, even if we erase it.

BTW, thanks for the treats. It was fun to open. You are SOOO generous!!!

Lynnette Labelle said...

Wow! I won!! I won! I won! Yay! Thanks so much!!!! I'll e-mail you my addy.

Actually, I stopped by to let you know that I answered your question on my blog today. Check it out.

Lynnette Labelle

Lynnette Labelle said...

Okay, I was so excited about winning that I forgot to comment about that beta reader. Sheesh! Constructive criticism is one thing, but that's just nasty.

I'm so glad you didn't give up. Totally worth it in the end!

Lynnette Labelle (with two n's)hehehe

Davin Malasarn said...

I once had a writing teacher tell me that the one thing she feared the most was that someone might make it big writing something that the teacher herself was too afraid to write. As long as she was writing what she preferred to write, she was okay with failure. What she wanted to avoid was never having tried.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Good for you! I'm always happy to hear about people who didn't give up, even when others thought they should. It makes the success all the sweeter :)

Patti said...

Great reminder to keep going and not give up even when the road is hard.

Tess said...

Paul: another similarity...

TinaLee: glad you got and liked them :)

LyNNette: sorry for the double n mix up -- I got it now. Yes! you won! and, I'll pop over and see my q&a

Davin: well said - you could do a whole post on that discussion. it's important to think about and remind ourselves of from time to time.

SolvangSherrie: thanks .. it is somehow sweeter, I think.

Patti: yes! never, never give up.

Stephanie said...

Yes yes yes!!!!!! The ones that give up obviously never succeed!!! rejection sucks, no matter where it comes from...but the person who gives up doesn't do what they should and learn form it. I am blown away sometimes when I look back and see where I was, 2, 3, 5 years ago..... We only get better with time!!!

(And thanks so my CD today!!)

Jody Hedlund said...

AWESOME post, Tess! Just the boost of inspiration I needed today! Thank you!

lotusgirl said...

I'm so sorry I missed all the celebrating last week. But oh well. I'm still celebrating for you. I love this post. I laughed out loud when I read the Twilight comment. Hello. Different people like different things. How could anyone call your work tripe? You are so good. You give me hope that one day I will be able to get someone interested in my work.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I really needed this right now! Well said - thank you. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Nice beta reader.

I hope I never give up. I never plan to. And if I ever write anything even remotely like that on my blog, feel free to smack me upside the head.

Crystal said...

A wonderfully INSPIRING post, Tess! Yes, whenever, if ever, I get to that point and can look back, I would like to say I never, never, never gave up my dream, despite the endless revisions, despite the low self-confidence, despite the rejections, etc.

And what that beta reader said to you was just plain nasty & uncalled for! So glad you did NOT let that comment get the best of you . . . what a great example in tenacity for us all! THANK YOU! :)

Tess said...

Stephanie: glad you got it!

Jody: usually you are the one inspiring me :D

lotusgirl: yes, I missed you at the blog party - but life gets busy sometimes. And, as you know - my initial beta was a bad experience, but my subsequent ones were really wonderful ;)

Shannon: really? oh, good!

PJ: It's a deal!

Crystal: you'll never give up - and someday we'll be celebrating your good news, I just know it!

Corey Schwartz said...

Such a great post, Tess!

ElanaJ said...

This is so true. Anything worth doing is usually hard. And long. And filled with potholes. I'm glad you didn't give up.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Oh, my, Tess. An editor, just this fall, said to me, "YA historical fiction doesn't sell." Bah humbug to her. Thank you so much for your post. What if we never dared...?

Jill Kemerer said...

I say, Keep on truckin' on writin'!

Shelli said...

i say - take that!