Any discouraged writers out there? Just read a great interview with crime novelist James Lee Burke. Here is what he wants you to remember:

“Don’t ever quit. Never quit. Never show anybody you’re hurt. Grin and walk through the cannon smoke. It will drive them up the wall. You always stay true to your own principles. You always believe in your gift. God doesn’t make mistakes when he presents someone with a gift like that. It’s there for a reason. Tell the naysayers, those who reject you, to drop dead! Who Cares?” (Excerpt from an interview with Burke in the Writer's Digest magazines, Nov.  Ec. 2011 issue written by Lindsey O'Connor)


I love this guy's attitude!

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Best advice I ever heard on this subject was:  "Don't ever have a good Plan B."


That's what got me last time; I had a good Plan B.  This time I don't have any Plan B and don't want one.

I don't follow.


Rejections happen. They hurt.  You get over it.  The real problem is the slow death.  My idea is to fight back.  Also, don't stop writing.  Writing is where you are happy.  Go there.

Probably doesn't apply to you; you'd know if you went through it.  But to many people it means if the going gets too rough financially or whatever, and you have something you can turn to, you may have no choice.  And they can suck up you time and creativity.  Without a Plan B you have no other option.  It's what you do and are; you go to the end.

The good news, Jed, is that there is life beyond or apart from rejections. Many authors, like myself who faced years of rejections, have found other ways to connect with readers. Indie efforts, coupled with the eBook revolution, have offered an alternative to the traditional model. Now, writers have an options, Plan A., Plan B, or a combination of both. Just keep writing, Jed.

Dan Marlowe once said he was a businessman and his business was selling words.  He would give his customers (editors) whatever they asked for.  And if you weren't selling your product (words) you'd better find some other way to feed your family.  And until you did sell your words it was only a hobby.  

All I meant was--those that devote their life to a calling will succeed; those that don't, or can't for financial reasons or other reasons, won't.      

Some of those who devote their lives to a calling will succeed; the others you never hear of.

I fully believe in what Burke says, but let's not kid ourselves that it's a guarantee of success. It's the lack of what he endorses that guarantees failure.

Dana, I agree with your correction.  I neglected to add "some of" in front of "those."

Will Smith put it this way:

"Don't have a plan B. (Because) It distracts from plan A."

I've always loved that quote.

David DeLee

Fatal Destiny - a Grace deHaviland novel

When I can't write, it is because I have nothing to say.  Then I try to get a point of view.  A positive attitude.  A character and a situation is all you need.  Turn off the lights, close your eyes, and write a sentence.  What is the next sentence?  Who does the character interact with?  Yadda, Yadda.  Pretty soon you have a story.  Writer's block is fear of failure.  Since your writing alone, you can't fail.  All you have to do is don't save it.

I find a great deal of irony in the struggle.

We write because we have to...not to sell books. Yet, if "commercial" success, or being published doesn't come, we become discouraged.

In other words, we become discouraged by something (being published) many many people say wouldn't impact their writing.

Just a curiosity.

Because people don't like us.  We want to be liked.  Sales mean that someone likes us.


A very honest answer.


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