Jan 22, 2008

a writing quotation about “keeping going”

Do you ever feel empty of writing ideas or motivation? I’m sure you do – I’m sure even Stephen King or Margaret Atwood sometimes feels empty. At least I hope they do, because then I wouldn’t feel so bad.

Today, I need a writing quotation about keeping going despite all these rejections and silences from editors and publishers. Today, I’m discouraged (but the day isn’t over! I have this thin streak of hope and expectation that Today, I Could Get an Assignment). But how do writers keep going after so many rejections?

Writing quotation: “The fact is that blank pages inspire me with terror,” says Margaret Atwood. “What will I put on them? Will it be good enough? Will I have to throw it out?”

Writing tip: Well, that’s not really lack of writing motivation. That’s fear of failure, or fear of revision. It’s a good writing quotation, but it’s not what I’m looking for.

Let’s try again.

Writing quotation: “I got so discouraged, I almost stopped writing. It was my 12-year-old son who changed my mind when he said to me, “Mother, you’ve been very cross and edgy with us and we notice you haven’t been writing. We wish you’d go back to the typewriter,” said Madeleine L’Engle. “That did a lot of good for my false guilts about spending so much time writing. At that point, I acknowledged that I am a writer and even if I were never published again, that’s what I am.”

Writing tip: Take Madeleine L’Engle’s writing advice and let go of your publishing expectations. Instead, just be a writer. (That doesn’t really work for me because my goal is to be able to support myself with my writing. For me, what helps is to keep focused on my ideas and plans despite fear of rejection and failure. I get discouraged when I’m bopping from one idea to another, one project to another – I can get too scattered and that makes me feel discouraged. So, I need to focus on one goal for the next hour: sending out 3 queries. Fine.)

One last writing quotation: Gloria Steinem said, “I do not like to write. I like to have written.”

The only way to enjoy having written is to…write.

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