Grim Determination

I was going to do a Valentine’s Day post but…well…I didn’t. I’ve been too busy hanging on to this writing gig by the skin of my teeth.

I think in my last post I questioned why we do this thing and y’know, for the past few days I’ve been thinking about it. The answer I always come up with is that I love to write. There really isn’t anything I’d rather be doing. But I’m coming to the point where because it’s no longer economically viable for me to write fulltime – hey, whaddya know, I haven’t sold anything yet! – I’m going to have to do something else that actually earns me some cash.

You hear of people who take chances and quit their jobs to write fulltime who then, after years of toil, finally sell and go on to make pots o cash doing what they love. I would love to have been one of those success stories. But I am not. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend 3 years writing fulltime but that time is now coming to an end. And it’s a bummer because I haven’t managed to do what I wanted in that time. My craft has improved out of sight and I am writing better than I’ve ever done. But I haven’t got that all-important sale yet.

I guess no one said it would be easy (three years is NOTHING). My words of warning to aspiring writers everywhere was even in our national paper – here! (yes, fame at last, mwwwwahhhhahaa!). And just because I have to get a ‘real’ job doesn’t mean I should give up – though I have to face facts that I won’t have as much time to write as I used to. Maybe it would even be good for me since I tend to be very obsessive about things I like doing and need to break out of it occasionally.

I am sad it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to though. But never say never. Sometimes even I underestimate my own grim determination to succeed. And that determination is still there. Hanging on by its fingernails, but definitely still there.

Anyone else feeling like they’re hanging on by a thread? Or is that me being waaaaay too dramatic again? πŸ™‚

14 thoughts on “Grim Determination”

  1. Hey Jackie,
    I so hear you. It’s been a rough year for me as well. But you know, whenever I think of quitting, I always remember those call stories where the writer says that they had just about thrown in the towel and then ‘it’ happened. I understand needing to move on and make the $$, but there is always, always time to write-because you do love it. And maybe time focused elsewhere will help. Everything happens for a reason-and maybe you need to detach for a while. I don’t know, who am I do give advice? LOL. I think I thought I was going to give you inspirational advice…but it ended up being depressing! Sorry! πŸ™‚

  2. Victoria – hugs! Yeah, I hear those stories too. I keep thinking that perhaps if I say I’ll throw in the towel, fate might make a move! Sadly I’ve said that a couple of times and nothing has happened. Clearly I haven’t meant it enough. πŸ™‚
    Anyway, no, your advice is welcome and not depressing. Detaching is pretty much what I need to do in fact. Easier said than done eh?

  3. We all gotta eat, and woman cannot live on hot romance novels and Ramen noodles only.

    Look at this as story fodder. It’s not detaching from your writing, it’s Hard Core Research. Office gossip is better than the National Enquirer for stories of lunatics in love and dating drama. Which just goes to show how dedicated you are to your craft.

    Chin up, chica. This is just a paid research gig πŸ˜€ *hug*

  4. Amalie – more’s the pity eh? But I really like the idea of it being a ‘paid research gig’. That’s a really good way of looking at it. And I can do both, right? The hard part is actually finding a damn job though! And also getting past those feelings I’ve failed somehow. Ah well, I need to get over myself probably.

  5. That is a tricky part. I hate job hunting. I think that’s why I did short-term contracts for so long: the agency always placed me somewhere, saved me the effort!

    I’m fixin’ to Pollyanna on you again: companies are always looking for smart, strong, creative types. That’ll make looking for your research gig easier πŸ™‚

  6. Jackie
    This is not The End. You have achieved so much in the last three years and I believe your perseverance and talent will pay off. Maybe a research gig (love it Amalie) will give you a shift in focus and perspective and hopefully the grimness will disappear just leaving determination. It is tough and sometimes I too wonder why on earth I persevere but yet I do…but I do think that taking a step back or a break does not mean you are failing, or giving up. Sorry am now rambling unhelpfully so will stop. Sending hugs. Nina x

  7. Hugs Jackie on having to return to the hamster wheel! One day you will be pubbed and I (along with a host of others) will be the first in the line to buy your books! Caroline x

  8. Amalie – might be an agency for me in that case. I have NO idea what I want to do.

    Nina – no, you’re not being unhelpful at all! Thanks for your belief, m’dear. Means a lot. Anyway, yeah, I’m waiting for the grim part of the equation to disappear but sadly hasn’t yet. Maybe a job will help. πŸ™‚

  9. Hi Jackie – As you know, it took me twenty three years submitting to Harlequin to finally get published, and the first twenty of those years I worked a day job, usually sixty or more hours a week.
    The trick, I discovered while I worked that day job, was to also treat the writing like a job. I always told myself I had two jobs -one was my present, the other my future and I made sure I protected my writing work.
    But don’t despair – this is just a change, that’s all. Not and end, but another beginning. Doors might close, but windows open. And there’s an old saying about busy people being the most productive.
    Take a breath,embrace the change and everything else will fall into place.

  10. That’s tough, Jackie. But you’ll find time. You won’t have a choice but to find time, the muse waits for no one. Even pubbed authors have to keep their day jobs, because the money just isn’t there. It’s life, and it’s damn unfair! I’m sorry it hasn’t happened for you in this time, but as you said, your writing has grown so much that the experience has been invaluable. Now you have the skills and ability to write a book that’ll sell. It’s just a matter of time.

    Madeline x

  11. Helen – you’re an inspiration, you really are. I love that about writing being my future job. I must try and remember that one.

    Madeline – thanks! Yeah, time. And luck. Meh. πŸ™‚

  12. Hey Jackie, I had to go back to my old job as a film journalist three years AFTER I’d sold… I do it part time now as well as the writing gig and personally find it’s a much better balance for me writing-wise (as well as money-wise!). Hope it works for you too. You’re not going to stop writing, which is the important thing.

  13. Heidi – Your job sounds awesome though! Mine – librarian – not so much. If I can even find a job these days and with the economic climate being what it is, I’m not so sure of that either. But you may be right in that a half-and-half combo is what’s needed. And no, not aiming to stop writing quite yet.

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