Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Is it Time to Quit?

Radine Trees just wrote a similar post, but I think mine is enough different to go ahead with this one.

Lately I've been reading post from mystery writers who've decided to quit writing or to at least take a break from writing.

Frankly, I'm a bit surprised. I've never felt like that. I've been forced to take a break when family emergenies arose and when I broke my ankle a few years ago, I just couldn't get into the frame of mind to write for a long time.

But to decide I'm not longer going to write just because has never entered my mind--and certainly not for the reasons some of the authors stated. I've listed them here.

1. I'm not making enough money after all the time I've put in.

2. I haven't become famous or received the recognition that I hoped for.

3. I'm retiring and just going to enjoy life.

Though I'd certainly like to be making more money, that has never been my motivation for writing. I write because I just love doing it. I also want to find out what my characters are up to next--and the only way to do that is write the next book.

Oh, my, I don't think I ever aspired to being famous. Of course, my hope has always been that I'd interest some readers who really liked my books--and I've done that. I doubt many readers recognize my name, but I love those readers who've told me they love my books and those who've written wonderful reviews for them.

I've retired from many jobs--teaching in pre-schools and day care centers and my last occupation was owning and operating a licensed care home for developmentally disabled women; hubby and I did this for 23 years. No matter what "job" I had, I always managed to write and get published.

Now the only job I have, besides being a wife, mom, grandma and great grandma, is writing, and I am not ready to give it up. If I did, what would I do? Writing has been a big part of my life since I was a kid.

To the writers out there, have you considered retiring? And if so why?

And to your readers, would you be disappointed if your favorite authors decided to quit writing?

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

My latest books:



Lorelei Bell said...

Marilyn, I've been writing for 40+ years, and have, at times, needed a break. I've got a series, and am ahead of my publisher by 4 books, plus have a mystery and another stand-alone book I'm working on, but at the moment, I'm pausing in writing. I tend to become unfocused at times, and find a break from writing is needed. I've been self-published, but didn't like it. I nearly quit about 8 months back, until I found my current publisher. I can't do it all on my own.

Certainly, it would be nice if you were a house-hold name, but it's not possible unless you have a movie come out, and a great agent. Somewhere along the lines I simply was over-looked by everyone. I can't change that. I'm doing pretty good right now with sales, whereas before I simply couldn't muster sales no matter what. Trying to promote on facebook pages only gets you other writers who are trying to do the same. Somehow my publisher is able to find places that promote your work, tweeting and so forth. I'm not saying I don't promote, but I'm not working as hard (which garnered me very few sales back when I did it myself).

I believe when some of these other writers found that it wasn't all that easy, they had to quit. I, on the other hand, am taking a little time off. I want to be excited about my characters again, but need to be away from them for a while.

Good luck with your writing!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I think a break now and then is absolutely needed. I do that a lot, but usually short breaks. I'm headed to the Public Safety Writers Conference next week, and I won't write while I'm there. I intend to enjoy myself. With my big family, there are lots of occasions for breaks--birthday celebrations, visiting those who live far away, family reunions. Even the sort breaks are refreshing.

Billie Johnson said...

I quit writing when I decided to become a publisher, and I've (mostly) never been sorry. My first novel is painful to look at. The second one is quite a lot better, but I doubt it would make it to OTP's list as it still reeked of NEW WRITER. My third book was a memoir of my late mother-in-law, and I do often think of putting this up on Kindle. My fourth novel, never finished, shows great promise. When I stumble across it from time to time, I am often startled to realize it is my own work. But, it will remain unfinished, unpublished.

I am a publisher, and have been for 17 years. It hasn't always been profitable and definitely not easy, but it is my role. When I think back over the almost 400 books I have published, I am warmed--not by the successes, so much as the ones that likely would never have gotten a slot with a big house.

Years ago, I handed a client, now deceased, a copy of his book--his first sight of it. He was really quiet, then whispered in my ear, "You made my dream come true."

For me, it just doesn't get any better than that!

M.M. Gornell said...

Can't imagine giving up what you love.

Linda Thorne said...

I've only been writing for ten years and I can't understand how anyone can stop once they start. I wrote a blog post on Killer Nashville's BlogSpot on this very subject. The title is "My Writing Curse . . . Ten Years and Counting," and may be posted in the next couple of months. I'll retire someday from my day job (the one that pays the bills), but I can't identify with authors retiring from writing. There's nothing wrong with people doing whatever they want, but I just can't imagine how they can do it. I was sort of cursed in a "blessed" kind of way.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Thanks, folks for chiming in.

Sharon Ervin said...

When writers threaten to quit writing, I encourage them. "Quit, if you can," I say.

I cannot.

Stories incubate inside me. When they are ready to be birthed, I cannot NOT write them. I present them to publishers. If someone wants to produce them, that is good. If not, I am relieved of the responsibility. I do the part of the process assigned to me. Beyond that, I am free.

How about you?

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Ah, Sharon, what a great way of looking at our compelling need to write.