IWSG 85: Reasons To Keep Writing


This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



Pat Garcia | Victoria Marie Lees | Louise – Fundy Blue


What would make you quit writing?

Let’s break this down as a spectrum. On one end, what would stop me from finishing a project; on the other end, what would stop me from ever writing again.

What would stop me from finishing a project?

Painted myself into a corner. Preventable if I’d outline first.

Lack of story structure. Most likely, it would need a complete rewrite. Or a dissection, rearrange, and rebuild using a new outline or general plan to increase tension until the climax.

Lack of connection with characters/story not compelling: Revisit characters and their ability to connect with readers. Ask questions like: are my characters interesting, flawed, vulnerable, proactive?

It comes down to one thing: unless there is a fundamental flaw (think broken foundation) within the project, most stories can be fixed. It completely depends on how much effort you want to put into your project.

Now you understand why so many say you’ve got to love the project. You’ve got to be excited about it to the point of no return. Because this is just the beginning.

After signing a contract, you’ve got to go through rounds and rounds of edits and polishing. Attitude is everything. You’ll want them to be thrilled to work with you again.

What would stop me from trying to sell a project?

Rejections. Rejection. Rejection.

Nope, that’s not it.

Form Rejections can mean you need to revise your query, synopsis, and pages. Unfortunately, editors/agents have too many reasons to stop reading submissions. This equals a form rejection, or worse, crickets.

Rejection with feedback is another animal. It means the query was successful. Take it to heart that any advice that is offered can possibility get you published with that sole agent/editor, however, you need to decide if what they ask for compromises what you’ve envisioned. Then it’s up to you, and it will be a hard decision.

Rejection based sales is a hard fact. Agent/editor says: That the market is too saturated. No one can categorize the work’s genre, so where do you sell it? Another example and it’s a huge one is a broken foundation.  What if you wrote a ChicLit, but your readers found it offense to women.

If you get more than fifty rejections or more, ask yourself: Is this story great? Brilliant? Outstanding? Does it fit in with all the other published bestsellers? Can it be fixed? If the answer is no, it might be wise to move on and write a better, more brilliant book and try again.

What would make me stop writing for good?

This is very personal. Nothing would stop me from writing—evah! Is there a possibility I’ll quit submitting? That’s a maybe.

Honestly, each time I submit, it takes longer and longer to build myself up and get to it. One day, I suspect, I won’t be able to.

But I’ll always write. Like you, it’s in my blood.

Why to writers fail?

They get tired. We all know this industry is hard on the ego. Frustrations with the constant upping of ability, and the hard fact that if we do master the craft, there is a long road of rejection in front of us.

Some get energized by counting their rejections. My suggestion is be one of them. At least they are happy knowing that they are one step closer to success.

Why I haven’t quit yet?

“A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.”

Quote from George M. Moore, Jr.

Each time I submit, it takes longer and longer to try again. I tell myself I’m still in the game as long as I keep trying. I don’t know if it’s a big honking lie, but it gets me through my day.

What about you… What do you tell yourself to keep going?

Gleaned from:

68 responses to “IWSG 85: Reasons To Keep Writing

  1. Hi,
    I believe any writer that is walking in success started out failing. It’s inevitable. Something you can’t avoid. Look at history, the people who made it are the people who didn’t give up. They refused to look at their rejections regardless of whether that rejection dealt with their age, their economical situations, their health, or whatever else we can think of that could hold them back. They found hope and courage to keep going. People like Helen Keller, Stevie Wonder, or Jackie Robinson, and I could name many more never quit. Their vision kept them going.
    Shalom aleichem
    Pat Garcia

  2. spunkonastick

    You do have to be excited about what you are writing because if you aren’t, your readers certainly won’t be. And that same excitement has to be shared by your publisher.

  3. Emily Dickinson quit submitting but never quit writing. She stayed true to her vision of poetry. We can thank her sister who believed in her that we have her poetry. I think Diane is right: we must be on fire for what we write. 🙂

  4. Yes, you must stay excited about what you’re writing given the number of revisions it’ll go through. I could see myself writing but not thinking of trying to get published one day. That’s okay with me because I enjoy the process.

  5. Love that quote by Moore! Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

  6. I like the way you’ve broken this down into different kinds of “quitting.” For most of us, I think it’s impossible to quit writing entirely. But to quit on the business side of writing, or to give up on one specific project… that’s a different matter.

  7. An excellent way to break down this question. Those rejections are the hardest, aren’t they? And yet they can be instructive.

  8. Such a thoughtful answer – excellent breakdown. This industry is a tough one. It’s difficult at every step of the process and no matter the path. But there are also so many moments of joy

  9. Another IWSG post today pointed out that writing and publishing are two different beasts that have different reasons for why you might stop.

  10. I totally agree with you. Writing and publishing your stories (either self-publishing or submitting to a publisher) are two unconnected activities. When you write, you give voice to the stories and characters in your head. It comes from deep within. You don’t even have to put words to paper. You can just make up stories in your mind. It is organic. The stories are there and they want to be told.
    On the other hand, when you self-publish or submit to a publisher, you want your stories to be read and appreciated by someone else. That needs a totally different mindset.
    Personally, I’ve already stopped submitting anywhere (almost) and I rarely self-publish. But I keep coming up with new ideas for stories and I want to write them down, to challenge myself with the mysteries and rules of the English language. So I do. I write. I edit.
    Will I publish my new story? Maybe. Probably on wattpad. But even that is not certain. Will I write another story? Oh, yes! It is already shimmering in my head, striving to be told.

  11. Loni Townsend

    Interesting reflections. Before your post, I hadn’t really thought about rejection as a potential show stopper. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I never went the traditional route. I didn’t want anyone else’s opinion to stop me from writing.

  12. Lovely post Anna. I like how yo break it down into the creative aspect and the marketing side 🙂

  13. Michelle Wallace

    If you enjoy writing can you really quit? I don’t think so. You may have phases, where you don’t write much; but eventually you will find your way back to the blank page.
    And I’m talking about writing for the sheer pleasure of writing, and possibly publishing something along the way.
    Then there’s writing to pay the bills – that’s a different story.

  14. Staying excited about your project is key. Especially when it comes to pushing it out there during the submission process. I’ve kept all my rejection letters/emails. When I get burnt out on writing for money (clients) I revisit the work of others who inspired me in the first place. Great post.

  15. I’ve got rejections dated back to 1989. I could wallpaper my ensuite in rejection letters. Too bad they were written on coloured paper, eh? Happy IWSG day, Anna!

  16. Great quote! I also like Winston Churchill’s “Never never never give up”. 50 rejections? Yikes. I like to persevere, but that’s a LOT of perseverance. I like how you broke down different aspects of writing.

  17. Love the inspiring quote!

  18. Eh – I’m never going to quit writing. Sometimes I take a break, sometimes a loooong break. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve scribbled my little stories. Publication is a whole other creature. I’ve long since decided I can die happy if I never get anything else published beyond my tiny portfolio.

  19. Love that quote, Anna! It’s so interesting to read people’s answers to this question. Funny how I said the opposite but we said the same thing: I said I’m not sure I can go through with self publishing again but either way I’ll keep writing. It sort of gave me a perspective shift when you said it’s just as hard submitting all the time!

  20. That quote is perfect. I think I’ll try one more time.

  21. I’ve no idea how I’d deal with rejection, but I learned how to cope with it in the world of internet dating, so I guess I could cope. But I don’t know yet – I’ll let you know when it happens 😉 But I do think that quote would be very useful one have pinned on my desk board for when I submit, so my thanks for it.

  22. Great analysis! I appreciate the bit about different kinds of rejection and what it means, too. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

  23. Excellent post! I’m in the Never Quit camp, but–like you–I have had to rework a project because of a shaky foundation. The story become stronger for it, though getting there was a slog.

  24. I tell myself I haven’t quit; I’m on hiatus. Good luck to you, Anna.

  25. I love how you broke down this question! Sometimes we need to break something down to figure out what we are feeling toward it, especially when it comes to our writing (or lack thereof).

  26. Those are good questions to pose to myself and I appreciate your honesty in answering. The shocker for me was that bit about having to really love what I wrote b/c of that process afterward to get it polished and get it sold.

  27. I found your blog through the IWSG. I’ve enjoyed reading through several of your posts. You have a thoughtful process to your writing and I appreciate it. Keep up the good work!

  28. I enjoyed your post. There are many aspects to ‘quitting’ in writing, but it seems most people can’t envision stopping altogether. It’s just how we roll.

  29. Great post! I’m querying now, and one of my biggest fears (that sometimes keeps me from submitting queries) is that I’ll get enough rejections to make me give up. I have to keep reminding myself that there are other paths to publishing, and publishing isn’t the sole purpose of writing.

  30. Like you, I don’t ever think I’d quit writing. It is an integral part of my soul. Beside, success comes in many forms, for me it is a sense of accomplishment that someone is willing to read what I have written.
    Very thought provoking blog post 🙂

  31. Anna,
    This is all very true. Thank you so much for sharing. Hope you never quit submitting, even though I pretty much have – but I will be back one day, probably. Writing and publishing fiction is hard. Hope you have a great day.

  32. For writing, I don’t need to tell myself to keep going. (See my post you commented on about the subject – thank you!) But submitting is another matter. For that, I have my rejection bingo.

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