...write? I used to tell myself it was because I'm a tortured soul and that's what all tortured souls do - (other than abuse alcohol/drugs - a writer's right). It's our excuse for cutting open a vein and bleeding all over the pages, right?
Maybe not. I'm just guessing, but I feel that anyone who set into motion the first paragraph of whatever story, did so with dreams of creating the next great American novel. And you can't have a "Great American Novel" without it seeing light of publication. Otherwise, it'll sit cold and lonely on the hard drive. So, naturally, every writer has dreams of, and actually seeks, publication at some point.
And then at some point, the road gets a little weary, at least it has for me. Hearing about changes in the publishing industry, the fact that many talented authors' contracts are getting eighty-sixed because their work isn't "this, that, or the other thing," sort of makes me go, "HUH?"
And so I have to ask myself: "Self, why are you bothering?" After all, if publishers are dumping their talent, why would they look at someone new to the market? Those unfortunate ones who lost contracts were fabulous writers. How can I top their brilliance?
It gets worse, all those things that got me to thinking about this entire writing gig. I hear tales, via industry blogs, of writers constant query letters receiving rejections without comments, or never hearing back one way or the other, that some agents are just "too busy" negotiating deals for the authors they represent to even bother sending a rejection letter. Maybe I shouldn't pay attention to all that shazit, but still...
It goddamn sucks! I'm not implying that I have the next great American novel on my hard-drive, I'm just saying that with all the dark information looming about the publishing world, what's the point in my bleeding all over the pages, other than for the therapeutic aspect of it all?
Is it crazy to hold onto hope that maybe things will change? One day will all the madness die - the pendulum swing back in my direction (if I had one)? If I had a dime for every time I thought to give up on the writing I'd be Bill Gates. But each time I consider tossing in the towel, another story idea slams a fly into the ointment.
When does one determine it's time to throw in the towel for good? How does one keep hanging on to hope after seeing so many really good writers dumped? I think about those authors who got axed and wonder why their editors/agents, whomever, didn't give them some direction, such as giving a clue as to what they're looking for. After all, these are seasoned writers with several thousands of words and pages published - surely they can create something that will sell, right? They're writers! It's what they do for a living (at least most of them).
It's like working for a company that's cutting jobs due to financial straits. Management says you can keep your job, but only if you move to India, or take a cut in pay, etc. Options are offered. Why do editors/agents dump a client without giving them a shot at something else that'll keep them afloat? It just seems like the right thing to do, offering a choice, an option.
Maybe there was choice offered. This I don't know for sure. The one author whom I know well and was recently dropped had thought her next release was a go. I said to her, "You got that next book ready to go?" and she replied, "Been ready, but my publisher dropped me..." I'm paraphrasing. It was one of those moments that I found so incredible that my memory banks misfired.
My point? Basically, why bother writing toward the publishing goal if many of the really awesome writers have been kicked to the curb? I'd like some answers. I already know that the publishing business can be brutal, and that said, why jump in without that life-line called hope? Is hope lost on the publishing dream?