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Wonderful words!

This was posted in his blog by an author at a writer's group I belong to.  These are such wonderfully encouraging words and apply to all of us.  Everyone has dreams of some sort and all of us have that inner voice, what Allen calls an "anti-conscious", that works hard to get us to give up.  I'll let Allen speak to you in his own words . . .

How do you know when your project is a waste of time?
By apb148

This past week I saw a question I have seen, and heard, for years.  “How do you  know when you’re wasting your time on a project?” or “When should I give up on what I’m working on?”  Same basic question.  These are questions that every creative person has faced at least 3,000 times.(I picked a number)  As a writer, and photographer, I wrestle with this all the time.  I call this the anti-conscience.  The anti-conscience is the voice that tells you  “you’re no good“, and that “you’ll never amount to anything, that what you’re doing is worthless.”

Don’t let it win.  Writers have to fight these feelings off all the time, with every rejection slip, with every critique, this voice chimes in.  It tells us that we can’t write and should give up without a fight.  Before you run to the corner, with your head hanging in shame, just remember that even the greatest have had to face this problem.

We all have dreams, and when we persue those dreams the anti-conscience has an opening to shut us down.  Sometimes we can give ourselves the strength to go on, and sometimes we need to look to others for the inspiration and guidance, but in the end we can never give up.  Our dreams give us hope that we can make a difference, our hope gives us faith to believe in our abilities, and faith gives us the strength to see it happen.

As long as we don’t give up on our dreams, we can keep this voice under control, and it will never win.  Only then will our dreams come true.

Challenge: If the anti-conscience is still strong, and you feel you can’t go on, let these publishing statistics inspire you.  Print them and put them where they can help you the most.

1)  Mary Higgins Clark’s first story was rejected 40 times.

2) Alex Haley’s “Roots” was rejected 200 times.

3) “A Time to Kill” by John Grisham was declined by 15 publishers & 30 agents.

4) “Robinson Crusoe” was rejected by 20 publishers

5) “Harry Potter” was rejected 30 times.

6) Zelda wouldn’t marry F. Scott Fitzgerald until he sold his first story.  He used the rejection slips to wallpaper his bedroom.


Thank you so much, Allen.  I'm going to post this in a place where I will see it often so I don't give up my dream.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for passing on the encouragement.

I read a post in an lj the other day that I found through someone on my flist that just about made me want to give up writing. This person has a permanent post at the top of their lj where they "rant" about the problems in LOTR fanfic. They were pretty critical of a lot of things. As far as I know, they've never read anything of mine, and part of me hopes they never do, but I figure that I'm one of the type of authors they would dislike in the extreme. It was very disheartening. I sort of thought that with people out there being so negative about every style of writing but their own, why bother? But I have to remember that I'm not doing this to please them. I'm doing it because it fills a need I have, and if I please myself with what I write that's all that matters.

Thanks again for reminding me just we do this thing we do.:)
Feb. 24th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean, Garnet. There was a blog referred to at the same writers group where the link to Allen's blog was posted, where someone was saying there is no longer any need to bother writing novels as the form is on it's way out. Several on the group are agents and editors and they were incensed! They said the guy was a jerk and were sorry people were reading his blog and getting put off from their writing.

Not all the anti-consciouses are in our own heads ;-)

I have also noticed what seems to be an increase in critcal Tolkien fanfic readers, which in some ways is a good thing. There are a lot of poorly written stories out there & it doesn't hurt to encourage authors to work at improving their stories. But, on the other hand, this is a hobby. Even if it is important to us it is hobby writing and is done for fun, relaxation or (for some of us, me included at times) therapy. I hate to see people shooting others down or taking the fun out of it. My feeling is if the story is poorly written, simply don't leave a review.

I feel that this is part of why I'm increasingly having trouble writing, or even reading, Tolkien fanfic. Much of the fun has seeped out of it. I find myself waiting for the next bomb to fall on me or some other hapless author. But, I intend to not miss a single challenge for the LOTR GFIC Challenge. I'm not beaten yet!

Who knows how many dreams are being crushed.

So fight back; write when you can, Garnet, and write all you can. Dream dreams for you and The Tween! :-)

Feb. 24th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, please keep writing.:) I love your Tolkien fic.

I'm glad you see the point I was trying to make. I don't think most of the "critical" Tolkien writers and readers are "out to get" those of us less "critical", but it does kind of intimidate sometimes. I really do do this for fun and enjoyment, I never figured to my living as a writer--I'm not that desciplined--but I do it for most of the same reasons you do.

Now, if I write something that is really "BAD" fic, I want to know.:) I either need to fix it or send it to the abyss where it probably belongs. I just don't want someone saying I'm wrong because I write h/c or my characters have cettain color eyes, or whatever.

I know there will always be a group that will encourage and support each other in our many enturpritations of the story behind and around the story. Forgive my bad spelling and grammar in this. I'm rushing since I'm at my "real" job.:)
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC)
Our dreams give us hope that we can make a difference

I love that. :)
Feb. 24th, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC)
Me too! So many of us need to be reminded of this.
Feb. 24th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
Those are really cool.

Also remember how many years JRRT worked on his world. He *never* gave up on it, as long as he lived.
Feb. 24th, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)

On the group I sited that Stephen King ended up so frustrated that he threw "Carrie" in the trash. His wife dug it out and told him to get back to work on it and it eventually was accepted.

It really does help to know even the greats had to go through the doubt and despair.
Feb. 26th, 2009 01:05 am (UTC)
As a general rule, I don't read fan-fic. That said, however, when writing ANYthing (fiction/non-fic), the the most important thing is to always write for yourself.

Feb. 26th, 2009 04:17 am (UTC)
Hi Wednesday :-)

Yes, it turns out better when you do.

Hope you are well! :-)

Feb. 26th, 2009 11:18 pm (UTC)
Miss you! Any chance you might be going to the Radio City Music Hall thingy in October?
Feb. 26th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
What Radio City Music Hall thingy?
Feb. 26th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)
This thingy:


I've got a ticket for the Saturday night performance.
Feb. 27th, 2009 12:15 am (UTC)
I hadn't heard about it. Sounds wonderful! What price range ticket did you get? How are you getting there? I don't know if I could do it or not, but I maybe could if it's not too horribly expensive. I've never been to NY city and I would love a chance to go.
Feb. 27th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
LOVE NYC!!! I've got main floor ticketing, but there will be Ringers & Loons all over the joint. TORn is planning something.

I'm planning on flying in Friday morning, and taking in a play or musical.

Folks will be sharing rooms to cut expenses, and I've found some cool cheap hotels Downtown.

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )