I have a very good friend who is seriously considering giving up her dream of writing. And that makes me really sad. She's a gifted writer, who has a knack for funny, heart-warming stories that leave you feeling good and loving the world she's created.
We've critiqued together for years - so when she gets good news, it's good news to me as well (and the other member of our little group). So, right now, when she's really considering walking away from her dream - a dream we share and that we've discussed often and done our best to keep alive when things are tough - I'm trying to think of ways to make her see that would be a mistake.
The thing is, I completely understand her motivations behind this decision. I just don't agree. Her emotions are raw with continuous rejections, often more than one, even two, a day and near-misses where she's believed she's finally crossed that line, and those things will take the spit and fire right out of you. The flip side, even though it's not much of a consolation, is that she is still trying.
I'll never agree that she needs to quit. Take a break, definitely. Write something else, eventually. Alter her plans, probably.
But not quit.
Not when I've seen the beauty inside her stories and the heart she puts into crafting characters and plots that leave you feeling good about things. I wish her some of that kind of magic to help her through the desolation she feels right now.
You might think that's weird. Because if she quits writing, then that's one less person to compete with, but that's not how it is at all. I can't name any writer who would cheer at hearing that another writer has quit trying. I think it does the same to all of us - makes us sad, makes a little hitch form in our chests wondering how long, how many rejections, how much frustration we can withstand before arriving at the same place.
Writing isn't something you do because you want to. Writing is something you do because you have to.