On Giving Up

When is giving up really giving up?

You’re a writer. You know how it goes. You work your keester off to create what you think is a great piece of art – and it is a great piece of art because you put your heart and soul and God knows how many hours of mindbending labor into it. And then you burned a gazillion more hours rewriting it – getting the characters just right, moving scenes so that it flows just as smooth as butter on a hot bun.

And it doesn’t sell. And nobody will read it.

And you plead with the world to pleeeeze just download the sample. And some people do, and a few actually download the entire free book. And then it goes flat.

Flat. Flat.

And you finally go to rewrite it, thinking “okay, what am I missing?” and you realize, hey, this book really isn’t very good. The plot is flat. The characters are flat. Even the dialog is flat. This whole damned book is flat. As flat as a squirrel on the freeway.

Flat. Flat.

Ouch. No wonder nobody likes it. It isn’t good.

What now? You clearly can’t trust your rewriting skills, because you already rewrote it and it’s still out there, flatly howling at the moon like the dog that it is.

Maybe you’re as crummy a writer as all your secret fears tell you that you are. Maybe you really should stop with the book-writing thing and stick to making clever Instagram posts. Maybe You’re Not A Writer.

Do you give up?

Do you give up? Do you? Are you done as a writer? That’s it? Say g’night, Gracie?

Yep.

Never another word. You’ve done your best, and your best was trash. Flat trash.

So you go dig a hole and pull the blankets over your head and hope to die and hope that anyone who’s actually read your awful, awful, beastly terrible rewrite of a very bad book can somehow forgive you. Maybe you’ll cry a little, maybe a lot, there in your little hole.

After a while there, in your nasty, tear-stained little hole, you sniffle and think about that scene in the flat, trash junk novel you wrote. That one scene that made you write it in the first place. That one scene that convinced you to write all the other scenes.

Damn it, that is a good scene. What a bitter pill that the other scenes don’t match up to it. Well, there is that other scene that’s really pretty good – the dialog in that scene is crisp and insightful.

And you start to think about why the book doesn’t work. And you think, you know, maybe there’s another way to salvage those two scenes, and the ending, because, really, the ending is very good.

Maybe it’s not a rewrite. Maybe it’s bigger than that. Maybe we need to give this character something a little different, and maybe the mom doesn’t have to be so stereotypical. And why is that kid always whining?

And now the catastrophe isn’t the end of the road at all, but a bridge to a much better effort. Perhaps, when they see the new version, that handful of diehards that read the first one will think “wow, you’ve really pulled it together.”

Maybe. Maybe.

And now you find yourself out of your pity pit and back at the word processor where you belong, doing what comes naturally to you.

Because, damn it, you’re a writer. You know how it goes.

Author: John D Reinhart

Author, technical writer, videographer, actor, and naval historian John D Reinhart is a very busy guy. You can find his novels as Smashwords.com.

2 thoughts on “On Giving Up”

  1. That was wonderful! Bravo! It was really good. Well, it wasn’t bad. There were parts of it that could have been alot better. Boo! It was awful! I mean it was bad. It was terrible! Hey! Boo!

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