Tuesday, June 29, 2010

If You Can't Have Fun, Get Out Of The Game

When I started teaching, one of the things I vowed was that if I ever woke up some morning and said I just didn't want to go to work, I would. But, instead of going to my class or office, I would go to the adminstrator, and quit, right there and right then. Now please understand I am not talking about those days when I get up feeling miserable. I am not talking about days that I might need the extra sleep. I am talking about that apathetic feeling.

I have talked to a lot of people in the publishing industry and read a lot of comments on line or via Twitter that tell me a lot of people need to just walk away. I'm not just talking about editors and agents here (although there are a lot of them), I am talking about writers as well. If you aren't having fun with what you are doing, then you need to just leave.

This is a tough business. It doesn't matter which side of the story you are on, it is simply tough. You have to be creative at the blink of an eye. You have to have skin that is amazingly tough to handle critique, rejection, and bad reviews. You have to deal with deadlines and you have to deal with projects that might have fallen behind for any number of reasons. Still, you have to have fun.

I blogged recently about soaring with the eagles and leaving the turkeys behind. This is just another twist to this one. There are a lot of great people out there that I would hang out with in an instant. Editors, agents, writers - you name it. We need these people out there. But those of you that are grinding this thing out, thinking that being miserable is part of the game - you people have missed the boat and are not getting it. This is a sign to you that maybe it is time to move on to something better.



  1. Yes. When I've been dragged down by rejection letters, my love of writing has pushed me forward. I can't imagine facing negative replies if you don't truly love what you do (I can only imagine reviews are worse!)

    Sometimes, though, it is hard to tell what is discouragement and what is a true dislike for a task. My dissertation is my personal nightmare, but I know that I loved my topic, I know I loved writing, and I know I'll enjoy further research on the subject. But right now, I hate everything about it. I wish there was a way to tell the point you mention above - how do you know when you should leave vs when you are just in a slump?

  2. As a teacher, I know exactly what you mean. I'm officially on summer vacation as of this week, but already I miss the kids and the daily interaction. But now I get to focus on my other loves - reading and writing - at least for the next 2 months.

    We're fortunate to have jobs we feel passionately about. Too many people don't.

  3. Dee - for me, you know it's just a slump when you still don't want to do anything else. Ask yourself if you never do it again, will you be okay with it? If yes, then it's time to leave.

    Thanks Scott - I've recently found your website and started reading - really appreciate your no-nonsense straight to the point approach.