When to Quit, an IWSG Post

5:43 AM Elizabeth Seckman 118 Comments


It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's IWSG posting day! As members. we all know what the IWSG is, but after a weekend at the WV Book Festival, I met a few writers, especially newbies, who had never heard of the IWSG. 

So, what is it? It's part online support group where writers can share worries, fears, stresses that lead to writer insecurity.
But it's much more than the monthly posts. The IWSG is a Writer's Digest best spot for writers because it's not just mutual blog support. The IWSG site is packed with advice and information for maneuvering the writing world. 

Now, for this month's insecurities! 

While at the book fest, the topic of when to quit writing came up. Personally, I'm in the never-quit camp, but the writer life can be daunting. It's a lot of work and it's not very often that it pays off in any big way. That can make a writer start to question whether or not the time and energy devoted to the craft is even worth it. The problem is we start to measure the value of stories in dollar and cents and forget to count what it does for the spirit. We forget that most of us have been writing forever and even if we walk away from publishing and marketing, we will never be truly happy if we try to walk away from words. 

Speaking of writing for free. I'm writing a story to share on Wattpad (Read it HERE) . It's a freebie read...a story thank you for the readers who matter so much more than dollars and cents. 

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing? It was the pairing of writing and mom-life that prompted Tara Tyler and I to start our Really Real Housewives blog. It's our spot to share non-writer, creative ideas for real life.
Thanks to Alex and this months' Co-Hosts:  Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman (that's me!)



118 comments:

  1. If we did it for the money we'd all be homeless.
    Thanks for co-hosting today!

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    1. My pleasure to help! I couldn't be a ninja every day, but playing one every now and then is a lot of fun.

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  2. Well, I certainly don't write for the money. It's like you said, I wouldn't be happy if I walked away from writing. It'll just always be what I do.

    Thanks for co-hosting today!

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    1. I've already decided I'd happily be a hobby writer if that's all that was available to me. And that's all right.

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  3. What Alex said above - this certainly isn't something that I do for the money. If it was, I'd be sorely disappointed :-)

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    1. I don't know...last week I got a royalty check that was big enough to buy the family dinner off the dollar menu. LOL

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  4. Well said, Elizabeth. And thank you. I'm more than well aware of the money aspect, but I needed inspiration as to why I write. Mainly because I enjoy it, and the finished product.

    Thank you for co-hosting.

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    1. It's funny how writers look for permission to write. It's like somewhere along the line, someone told us that if we didn't succeed in X,Y, or Z we have no right to to write and many of us have internalized that.

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  5. I'm in the "never-quit camp," myself. My mother often asks me why I try and work so hard at it. I always say, it's the only thing I know I can do just for me. Happy IWSG day Elizabeth. :)

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    1. That's why we need the IWSG...only other writers truly understand our addiction to words.

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  6. I never became a writer for the money. I love this creative outlet. Writing has changed me for the better!

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    1. And consider this...how much time do I spend writing instead of shopping? I may not be making bank, but I'm saving thousands not hanging out at the mall.

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  7. I agree: writers will never be happy if they cannot write.

    Ronel visiting on IWSG day: Lessons in Writing from Sewing

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    1. I've seen writers get divorced when they're not supported in their words. We can be a strangely driven lot of people.

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  8. Money would be nice, but the writing gets more addictive as time goes on ;)

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  9. I have no idea what I would do with myself if I quit writing. I'm pretty sure I have no other skills.... :)

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    1. That's me! So many writers can draw and sew...writing is all I've got.

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  10. I'm so challenged to write in a style that satisfies me and grips my readers, I don't have the nerve to sell my work. I seem to be addicted to writing as I strive to reach my goal. How do I know I've reached a goal that is cannot be measured? Thank you for co-hosting IWSG this month.

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    1. I used to be the same. I had stories hidden on my computer guarded by passwords so impressive I'm pretty sure my husband thought I was having an affair. But then I lost it all in my computer and I had to call on my dad, who was computer savvy, to help me find my stories. He did, but not without reading them. I was soooo embarrassed. But then he said, "These are good. Why are you hiding them?"

      I took a deep breath and took the jump. Now, I still get a little cringe when someone tells me they've read my book or my blog. It's so personal and if they say they hate it, it's like someone telling you your kid is ugly. It hurts and ticks me off. But I'm getting better and better. The skin is getting thicker and thicker.

      Take the leap. It will be okay. You've got friends to support you.

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  11. I added your story to my Wattpad reading list. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it. (Now, I'm all nervous...)

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  12. I don't think I could ever quit writing entirely, even if makes me really frustrated sometimes. It's part of who I am!

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    1. I already have my closet ready. If I ever quit publishing, I will continue to write and stuff my closet with manuscripts. Then it's my kids' problems to decide what to do with them when I kick the bucket.

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  13. I think one of the most beautiful parts of writing is that it's a hobby you don't ever have to quit. Most people wind up watching OTHER people do their hobbies on television as they get older. You can't do football forever, or mountain climbing... but a pen and pencil are yours to keep.

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  14. Thanks for co-hosting this month.
    Anyone who writes solely for money may not write for very long or may find that they don't really like writing. All writers would love to make a living with their writing, but most of us write because it's part of us; it fulfills something within us that's beyond monetary gain.

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    1. As my son once asked me-- do you think Poe or Hemingway would have quit writing because they couldn't get a book deal? Probably not. But you're right, people in it for the money or the glory will find it's a bother real quick.

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  15. I definitely don't do it for money. I'm shocked if I make half of my Netflix bill each month. Then again, I don't promote myself either. It's my insecurity for sure. Thank you for co-hosting!

    Elsie

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    1. Half your Netflix bill? I am impresses. I'm happy if I can keep myself in chocolate. LOL

      I HATE marketing. And self-promotion. Ugh.

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  16. Hahaha - What Alex said.

    But seriously, you're right. Whether I make much money at it, writing is like therapy to me. I can't imagine not doing it.

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    1. It is the best therapy. And the best place to make friends. :)

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  17. I really like this: The problem is we start to measure the value of stories in dollar and cents and forget to count what it does for the spirit.

    If you're only writing for the $$$ then you're missing something. That holds true for any job, and writing is definitely a business.

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    1. I am really bad at picking jobs for the money. First there was social work, then writing...good thing I don't have champagne taste.

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  18. I usually don't like the idea of quitting even though I've done it more than a few times. Maybe I'd rather not think of quitting as much as changing direction. Some things might not be worth the effort of seeing through to the end and the satisfaction of finishing a not especially productive project might not be worth the time spent doing it.

    But on the whole I don't like to quit what I've started. Maybe wrap up a few loose ends, but leaving in a timely fashion is better so it doesn't look so much like I just quit.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. And that would probably look more like a hiatus. Sometimes, life changes directions and we have to regroup and re-energize.

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  19. Definitely not in this for the money, but I wouldn't say no to finding an audience!

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    1. And I would never say no to money. Both would be nice.

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  20. I used to think quitting was a choice, tried it once, found out it WASN'T a choice. If not write, what? I do find I slow down--still do all those steps but more slowly. I'm OK with that.

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    1. Same here. But I always find that even when I am not actively writing, I'm still thinking of stories.

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  21. I've slowed down on ideas which discourages me, but I don't think I'll ever quit.

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. I've found when the ideas slow down, doing the most mundane of tasks helps my brain recharge. Pick the most boring task on your to do list- that's when the brain will find better ways to entertain itself. LOL

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  22. You nailed the spirit of the matter, something I've been rediscovering lately. :)

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  23. Thanks for co-hosting this month. Is the question when to quit writing or when to give up on a story that won't gel? I have a few novel manuscripts that need major renovation--and I do intend to tackle them one day. So I guess I'm in the Never Quit camp with you. Wishing you happy writing in November.

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    1. It was when to quit writing, but you make a good point about the stories themselves. I have plenty I've put on the back burner. I never throw them out because you never know when epiphany will strike and you come up with a solution to that's story's problem. So, I guess I never give up on either.

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  24. I've had several depressing moments when I said I'd quit but never could do it. I don't think I ever really could.

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    1. It can wear on the spirit, that's for sure. I have my own moments where I wonder if I'm fooling myself and lack the talent I need to do this. But then I read the masters of the craft and I realize all of them put in as much sweat into a story as they did talent. Then I remind myself they only make it look easy.

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  25. Added your story to my list!

    Yeah, I agree with the others who have already commented. I never went into the writing business expecting to make bank. It's all for the soul for me.

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    1. Thank you, Loni!!

      Same here. It's like a soul balm when times get tough.

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  26. Quitting isn't an option for me. I went on a 5-yr hiatus once, but eventually got back to it. Although if I wrote for the money, I'd be downright depressed. Still, it is nice when people read our books and tells us they enjoyed them. Thanks for co-hosting. BTW, my browser/anti-virus didn't want me to read your post. I ignored the warning.

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    1. I'm so glad you ignored the warning!! I don't know why it thinks I'm viral, must be my smile ;)

      The money doesn't mean half as much as the reader response. That's the real motivator.

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  27. I'm a life-er, too. It will always be there. Not always for the $, but I've always loved journaling, that will never leave.
    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. Same here, in some way or another, I'll be writing no matter what.

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  28. I get paid in excitement, exploration, and self-entertainment. Anything else is gravy. Great post for your co-hosting month, Elizabeth. Thank you.

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    1. Self-entertainment! That's a good one. You know in prison movies where they stick people in the "hole" all alone...I'm always like, wow,quiet time. I might enjoy that. But only for 24 hours, then I'd need a pencil and paper at least.

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  29. I thought I was going to quit a few times, but no, I couldn't. Writing means too much to me. So, I'm a write-for-life person because it's in my bones.
    Thanks for co-hosting and thanks for the story!

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    1. As long as it is enjoyable, never give up. Keep learning, keep writing.

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  30. Thanks for co-hosting! As nice as it is to make money from writing, even better is leaving behind a legacy as a writer for all time.

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    1. That's also a good one. My grandmother was never published, but I have her poetry and it means the world to me.

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  31. Happy IWSG day! I'm glad you never say quit :) Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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  32. I don't think I could quit. It's such a large part of my life. I can't remember what it was like before I started writing.

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    1. I got my first typewriter when I was eleven...not sure how long before that I was writing. So, I'm with you, I don't recall not writing.

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  33. Too right, it would be so hard to leave the words... And I am so thankful for IWSG. I love the place...Thanks for co-hosting!

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  34. Yes what it does for the spirit. So right on. Thank you for co-hosting.
    Juneta
    https://www.junetakey.com/iwsg-nov-7th-evolving/

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  35. I couldn't dream of quitting - unless it was a nightmare ;-) But I do know the feeling of wondering if maybe I should. A fresh blank page and a small bowl of M&Ms gets me back on track. While making money at writing does have advantages, I couldn't bear to think of it as a job and thereby diminish the enjoyment of doing so. Thanks for sharing your story!

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    1. I may always consider it a hobby. No one likes their job much, right? lol

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  36. I do have a job where I write for money and it pays my basic expenses. I'm grateful. My creative writing right now is just for me, not for money. Not sure I can handle the jobs that go with getting published. But I look at it like someone who likes to paint or make jewelry as a hobby. That's okay for me.

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    1. I think that's the wisest way to look at it and if we ever get money for it, well, I'm sure we'd all happily cash those checks.

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  37. "...we start to measure the value of stories in dollar and cents and forget to count what it does for the spirit." So true!!

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  38. Thanks for co-hosting, Elizabeth! I'll never stop writing, even if I never make a penny. My husband keeps asking me if I'm doing what I want. He doesn't get that such hard work is fun ~ LOL.

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    1. And that's why we have the IWSG...to hang out with people who understand our shared insanity.

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  39. That is an interesting story of yours on wattpad. I enjoyed what is there and I'm looking forward to the story's further development. Very intriguing.

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    1. Thank you! I'm starting to worry that it will be a first draft share...it feels a bit like public speaking and has me a bit nervous.

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  40. If I did it for the money I'd be in a cardboard box haha just write away at our bay.

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    1. We could make a cardboard box city. Somewhere warm with internet.

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  41. Hi, Elizabeth...

    I agree with the others. It's in our blood. For me, I have left if for a while, then something sparks and I'm at it again. It is a wonderful release and at times we actually help other with our words... that is the REAL payoff.

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    1. My best book moment was a friend/reader who read one of my books while getting cancer therapy. That my words could keep her entertained in a stressful time means the world to me.

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  42. Thanks for co-hosting, Elizabeth!! I'd write if no one ever read another word of it. I do it for me (the money is nice when it happens, tho!).

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    1. That's my fall back plan. If I ever get too weary of the business of writing, I will write in secret and hide them in my closet.

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  43. I've moped and moaned about how difficult it is to make money writing, but I still do it because it's fun. I've met a lot of great people as a result.

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    1. The people! Good mention. The people I've met, both writers and readers, are the best.

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  44. Thank you for co-hosting! I for sure don't do it for the money, just like I wasn't a bookseller in indie bookstores for the money. I feel writing has to be a compulsion to keep going. IDK. We're all so wonderfully different about it. Thank you for co-hosting!

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    1. I've always said it's not a job it's an addiction.

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  45. Woohoo! I've just started uploading to Wattpad too.

    While I do hope to make some money out of it, I write because it lets me create new worlds. My hope is that other people will like those worlds too. Thanks for hosting this month's IWSG bloghop!

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    1. I don't think there is a one of us who would turn away money. Good luck on wattpad. I'll have to look you up.

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  46. I think about quitting all the time, but then a story idea bowls me over and I'm off again.

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    1. They can be quite the naggers, those unwritten stories.

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  47. I'm still not on Wattpad. I can barely keep up with facebook, twitter, G+, and sometimes pinterest. I need to really consider Wattpad. As for quitting, I tell myself I'd have so much more time if I did. Then I pour another cup of tea and get back to my writing work. Thanks for co-hosting at IWSG. All best to you!
    http://victoriamarielees.blogspot.com

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    1. I hear ya! There are so many places to be and what works for one person doesn't work for another. That's the part that is exhausting.

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  48. Oh, no. You mean I'm NOT going to be famous and wear furs and diamonds and pearls and drive a Mercedes? I guess I'll just keep writing anyway 'cause that's what I do. Really enjoyed your practical, real talk about writing. The value can't be measured in dollars. Even if one person is entertained, informed, inspired by my words, the writing is worth all the money in the world.
    http://victoriamarielees.blogspot.com Fun being a co-host, isn't it? I've enjoyed my turn and that's why I'm a bit late stopping in. Happy day-after IWSG Day!
    JQ Rose

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    1. Well now, I'm not going to rule out the fame and diamonds...we can all keep dreaming and keep trying. But until that day when you're cashing big checks, hang in there for the love of it.

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  49. Once in a while I consider quitting. I begin to get really insecure and wonder if it's even worth all the time effort and money I sink into it. But then, I come to the same conclusion you did and realize I wiull never be happy if I don't keep pressing forward, pressing the keyboard. Have a great week!

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    1. I often think it would be so awesome to switch the writing obsession with a cleaning obsession. Wouldn't that be a much more practical obsession? But it never comes, so the dust bunnies are here to stay.

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  50. It's probably safe to say that few writers are in it for the money. But, if that's your only career, it has to pay the bills... Like you, I'm in the "never-quit camp" - although it is hard to combine my two passions, traveling and writing. Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. You're right, if you want to make it a career, you have to make money at it.

      I'd think traveling would go hand in hand with writing...look at all the interesting settings you can add to your stories.

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  51. I've never been one to pursue a job or anything else with the goal of making a lot of money, so why should writing be any different? (Believe it or not, when I was a teenager... you know, back in the Dark Ages... I babysat ten children all night long one New Year's Eve. Cooked them all dinner, got them bathed and bedded down, did laundry, and cleaned the kitchen. I was paid five bucks, and I didn't want to accept that. One set of parents married very young and had four children, one of whom was special needs. They had next to no money and never had time to themselves. Another couple was a good Catholic family with five children, one still in diapers, and they were struggling, too. The other child was my cousin, and my aunt was a widow. My bet is YOU wouldn't have wanted to accept any money, either. :) )

    Quit writing? Sometimes, it's tempting to give up on the trilogy, because book one hasn't generated much interest, but YOU keep me going. You told me about being disappointed because a friend of yours wrote a book one you really enjoyed, and then she gave up on the rest of her trilogy because book one wasn't selling. I don't want to be another pal to disappoint you. :)

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    1. You know me so well. I have never chosen a job based on money (just ask my poor husband, lol). I often ask myself why I don't choose things that actually make money and the answer is always that life isn't all about money and I have to enjoy what I do or what's the point in doing it? I was a poor social worker, now I can be a poor writer. LOL

      And I'm so glad I've properly beat, I mean encouraged, you to stick with the trilogy. I do want to know what happens and I do love your way of telling a story. I am still irritated about Celeste quitting after book one. I need to remember to chastise her more often. Hah.

      And you are the best of writer pals. Sweet, smart, and never afraid to tell me when something is hoaky or phoned in. You're a friend worth my weight in gold and that's quite a bit. :)

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  52. I've lived my life doing jobs that help people and there is little money making in those fields. :) I know that something could happen to shut my writing down, but so far, it's beneficial and I keep writing.

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    1. Same here. I've always picked low paying, helping fields.

      There are times when life gets chaotic and I will slow down. The year before my mother passed away, she needed me and I barely wrote or blogged. That's not quitting, that's doing the things life demands and in those times, we are gaining insight and knowledge that will probably one day end up in a story.

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  53. You nailed it, we can walk away from publishing but not from writing. As someone who has often thought of giving up, of not even attempting to get published, I know you speak the truth. Even if I don't ever try to get published, I have to keep writing. Thanks for sharing and for co-hosting

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    1. Publishing is such a beast, never let it consume the love of writing.

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  54. Love it! this really resonates with me... "we start to measure the value of stories in dollar and cents and forget to count what it does for the spirit."

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    1. I'm glad it resonates. I think we often forget the separate the love of writing with the pain of publishing.

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  55. Quit writing? I was aghast at the idea. Then you clarified that we may walk away from publishing but not from writing and it resonated with me. Looking forward to reading that story of yours.

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    1. I'm finding that sharing a story as I'm writing it is scary as hell, but a lot of fun too.

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  56. I definitely agree with what you've said! Someone said they were quitting writing recently, and I truly couldn't comprehend how to walk away at this point.

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    1. Someone commented that those who can walk away probably aren't in it for the love anyhow, so maybe they never miss it.

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  57. Quit... writing...? I don't understand those words! I'd keep writing even if no one ever read my work. :) Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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    1. I'll keep reading, Christine. You can count on that! (though very slowly...what is wrong with me and my reading speed?!)

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  58. I read a lot now but the money I earned from my book is non-existent!

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