Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, April 10, 2015

The two kinds of "giving up"

It has come to my attention that a blog post I wrote on my Palms to Pines blog may have kindled the idea for struggling writers that since I did not achieve the level of success I wanted to achieve after 10 years of being a writer trying to become a novelist, I might as well throw in the towel and never write again. I don't normally share the PTP blog posts with the world at large UNLESS I need some parenting advice or feedback from fellow deaf parents. I do, however, faithfully share ALL of my blog posts on my Facebook page. (Well, when I remember to, anyway!) So maybe that's how this whole thing started. Or maybe not.

Either way, I feel that perhaps I should clarify on just what I meant by that post...

Yes, I AM disappointed I never achieved the kind of success I wanted as a novelist, but, you know what? That’s okay. Life is full of disappointments. Believe me, I know that ALL too well. Things don’t go the way we want them to. Dreams are shattered. People get the wrong impressions or ideas and act like jerks or big meanies and make it harder for you to accomplish a goal, or even impossible, because they hold all the cards and can say yes or no.

But that’s life. That’s just the way it is.

So, I have accepted that things did not turn out the way I had hoped they would. Disappointed? Yes. Hurt? Of course. But that’s life! I can’t let it ruin everything else for me.

But because my first novel did not do well, despite everything I did, I pretty much gave up on ever trying to be a successful novelist. I mean, that had been my dream from Day One. That is what I had set out to do. That was WHY I got into trying to get a novel published in the first place. I wanted to succeed as a novelist. I wanted my book to be selling like crazy, getting awesome reviews everywhere, selling in major bookstores, being a popular title a lot of people have heard of, being made into a movie, etc., etc.

I wanted to see my novel do well.

But that didn’t happen. It did not become a reality for me.

And because of that, THAT is what I gave up on. That Goal. That desire to be the kinda novelist who has given the world a story it WANTS.

I did everything I thought I was supposed to do. I tried to get an agent. I actually had two agents and both of them let me down. I tried to get my name EVERYWHERE. I worked very hard on making my novel the best it could be. I networked with people, got work in the publishing industry, blogged, did a blog tour, put together a promo package that I sent out everywhere, connected with people through social media, told family and friends about the book and tried to get it listed on various websites. (My local paper, The Register-Guard, never runs anything about any of my books so this was one venue I could not use in promoting my novel.) You know? I actually put in the time and energy to get that book to SELL.

But it did not sell a single copy. Not one. (A copy of the book did later sell, but that was after the first quarter – the make-or-break period for books.)

And I was sooo disappointed. I was soooo upset. I was ready to just give up on that dream altogether. Just walk away.

And I very nearly did.

I recently had a dream about how I wrote a novel that DID accomplish all those goals I had. It was a really nice dream. And it gave me hope. It made me realize I should not have put all of my faith into my first novel. Maybe it’ll be the second novel that does well. Or the third one. Or maybe even the tenth.

The point is that I realized that it’s okay to keep writing novels and getting them published. Maybe one of them will finally bring in the kind of recognition that I hope for.

I may have given up on wanting to get more novels published, but there is one thing I could NEVER EVER give up on: My desire to write.

If there is one thing I know of for certain, it is my passion to write. My love of writing. I love to write and I will always write. Even if nothing sells, I’ll write anyway! It may not get published, but it will get written.

I could never give up on being a writer. I could never stop writing. That is one passion that will never, ever come to an end.

So when I said I gave up, I meant I gave up on my dream of being a successful novelist. But I’ll never give up on being a writer. I will never quit being a writer. I will always be a writer.

And I’m happy to report that the dream I had made me change my mind. I’m doing an about-face on that whole “I don’t want any publicity” attitude I adopted for a while there. I WANT my novel to do well. Any novel. So I’ll go back to doing all that promo stuff for my next novel and, yes, submitting MORE novels for publication. I just have to believe that one of them will do well. One of them just might make that dream come true.

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  • At 1:21 PM , Blogger Lillie Ammann said...


    I've heard from so many successful authors that their books didn't start selling well until they had published several novels. Adding a second novel to the mix doesn't double your chances of a sale--it increases the chances exponentially. The more novels you publish in the same genre, the better your chances for success. And success isn't always in selling a lot of books. If you touch one person's heart, that is success.

  • At 9:09 PM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Thanks, Lillie. :) I really appreciate your comment on this. I have been thinking that maybe it's a good idea to keep the novels in one genre. Maybe that is something I should pursue. I don't know how I would be able to tell if a novel has touched someone's heart but that IS a nice thought. :) It is always nice to learn from someone if your book has inspired them in some way. I just want to see one of my novels do well.

  • At 12:27 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Don't ever give up on your true dreams. I know you have always put in so much effort when it comes to your books, and it reminds me of a quote Allison taught me which is "Hard work never betrays you" just keep it up! And keep the positive thoughts coming, the universe is always listening.

  • At 5:32 AM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Thanks, Millie. I love that quote! :) There is so much expectation put on the first of everything. The first book, the first movie, the first song, the first painting, etc. And it's like if the first of WHATEVER does not do well, then there's this universal understanding that the creator of that product does not have what it takes to be a success or that he/she is doomed to fail. But if there's one thing I have learned about my life it is that NOTHING is normal for me. My life is just not all about what everybody else expects or what everybody else goes through. So, the way I see it, it very likely may be different for me with my novels. So my first one was a flop. Maybe my fifth or tenth one will be the one to achieve that measure of success which I aspire to. And to be clear, it is NOT about becoming rich, becoming a bazillionaire because of my books or making a ton of money from novel sales. It is how well the novel itself does. I want it to be the kind of book that people actually WANT to buy, WANT to read and get talked about in the book community. It's something I hope for, anyway.

  • At 10:11 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Keep going Dawn it will come r u might already have it, Stephen king toss Carrie n the trash and his wife took it out and sent it in, And he had no ideal till he got letter and big check, so never stop trying, and what a great book and movie we almost missed,love u cuz,

  • At 9:14 AM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Thanks, Vik. I will continue to write but not as often as before. I have a new focus in life now. Meanwhile, I am clearing out the books I have already written. This dream I have is just something I cannot so easily throw away. I read a quote that your dreams do not have an expiration date, and so I figure I just have to give myself some more time. I appreciate your support! Thanks cuz.


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