Should Talented Writers Stop Writing?
On Twitter, Stephen Langlois asked:
I’m a talented writer, but am rarely published. Am never solicited. My book has been rejected by nearly every publisher I know of. When I do publish, no more than 10-15 people read my work. With each rejection, my art brings me less joy. Legit question: Why continue writing?— Stephen Langlois (@stphnlanglois) June 23, 2020
Now, let me just say this guy isn't a self-published hack (I checked his Twitter bio, snob that I am). In fact, he's a NYC Emerging Writer Fellow at the Center for Fiction--and his work has been featured in Hobart Pulp, Barrelhouse, Joyland Magazine and Split Lip Magazine.
I tweeted back to him:
I have struggled with this, too. After much contemplation, I decided to retire from writing Tarot books (I've 3 under my belt, each innovative--but not good sellers). I've turned my creativity to jewelry making and aromatherapy these days. Life is too short to be miserable.— Janet Boyer (@JanetBoyer) June 23, 2020
He then replied "Life is too short to be miserable--indeed! Thank you for sharing!"
It's true. Now, if writing gave you supreme pleasure--money and/or audience be damned--I'd say keep going. But when writing starts to become a drain, you have to ask "Is it really worth it?" Talent doesn't demand our slavery.
Just because we're good at something--even really good--it doesn't mean we have to do it. We don't owe anyone anything in this life. In fact, we don't even have to do it if it helps people.