My writers club had its last official meeting for the year on Wednesday. We meet twice a month except in December, and for that month, we have our annual Christmas carry-in, and that’s it. No critiques. No agenda. Just sharing food and conversation. I always e-mail every member and invite them to come, even if they’ve missed a few meetings. I did that this morning, and as always, it made me think about the people who used to be regular members who no longer are.
Plenty of people have tried Scribes and dropped us as quickly as possible. We’re not for everyone. But I’m not talking about those. I’m thinking of writers who came month after month, sometimes year after year, and then disappeared for various reasons. Sometimes, they move. Sometimes they get divorced and their lives go into upheaval, and they can no longer write. A baby’s arrival can usurp a mother’s time. Some have health issues. One of our members just had three heart surgeries in two days, and she finally got to return to us, thank heavens. Not everyone can. One member retired, and now she travels and plays too much to write. I know Life can throw people curveballs, and it’s sad to lose them from our group, but I understand why.
The missing-in-action because of discouragement bother me more. I’ve watched people who share their pages with us rewrite them, share them again, get better, and become talented writers, only to give up under the heavy weight of rejection. They decide they’ll never be good enough, never sell. I get it. Rejection hurts. But . . . it’s part of being a writer. Still, and I have to remember this, it’s not for everyone. When writing causes more pain than joy, maybe it’s time to walk away, to give writing a break. I always hope they’ll pick it up again at some other time, but maybe they won’t. Maybe writing doesn’t grip them like it does me. Maybe other interests bring more fulfillment.
There have been many times that I’ve been discouraged. Many times that I think I must be a masochist for pounding away at stories and novels. But if I stop for a while, the emptiness is too much. I never dreamed of being a writer, but writing is just like my pet strays. Once I opened the door for it a tiny crack, it took over my life. Writing isn’t easy. Rejection is worse. And talent doesn’t guarantee success.
Jeez, I sound gloomy. But the good news is that I celebrate every time a writer I know, including myself, finds some success. And there have been enough successes to keep me hopeful. Scribes is full of wonderful, brilliant writers, and we work to encourage each other. I hope you find encouragement and joy in your writing, too.
And P.S. If you live in Fort Wayne, Kyra Jacobs and T.G. Wolff will be signing books and reading short excerpts at Half-Price Books this Saturday, Dec. 1st, from one to three.