Never Give Up, Never Surrender

The title is a quote from one of my favorite movies, “Galaxy Quest,” one of the best spoofs and homages to Star Trek that I’ve ever seen. The saying is a bit trite, but maybe it’s time I took it to heart anyway. I’ve known that I want to be a writer since I was seven years old. That’s almost 50 years! And, in some ways I’ve succeeded. I’ve been a [Technical] Writer on and off for the past sixteen years. I’ve made pretty good money at it. But I’ve made only a bit over $100 writing fiction.

Is it a matter of being hypercritical?

I feel that I am a good writer. People who read my stories like them, and I have four five-star reviews on Amazon. But four reviews, no matter how good, don’t make me a successful writer.

Why do some authors consistently make sales and garner new readers while others–well, don’t?

I have been seriously writing fiction for 13 years.

Has it come time for me to give up? I suppose that an intelligent person would not continue to bang their head against a wall of rejection. Yet…

There is something in me that just won’t allow me to quit. I’ve tried. After a while, the urge to write becomes so strong that I just have to start again. Sometimes I try to edit the crap that I’ve already started or even finished, but usually I start a new story. Yet I haven’t done anything to find an agent or get a book published “for real.”

I’ve been berating myself about it lately.

This morning, I typed a sentence into Google that made all the difference in the world: “writers who had their first book published after forty.”

I discovered that there are many writers out there who have become more or less successful and well known after the age of forty, including Laura Ingalls Wilder and Bram Stoker (authors whose books I devoured when I was a child.) Here is one of the more interesting articles I found on the subject:

Five Authors Who Prove It’s Never Too Late To Start Writing

Reading that article and a couple of others has confirmed the fact that it isn’t too late and, now that I no longer have permission to beat myself up over my “failure” to launch a writing career at 57, I’ve also given myself permission to write the absolute crap that other writers get out of their system in their teens or twenties and get back to my pursuit.