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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Publishing a book independently or traditionally is a challenge. I’d love to hear about a time when you faced a crossroads as a writer, and how you came back from it. It’s a personal question, so I appreciate anyone willing to answer in this public forum.
 

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Let's start with rejection. My first novel was sent to over fifty agents and publishers and I'd literally lose sleep over whether I had it in me if all these 'experts' were rejecting me. That was perhaps the toughest time for my writing career. I did eventually get published and ironically that book became a bestseller in India, but the bitter memories of how tough it is for a new writer to break through all the gatekeepers remained and was the key reason I embraced the opportunity when I learnt about KDP and the opportunities it gave. Now the only ones who have the power to accept or reject my writing are readers (unless KDP goes wonky and refuses to publish uploaded books). That's the most wonderful thing about being an indie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Anotherdreamer said:
Strictly in the writing experience? Or a crossroads in life that spilled over I to your writing?
Either or, because they share the same importance, I think. Life effects writing, and writing effects life.
 

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Being a writer has been a part of my identity since before I had an identity. I've never had any sudden adversities, because I spent so much time researching, coming to conclusions, acting on them, that it all felt very fluid. Probably the toughest thing has been balancing it with my romantic life.

My fiance refused to read my writing for years, because she wanted me to have a safe place to work things through, even about her. Once she started reading, we realized that she was just as capable as every professional editor I've worked with, and far more capable than most of them. I've shamelessly used her talents since then. While I was writing my first published novel, Whores, she acted as my research assistant, and due to the upsetting subject matter, we spent several months distant from each other. The world we saw shaping, the world she saw me shaping in the WIP, it caused us to view each other as potential threats. Especially her, since the things we were researching were things that made her feel particularly victimized.

We've been together for years, and there was no rational reason for why she'd stiffen when I stepped into the room, or any of the little hostile things that happened between the unusually forceful political debates. She's been with me through death in the family, unemployment, sickness, and nothing has stressed or separated us the way that that novel did. She'd read five other finished drafts of novels, without anything remotely resembling that vulnerability. Finishing that first draft was a huge relief... It pulled this giant weight off my shoulders, and I realized that we'd created those tensions by steeping ourselves in the worst of the world, and I didn't want that distance between us again. I sent it to her to edit with my marriage proposal in the dedication.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mathew Reuther said:
Death. Despair. Ridicule.
Details? Stories of triumph inspire me, which is why I started this discussion. It's great to be able to communicate with other writers. However, if anyone doesn't want to get into too many details I understand. As I said this is a very personal question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
NicWilson said:
Being a writer has been a part of my identity since before I had an identity. I've never had any sudden adversities, because I spent so much time researching, coming to conclusions, acting on them, that it all felt very fluid. Probably the toughest thing has been finding balancing it with my romantic life.

My fiance refused to read my writing for years, because she wanted me to have a safe place to work things through, even about her. Once she started reading, we realized that she was just as capable as every professional editor I've worked with, and far more capable than most of them. I've shamelessly used her talents since then. While I was writing my fits published novel, Whores, she acted as my research assistant, and due to the upsetting subject matter, we spent several months distant from each other. The world we saw shaping, the world she saw me shaping in the WIP, it caused us to view each other as potential threats. Especially her, since the things we were researching were things that made her feel particularly victimized.

We've been together for years, and there was no rational reason for why she'd stiffen when I stepped into the room, or any of the little hostile things that happened between the unusually forceful political debates. She's been with me through death in the family, unemployment, sickness, and nothing has stressed or separated us the way that that novel did. She'd read five other finished drafts of novels, without anything remotely resembling that vulnerability. Finishing that first draft was a huge relief... It pulled this giant weight off my shoulders, and I realized that we'd created those tensions by steeping ourselves in the worst of the world, I didn't want that distance between us again. I sent it to her to edit with my marriage proposal in the dedication.
Wow, thanks for sharing. That's a pretty deep story, and an awesome ending with the marriage proposal.
 

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Nic, that was really a beautiful way to propose!

I had thyroid failure due to autoimmune. It went undiagnosed for quite a while. That led to severe panic attacks and a slight case of agoraphobia. Mostly because everything kicked off a panick attack so I feared even leaving the house.

I'm completely healthy now, but I think I am drawn to darker subject matter because of this. Part of my psyche was carved from that time, and no matter how good I feel now, I still have that lingering around.
 

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Well this is again so newbie since this is my first real stretch with self-pub, but I think it took a few days to get back to writing when my first set of reviews came out. They weren't bad but I'm a perfectionist so always want As or five stars on everything. So when not everything was a five and sometimes a three, I was like going "maybe this is wrong and I should go back to the fanfic pond," but then I sort of rescaled and reminded myself for my first time I wanted to have a decent rating of at least 3 on Goodreads and Amazon and was able to do 3.3 on Goodreads and 4 on Amazon and decided that it was room to grow with originals.

So, I guess I figure the "It didn't do X this time around so how can I get it to do Y next time?" A re-think.
 

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I would say my childen. (I have five.) Unkind, maybe, but true.

Nothing stops a WIP more quickly than someone throwing up on your shoes or a chorus  of "Moooooom, (insert child's name here) is (insert child's horrible transgression)."
 

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Endless rejections. Being misunderstood by non-writers (back when it bothered me). Finally having a book published by a small press only to see what I thought the beginning of my writing career get stuck and go back to nothing. Having to start from Square 1 all over again. And again. Publishing with a substandard small press and ending up having to pull the book from them.

Finally, publishing independently and seeing some success, yet not enough income to live on. This last one is certainly not so bad as the ones before it, although it frustrates me to no end. It's temporary, I keep telling myself. I will get there.
 

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Edward Lake said:
My writing was marginalized by my first two wives, who saw it as not a "real" job. During the lead up to my divorce from my second wife (after we separated) I made the decision to become an author. I started working on a book which highlighted the failures we can face in life, and the path we can follow to redemption. It was a story of a man and his son, who he was raising.

During the drafting of this novel my own child, our son, fell ill and died.

I didn't write much fiction for almost two years.

Then I took a contract to ghostwrite a novel. It hurt every day to work on a piece of literature. To be working the same muscles I had been at the time of his death.

But I finished it.

And that was when I decided that I was ready again. That I've come far enough to let myself create.

So It's been close to three and a half years since he died, but I'm on the path again. The path I chose to take in order to give both of us a better life.

I have two children with my third wife, and her endless support and enthusiasm for my writing. I write for them. I write for my departed son. And I write to give a hearty fzck you to everyone who doubted me, and told me I couldn't do it.

Because I can. I am. I will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Mathew Reuther said:
I have two children with my third wife, and her endless support and enthusiasm for my writing. I write for them. I write for my departed son. And I write to give a hearty fzck you to everyone who doubted me, and told me I couldn't do it.

Because I can. I am. I will.
That's motivation, and thank you for sharing. I can not imagine what that experience felt like. But it reminds me that we all have struggles, and that the will to keep at it is what matters most.
 

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Various family crises draining my emotions, emptying my heart, making writing almost impossible for a while.  This seriously slowed down a nice sales momentum I had reached.
 

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Like Anotherdreamer, I've struggled with panic attacks and related agoraphobia followed by severe depression. I can't say it's effected my writing, as far as making me write darker subjects, but the medications I've taken for it have definitely made concentrating and creating more of a struggle for me. I'd say that's the biggest writing related problem I've faced.

I've had rejections and publishing related disappointments over the years as well but I can handle those things because they're external and don't take away my ability to write. Difficulty concentrating though... that's pretty hard to get past. It sucks having to choose between health or writing but I try and remind myself everybody's got something to deal with. This is just mine.
 

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Years of rejections took its toll on me emotionally and I became deeply depressed and stopped writing for a few years. I finally pulled out of that and started writing again, mostly for myself. And then a few years later the industry changed and now I see a possibility of making a living at this once again. Don't get many sales but I'm still hopeful and at least I'm published and proud of what I've done so far, if nothing else.
 
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