A Crisis Of Faith – Rambles by Susan Lute

Recently I had a crisis of faith. Did I really want to keep writing?

We do a lot of ra-ra here at SJP. Keeping a positive attitude is extremely important in this business. But I also think it’s important to know, sometimes you’ll wonder if being a writer is worth all the work and fuss. And it doesn’t matter what profession you’re in, there will come a time when you hit this slippery slope. Am I doing what I was meant to do?

I’m going to bare my soul a little here. Oh no, you say, and wince. It’s okay. Grab some coffee or tea, and pull up a chair.

I am one of those people who has always been loved. From the time I was a tiny girl, I remember being loved by my family. I’m also a Leo, so after I got over the shyness, I discovered I like playing center stage. But life happens, shapes who we are, and soon I learned it wasn’t always good to get too attached to people, only to then leave them behind (I moved a lot, even into my adult years). And then I discovered the writing community.

OMG, you guys. There is so much love and acceptance here. I’ve made lifelong friends who will be with me until my very last breath. And I treasure every single one. So how, you wonder, could I come to a crisis of faith in my writing? It was too easy. Being a writer is not the hardest job in the world. It’s also not the easiest. You get real familiar with rejection. But like anything else, rejection can be a learning tool, even rejection by readers. One morning I just woke up and wondered if I was doing what I was meant to do, and spiraled down from there.

At the same time, I was sorting through some old stories, and partials of stories, and contrary to my rejection letters, and former belief, they’re not half bad. They’re a bit juvenile, and lack a certain polish, but it’s easy to see they could someday, with a little work, see the light of day.

This is what ‘being a writer’ looks like in today’s world. You have good days, and you have bad. When you’re in a good frame of mind, you stumble from bed, stretch, grab coffee or tea (or like this morning, I’m drinking hot lemon and honey), and head for your desk. If you’re more organized, you might shower and dress as though leaving the house to go to a day job. That’s kind of nice too. You might write for a couple of hours before getting on the net. Social networking takes up a chunk of your working day. How much do you do? No one has a good answer. And how much of it effects sales. Again, no answer. If you’re an indie author, you have book details to attend to. Do you publish only on Amazon and Barnes & Noble? Or do you put your book up at Smashwords, too? Do you design your own covers, print copies, or hire those pieces out? Every step is different for each author. If you’re published by an e-publisher, or traditional publisher, some of these considerations aren’t a problem. However you’re published, you’ll always be looking at the bottom line. How many books did you sell today? This week? This month, etc.

My middle boy asked me recently, “If you sell one book, mom, and it affects one person’s life, isn’t that enough?” {sign} Yes, it is.

And so you know it’s not all about the writing, I made a pizza quiche for the first time the other night. The Mr. said it was so-so, not his favorite dish. I, on the other hand, loved it, and think I’ll make it again. Crisis of faith averted.

Thanks for joining me on today’s rambles. There should be a question in here, but I just can’t think of one. Tell me what you think anyway.

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About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on February 5, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Thanks fluffy 🙂 Pizza quiche is pie crust, layered with pizza sauce mozzarella cheese, egg mixture, pepperoni, and more cheese. Yum! I will be glad to share the recipe. I found it when digging in a box from the shed that has a lot of my recipe books in it.

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  2. Really truthful and inspiring. 🙂 Oh and what is a pizza quiche?! Sounds intriguing!

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  3. Maggie! You are one wise woman. Stop. Wait. Listen. I’m going to remember that!

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  4. Thanks for sharing this. I know this is something the vast majority of writers encounter. I suspect it happens even more often in today’s publishing chaos. When you combine the fact that the publishing world has gone topsy-turvy in the last three years with the usual difficulties of being a creative spirit, it adds to the feelings of being lost.

    For me, whenever I have a crisis of faith (whether as an author or in other areas of my life) I have learned to stop, wait, and listen. Usually the crisis relates more to my desire to have a specific outcome in a specified time period. My impatience blinds me to possibilities because I see only one or two ways to achieve my goal.

    When I stop, wait, and listen it forces me to do three things that are important for me to overcome my crisis. 1) Grieve. When a goal I’ve set is not achieved in the time period I determined, I need time to grieve that failure. Yes, I do see it as a failure. 2) Reassess. Once I allow myself the time to grieve (ranging from a day to two weeks usually), I can then reassess my goal, my timeline, and WHY it had to be that one way. 3) Open. This relates to the listen part of “stop, wait, and listen.” During the reassess stage I usually realize that my goals and timelines were based on unrealistic expectations and frequently on a reaction to my last crisis. 🙂 Realizing that allows me to open myself to other options and opportunities–to listen to my heart and my friends and determine WHY I’m really doing this and how knowing the why changes my approach.

    If I’ve done the hard work above, I’m then reinvigorated to step into the breach once more. How often does this happen for me? On average at least twice a year. Some years it’s more depending on how crazy my non-writing life is. There was a period of time when I actually went two and a half years without a crisis of faith in my writing. I long to have that stretch again.

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  5. Darla, thanks to all of you! Without friends, this journey would be pointless.

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  6. Susan, you’ve long been my hero for your vision and dogged determination to not only GET published, but to CONTINUE to BE published. Not surprising that you falter sometimes, but that’s what friends are for, to bolster you when you stumble!

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  7. lol, Thanks, Jamie. We are a nutty bunch, for sure.

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  8. You’re a Leo! No wonder I like you so much All my fav people are Leos.
    ~

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  9. Thanks Kim! No, crisis averted. I’ve taken care of some book details that needed to be done, and I’ve turned my hand to writing the best d*&mn book I can, and it’s actually fun again. Thank god, lol. Forward, march, two, three, four 🙂

    Nancy, you are spot on. When we started on this journey, I didn’t know I would get the opportunity to learn to relish the challenges, but I believe I have. For now, lol.

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  10. I try to imagine my life as a beauty queen who wins every prize rather than the bipolar roller coaster ride it has been. In the calm successful moments I’m glad for the adventure and the thrill of the ride. On the downward plunge I have more than my share of doubts and a multitude of moments wanting to chuck it all. There are people who chose a life without challenge. Neither one of us are those people. And they are not the people I choose for my friends.

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  11. Susan, sorry to hear you were having a crisis of faith in your writing. I had one of those before I sold Key of Solomon. I suspect, at some point, I’ll have one again. Your post doesn’t really say but I hope the subtext is that you intend to keep going. Maybe you need a breather but don’t stop. I know I, for one, would hate not to have your stories to read. Love ya!

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  12. Hi Jenny. He’s a bright kid, and knows just what to say when it’s needed 🙂

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  13. The pizza quiche sounds yum! And I think your son is very wise. To affect just person’s life with your words…wow.

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