WARNING: Existential whining and moralizing ahead. Proceed at your own risk.
On July 10, 1988, I wrote the following in a journal:
“I don’t know why I keep trying, or who I’m trying to fool. I’ll never be an author, despite my brave words to contrary. Yet I am driven to continue. Why?”
Writing personal stuff like this was a rarity for me, so the rejections must have been particularly bad during the summer of 1988. At that point I’d been actively trying to get published for more than 10 years, had a second kid on the way, had just started a new job where the boss’s administrative assistant took an instant dislike to me, while I traveled about three times more than I’d been told I would. This was also the period when my agent’s halfassed efforts to sell my book finally ground to a halt.
Things got worse from there, yet somewhere along this time I wrote an extensive opening for a new science fiction novel in a new universe, one I called Jurassic Jail. This was at least a year before Jurassic Park hit the scene. Likewise, I began a book titled Suntans Within Suntans, a comedy, which my agent hated so much I stopped writing it. She’s dead now.
Anyway, in Have Keyboard, Will Type: Hard Lessons Learned Hard, I wrote that one lesson I finally learned was that writers write, they can’t help it, they do it with or without success. The passage above, and for me to have hand-written such a message was rare, shows how I learned that particular lesson. See, it would be another 28 years before I first had a novel see publication.
28 freakin’ years.
Was it worth it? In all honesty, if you told me back then that I would not have a book published for another 28 years, I’m not sure that I would have continued. I’d like to think so, but it’s hard to say for certain. So I guess that’s the point of all this; whatever I might have done, what I did was pushed through all of that pain and depression and rejection and wound up with a career as a writer.
So to answer the question posed above, **** yeah, it was worth it.