Aspiring authors; make a pact.

I was visiting Ollin’s site, Courage to Create this morning, and remembered an important part of my journey towards publication. It happened a long time ago, took seconds, but I suspect it was a pivotal moment.

I’d joined a writing group. I think there were about ten of us; all keen and excited to be working on our manuscripts, looking for useful advice and hopefully some positive feedback and encouragement.

Slowly, the numbers dwindled.  Some left after a rejection from a publisher. Or because life can get hectic and writing can start to look like a self-indulgent hobby. For all kinds of reasons.

In the end, it was just me, and Stephen.  We were both passionate about writing, absolutely determined in our desire to improve our work and stubbornly fixed in our quest to find a publisher.  Over a glass of red wine one night we shook hands and made a pact.

To never quit. Not ever.

Not when the rejection letter came in. Not when we couldn’t see a way to write the ending or improve one of the sagging chapters in the middle.  Not when we read a brilliant book and feared we’d never be good enough to scrape the mud from this author’s boots.

We sent each other interesting articles on writing. {Thank you Ste for the McKee book} We commiserated when we got rejected. And celebrated the wins. We gave each other stern talkings-to if one of us wavered and wanted to quit.

And we did it.

The books we were originally working on when we met were put aside and we started new ones. We were working at different speeds, trying different approaches, contacting different publishers, writing different genres, but somehow, in a weird twist of fate, we somehow managed to have our novels come out in exactly the same month: June this year.

So, here’s my question, writing friends; who can you make a pact with? If no one comes to mind, then perhaps it’s time to reach out and find some like-minded literary types to connect with.

Then, once you have your buddy ready….

… just hold out your hand [virtually is fine too] and shake hands, and make the same pact Stephen and I did all those years ago.

To never quit. Not ever.

I wish you all success and joy along the way.





Filed under authors, book launch, books, champagne, editors, fiction, I should be editing right now, opportunity for writers, Reading, red wine, reviews, tips for writers, writers, Writing

43 responses to “Aspiring authors; make a pact.

  1. That’s quite an inspiration. I agree; two’s company is better than one’s solitary struggle. Writers’ groups are a jewel. I wonder how it’d be being a part of one. Hmm. . .

    Great post, Lisa. Writers must make a pact, certainly.


  2. This is a good idea. I’ll keep an eye out for someone.

    • TahliaN, there are lots of friendly writers on this site. But also, feel free to make the pact here, if you like. Just state your intent below and stick to it, kiddo, no matter what.

  3. That is a great idea! I’ve made a pact with myself, but making one with someone else is even better. I may blog about this if that’s ok?

  4. You don’t know me, but I’m a suscriber. Can I make a pact here, with you?

    I have to get serious and make real steps, not just wistful wishful nothing steps.

    • It would be an honour, Alexandra. Email me if you prefer: or state your intention here, on this post. For example, I, Alexandra, affirm that I will not quit until I find a publisher for my manuscript. Now, if you haven’t got anything ready to send yet, just set your intention as not to quit until you have the ms finished.
      We need to be tough. For example, I won’t move from my seat until I have 1000 words completed, or finished the dialogue in a particular chapter.
      If I can do it, anyone can!
      btw thanks for being a subscriber.

  5. I love those “weird twists of fate.” How wonderful that you both realized your goal…and at the same time.

    The pact idea is fabulous, Lisa. It’s so easy to quit…not quite as easy when you have someone in your corner (pinning you down) 😉

  6. Gillian

    I belong to a writing group that is going the same way that the one you belonged to did. It is sad because they have inspired me to keep writing when I would otherwise have given up.

    Many in the group have given up writing, those who are left hardly keep in touch anymore and no one is interested forming a buddy writing pact similar to the one you and Stephen had. It is sad.

    So if anyone is looking for a writing buddy I’d be interested in talking to you. Gillian

    • There are many talented writers out there, but the vital ingredient for success, of any kind, is persistence and commitment. Without determination, talent and wishful thinking, come to nothing.
      So feel free to set your intention here, or email me:
      I warn you, I can be tough.

  7. Great post!

    To succeed in writing, or life, follow the Path of P’s: Purpose, Passion, Patience, and Persistence.

  8. What a fantastic idea. I’ll have to think of someone to make a pact with.

  9. Love it! What a great idea — and how cool it must’ve been that your books came out around the same time as each other… Having a buddy or mentor to cheer you on is an amazing gift. : )

    • I’m really excited because there is a big debut author gathering at the Wheeler Centre this week and I’ll have a chance to catch up with Stephen and have a good chat.
      Chatting with another writer, who is equally enamored with books, is my idea of heaven.

  10. Jillian

    I can’t make a pact until I’m sure I’ll keep it. And once I’m sure, will the pact be necessary? I hope one day to be certain…

    • Hey Jillian, it’s so great to see you again.
      I totally get what you’re saying, but here’s what I’ve discovered. These pacts and rituals and intentions carry power. It’s like at one point I couldn’t see the big deal about getting a divorce, because I was already separated and we had no contact. But as soon as the papers came through, then I felt as if I’d been released. But I only knew this in hindsight. It was the same with the writing pact. I had committed to it many times before, but it was only when I shook hands on the deal and stated it out loud that I felt the shift in myself. I never ever break a promise and so I knew I had to keep this one.
      Being uncertain is not a bad thing, btw, great clarity can come from it, although it’s hard to believe that when you’re in the middle of the fog.

  11. Great advice. I think I made a pact with my readers. Whenever I feel like giving up, I always think of them, and I think: “Well, I don’t want to disappoint them so I will keep going.” And I do. Keep going that is. 🙂

  12. I’m ready to make the pact. I have some re-writing to do and the support will make a big difference.

    The Empress emailed this to me – she’s quite serious about our writer’s group!

  13. I love this story…it’s a ray of hope that even when things seem hopeless, they are never without hope. So glad it worked for you 🙂

    I haven’t made such a pact, but so far, my stubborn nature has kept me going. Life slows down my pace a little, but I’m still at it!

    • Stubborn natures can be a blessing sometimes. And don’t worry about life getting in the way, it all makes for experience, which ultimately makes for better writing. Win win.

  14. Just what I needed and Just what I’ll forget in a few days…

    But thank you Lisa for writing this….

    I’ll be back when I’m more determined 😦

  15. This is a very inspiring post- great for you and your writing buddy!

    Its easy for writing and critique groups to dwindle but its all worth it if you can find a few indivduals who share the same purpose and vision.

  16. Or be like me. Don’t quit even if you don’t find that perfect crit-partner or whatever. I just had to keep writing, no matter the “failures”! 😉 I HAD to write down those stories, even if they stayed in a notebook for years and decades, one day I’ll revive them – I know I will. When I finish the new ideas that keep coming up, that is! 😉
    But then, I’m a compulsive writer… did I already mention this? 😀

    • We know you’re a compulsive writer, Barb, that’s why we love your blog!
      Thanks for pointing out that the pact can be made solo too. I just find that I’m better at keeping promises I make to other people than the ones I make to myself. I’m working on that though.

  17. Pingback: Saturday links and other ramblings « creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator)

  18. Ah! This is just what I needed to read right now as I finally enter into the dreaded submissions arena…It’s so true that the perseverance in and of itself is a major weed-out factor, so while I haven’t shared that handshake with another writer, I’ve certainly made the pact with myself to never give up. Thanks for the morale boost, lady :).

  19. Scuse me sweetheart… It’s been two weeks since your last post.
    Ahem. Just sayin’… is all.
    Luff you heaps. x

    • Hey BEAUTIFUL. Beautiful. Beautiful girl.
      Did that sink in?
      Anyway, I have been busy stressing about pretty much everything and what with Mercury going retrograde and stuff I’ve just been pretty useless really.
      X Lisa
      ps. I’ll pop over to your site and give you the real reason, Rubes, in a minute.

      I could be cracking up here… but has anyone else noticed snow flakes on the occasional blog?

  20. I really needed to read this one, Lisa!!
    I have these urges to get a poem book published.. but something deters me from doing so.. but reading your post here kinda gave me a good boost!!!
    Thank you!!!! 🙂

    • As you already know, I’m one of the bad poets. But if I had your talent, I’d be motivated to get those lovely words out there for all to read.
      Glad to hear I’ve inspired you to take action.
      You are taking action, right?

  21. Great advice Lisa! I made a pact with my “inner writer” to never quit a long time ago, and though it has been about 8 1/2 years, I still haven’t given up. 2011 is a new year so all I can do is cross my fingers and have faith. 🙂

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