What the heck would YOU do in a situation like this?

I need some advice. Not on which kind of gun to use– I’m not hunting wolverines in Alaska with my uncle.

Shotgun! (Photo credit: irrezolut)

I write two columns for a no-name local newspaper. And today is my deadline. Every month I hem and haw about whether to drop this gig. I’ve done one column for 2.5 years, and another  (children’s piece) for 19 months.

19 children’s stories, and not one of them properly “published.” What would you do?


  • It got me writing regularly.
  • Deadlines are good, because my tendency is to not go back and really finish a story.
  • It keeps my CV looking good. Not that I’m applying anywhere, but it makes me feel better to have something on the resumé.
  • Ego- I get to say I write for a paper.
  • It’s my volunteer work, and gives me an excuse to say no to other volunteer “opportunities.” (my old friend: guilt.)


  • It’s taking time away from my novel. I write  v e r y  s l o w l y . . .  and I don’t want to waste the time.
  • No recognition.
  • No pay.
  • No feedback from the editor.
  • Changes that repeatedly make the stories worse, not better. (That sounds arrogant. May I illustrate? Changes to a recent article were the addition of the words “naturally” and “of course.” Aren’t editors supposed to take out filler?)
  • No camaraderie- I don’t get to hang out with any of the other columnists.
  • It’s gotten stale. I’ve become formulaic and it’s not really a challenge any more.
  • Did I mention NINETEEN children’s stories? Shouldn’t I be shopping those around?

Are there pros I’m missing? What would you do?


9 thoughts on “What the heck would YOU do in a situation like this?”

  1. Those pros are impressive, but I think after this much time, they’re starting to offer you diminishing returns. As to cons, the “It’s gotten stale” sounds to me like a good reason to move on, freeing up your time to concentrate on your novel, or maybe even another project that offers you more challenge and joy. In either case, you should DEFINITELY get those children’s stories out there!


  2. Hello there. Another pro for you – it’s mental exercise! Writing can be hard work, frustrating, fun. Why do we do it? Better than a work-out at the gym, especially if you sit by an open window. Your blog looks interesting – I’ll be following your progress…


  3. I’m late on this reply, and I think there’s no right or wrong answer to your dilemma. But having a column is a unique opportunity. Many years ago, as a newspaper reporter, I was forced to do a column, and I hated it. Now, I wish I had a column. That’s why I started a blog. Personally, I say don’t let go of it, but it’s a very personal decision and you need to do what works for you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s