Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Right Words at the Right Time

by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

This cycle's theme at GBC is in the title of this post. For my entry, I'm going to focus on the right words I said, because I'm lazy and it's easy.

Any time I get asked in an interview to give advice to other writers, I always say the same thing. First, I say that you must read, read, read everything you can get your hands on, because you can't be a good writer if you're not a great reader. And then I say to always remember:

The only person who can ever really take you out of the game is you.

I've said it countless times. It's one of the truest things I know.

Sometimes I'll hear from writers who will say those words spoke to them. The most memorable instance was at a writing conference. A woman came up to me and said she'd been writing book after book, trying to get published for 20 years. Let me say that again: 20 years. "In my darkest hours, I'd remember what you said and, somehow, I'd keep going. And now my book is going to be published by a New York publishing company."

In a career with many great joys - and many agonies! - that stands as one of my proudest moments.

And the thing is: those words are true. Most writing careers are peppered with other people saying some version of "no." Agents reject you, or maybe you get an agent but they drop you; publishers reject your book, or you sell one book but can't seem to sell another - there are myriad ways others say "No." But no one can tell you: No, you can't do this anymore; you have to stop trying; you have to stop writing. People can say, "You can't play with me," but no one else can say you can't play. Only you can do that.

So, you want to write? Then write. Maybe people will say no to you. Maybe they'll say no for 20 years. But no matter what anyone else says, if you want to write, then just keep writing. Because it's true today and it'll be true tomorrow, because it's always been true:

The only person who can ever really take you out of the game is you.

I'm sure my GBC sisters will be reluctant to post their own "right words" in the comments - they'll likely want to save those for their own posting days! - but feel free to do so if you'd like or tell me about anything else good and inspiring, even share good news if you have it.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of 32 books. Her most recent pet project is THE DISRESPECTFUL INTERVIEWER: THIRTEEN INTERVIEWS WITH AUTHORS. Check her out at or follow her on Twitter at @LaurenBaratzL



  1. What great "right words"!

    I tell people that I'm certain there are those who write better than I; the difference is I didn't give up. So much of this weird world we choose is simply showing up. Showing up. Showing up.

    32 books---amazing!

  2. Wow, 20 years is a long time! I admire her persistence, faith, and that she never gave up on her dreams. Although I hope that most of us writers won't have to wait so long to see our literary babies all grown up, published, and distributed, I DO hope that we all continue to persist and fulfill our dreams. :)

  3. Such an inspirational post, Lauren! The perfect thing to start the week!!

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  5. Thanks for the kind words, all!

    As for the sales bot, how'd you get in here?