“When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez
And it’s Eastertime too
And your gravity fails
And negativity don’t pull you through
Don’t put on any airs
When you’re down on Rue Morgue Avenue
They got some hungry women there
And they really make a mess outa you.”

Bob Dylan ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’

Good writing isn’t easy even though there are giants amongst us who make it look so. So my advice to you if you are writing a novel like I did a couple of years ago is to stick with it no matter how discouraged you are. And even after you finish and it still turns out badly? You can’t be any worse off than Kerouac when he started writing. Did you ever read his first novel ‘Town and the City’? Crap. Absolute crap. But here is where you want to tell me that he more than made up for it when he slammed out his masterpiece ‘On the Road’ in 3 weeks as legend has it, on a role of teletype paper.

Wrong. He started writing ‘On the Road’ in 1948 and it wasn’t published until 1957. In those 9 years he took it through 2 major drafts where it was still rejected by every publishing house in the country. And it wasn’t until his more successful writing friend, Allen Ginsberg who finally managed to get it in front of a publisher, was the project accepted. And conditionally at that. They insisted on yet another major re-write. Jack Kerouac was a committed craftsman. He wanted to be recognized as a writer so bad that he refused to give up. The same is true for Henry Miller, another expat who preceded the Beats by thirty years.

So if your first book sucks. Write a second book. If that sucks go back and revise the first book or better yet, write a third book. But never (ever) quit writing.

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