Working My Way Out of the Pickle Jar

Diane Lynn Tibert
If the going gets tough, do you park your bus and let rust take over? Or would you shine it up and make another run?

Last Friday, I learned a small local business was going out of business. I had been a patron of this store for more than three maybe four years. Looking back, I could see it was slowly going downhill in the sense that business was slow. Still, it satisfied my needs and I returned on a weekly basis for its product.

While making my final purchase, I asked the shop owner what he would do once he closed his door for the final time. “Find a job to hold me over until something better comes along,” he said.

On the way home, I thought about his answer. Finding a job to hold me over until something better came along is what I did from the age of 16 to 29. Since I’ve realised writing is the something better that came along, I wonder what would happen if I couldn’t afford to write. In other words, what if I had to find a full time job that left little time for writing?

It’s not unheard of. Many writers find themselves in this pickle jar. It’s a hard climb out.

However, I’m almost out of the jar. Just a wee more and I’m Scott-free. But what if I began to slip? What if a newspaper suddenly decides they don’t want to publish my column? What then? Do I slowly go out of business, eventually closing shop?


I am acutely aware that writing is my life. Without it, I’d be working just to survive, always waiting, wanting to get back to it. If my little business began to slip, I’d call in the troops, burn that midnight candle and harass every newspaper, magazine and publisher. I’d change my tactics, learn new tricks and work harder and wiser than I ever had to salvage my writing business.

To me, something better won’t come along. It’s already here. I just have to work to keep it near.

When the going gets tough, would you throw in the towel? Or would you knuckle-down and work harder to keep writing?