GIVE UP YOUR WRITING?
Maybe you’ve come across some of the posts asking the question: Have you considered giving up your writing?
In recent days and weeks, I’ve come across several posts, both blog and on Facebook and Twitter, asking similar questions. My blog plans have included this topic for some time, but the increased interest moved this post up on my editorial calendar.
LET’S GET SERIOUS–Have YOU HAD THOUGHTS OF QUITTING?
Perhaps like this rusty relic, an Underwood typewriter from the past, you sometimes feel battered, worn out, at a loss as to how to move on, and you just want to throw up your hands and quit. I think lots of us have.
Last week K.M. Weiland posted a similar question on Facebook. I was stunned when I began typing a comment with the word “yes” front and center! To be honest, I have considered giving up my writing. In fact, as recently as the last few days of 2016. And many times throughout that long and arduous year.
I happen to have a live-in cheerleader, however, my husband, Bob. He won’t let me give up. He too is a creative and in some respects understands the “enemy” when it comes near. Not everyone is as fortunate as I am.
What can cause a writer to give up?
In my case, I felt a heavy cloud of depression and unending conflicts from health issues. I’m certain these were talking over any desire I had to write and finish my memoir. How do I know this? Because as soon as I finished my comment on K.M.’s Facebook post, I turned to thinking about the remaining revisions and edits to my manuscript and discussions I’d had with a publisher.
However, there are many reasons causing us to consider setting our writing aside. Perhaps you have contemplated this decision in the midst of everyday burdens, health issues, and more. Note that K.M.’s Facebook post received 101 comments. You can scroll through and read about some of the reasons given.
reasons writers stop writing
The variety of reasons a writer might be tempted to stop writing is broad and usually personal to the writer. Here are a few:
- Day job and its stresses;
- Health issues–injuries, surgeries, PTSD and more;
- Financial stresses;
- Having and/or adopting children into the family;
- Writer’s block, stuck and can’t get started, hiding muse;
- Critique and/or writing groups;
- Will the truth I am writing hurt friends or family; should I write my story.
- Publishing aspect of sending your book into the world;
- Marketing aspect tiring and overwhelming;
- Lack of encouragement from people in the writer’s life.
Any or all of these things can interfere with your creative life. The one thing to remember is none of these is your fault. However, you are the one who can take charge and make a difference.
Here is a small package of encouragement from Linda Wisniewski, author of Off Kilter: A Woman’s Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, and Her Polish Heritage:
Recently, I’ve begun to think of scoliosis as a metaphor for my life. I’ve struggled to please teachers, employers, parents, boyfriends, husbands, twisting myself into someone I can’t be. I hurt when I do this, because it’s not natural. And it never works. But when I stretch my Self, instead, the results are different. When I’m reaching for my personal goals—to be a good mother, wife, friend and writer—I feel my balance return. And the sense of relief, as I become more the woman I truly am, is simply grand. [emphasis added]
― Linda C. Wisniewski, Off Kilter: A Woman’s Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, and Her Polish Heritage
What to do when the urge to quiT hits?
Take a deep breath, take a walk, meditate, listen to some music you love, read a good book. And think about nothing related to writing for a few moments.
Then, give yourself as much time as you feel necessary to rid yourself of any negative feelings you’re experiencing. It is important to overcome the negativity before attempting to write.
When you feel like you’ve hit that point when writing is something you want to do, try it. Find a quiet place, clear your mind. Try free writing or journalling. Write anything: your thoughts, your feelings, or ideas for a project. It doesn’t have to be structured. Just write.
Perhaps afterwards, in time, you’ll sense a desire to return to that project or outline or revisions you’ve been avoiding. I use the word “avoid” carefully, because we aren’t necessarily avoiding our work. Our lives are avoiding the work, and we are held somewhat victim by our lives.
Remember that rusty Remington typewriter above? Like that typewriter, a little refurbishing and refreshing is all we need to get our writing underway again. From rusty, shabby, unhappy, wandering writers, we can become the writers with initiative, motivation, a desire to write. Like the Remington here, we’ll feel shiny and newly energized!
I’d love to hear from you
Please leave your comments below. It doesn’t matter if you agree, disagree, or feel I’ve missed the mark. Let’s come together for discussion because though many say they would never give up their writing, many of us do feel that emotion. “Talking” about it may help.