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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

I Quit! (Or do I?)

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which is the date that the Insecure Writer's Support Group holds its monthly blog hop.

If you haven't heard of the IWSG, you need to look into it:

To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.  It's a good place to go to for advice, reassurance and a lot of enjoyment.

Today's question is:

Did you ever say “I quit”? 
If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

This month's co-hosts are:
JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner  

Go visit their pages!

So...  Have I ever decided to quit writing?  

No, I can't say that I  have.  I  have been discouraged, I have wanted to burn whatever story I was working on, and call various people idiots for various reasons, but I haven't decided to quit.  How can I?  I'm a writer.

...But I have trickled to a near-halt.  Inertia.  I wrote about it, obliquely, here and here.  I've been in dry spots, as you see.  Sometimes they seem to stretch on forever, and you wonder if they will ever stop.

I am in one right now. I haven't published anything new in three years.  I have followers, people have read my work, but I haven't put anything out.  Sales are falling off.  

I have a number of works in progress.  The second book in my Orphan's Tale series is nearly complete.  It was delayed, in part, by a plot revelation that required an internal rewrite. But it is nearly finished...and I haven't touched it in a year.  I have a fable, a 'short' (say, 45,000 words) that is nearly done. Nearly.  There are several stories in my Memphis Cycle that were coming along.

So what happened?

Life.  Eldercare issues.  Work issues.  Money issues.  (It costs me nothing to write, thank goodness).  And I have been very tired.  Very tired.  It's hard.

A friend told me of a time that she was discouraged.  She was at a show, and was talking with the man who had been mentoring her.  She recounted children problems, worries about her husband's job, illness, disappointment.  It was all so hard, she said.  Her mentor, who had been busy jotting notes about the things that were going on at the show, said without looking up, "Quitting is easy." 

My friend stopped speaking.  Quitting is easy.  But it was not an option those ten years ago.  She moved past that point and is doing well.

As for me, quitting is easy, I suppose.  Except that I can't quit.  I am a writer.  I write stories.  I have stories to write.  I can't go back.  I don't want to.  And I have been through this before and may well go through it again, all things being equal.  I'll survive.

So...  What can I do to get out of this particular situation?

I can wake up.  My job issues are behind me, along with that job.  I will set my timer for, say, half an hour.  And during that half hour I will write.  At my desk.  On my laptop.  No internet.  Just write.

Sales are down?  I'll finish the various books, half an hour at a time, and get them out there.  

Writing doesn't need to be lonely: I have begun to participate in writing activities.  Joined groups (including rejoining IWSG).  Maybe go on a retreat.

And I will get more sleep.  That's more important than I realized.

The blog hop is here.  Check it out!


  1. I think there are seasons with writing too; sometimes life is too busy, and if you're not under contract or have deadlines, it is likely the thing to fall away. But if those stories keep piling up in your head, they have to go somewhere!

    Here's mine: http://www.stephaniescott.net/2017/06/insecure-writers-support-group-survive-little-quits/

  2. Life. Work. Money. Yes, yes, yes. Those things can sure put a damper on writing.

  3. Life is always getting in the way of the life we want to lead. It sounds like you've at least grabbed onto a great perspective, see how to dig yourself out of the hole, go forward. I wish you good luck on the follow through.

  4. Sometimes, things have to give and writing can go by the wayside. That doesn't mean we don't think about it a lot or come up with ideas or even maybe research a little as we go along. But sometimes, you just can't devote all that much time to it. It happens. You'll want to put them down and get cracking on them at some point!

  5. There's ebb and flow in most aspects of life. I don't know why we think writing will be different (but we do, or at least I do). There's a difference between quitting and putting something on the backburner so a more urgent call can have your fuller focus.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  6. Oh, sleeeeeep. I'm sorely lacking that. In fact, I was just sitting here pondering a little shuteye once I finish visiting some blogs!

  7. That was me last year. So much happened in real life that I didn't feel like doing ANYTHING.

  8. I like your comment about writing not needing to be lonely. I think the support I get from the online community is a huge part of what keeps me going and not having completely thrown in the towel.

  9. I've never deliberately quit quit. There have been times in my life where I'm not writing but I figure it's always temporary and I'll get back to it again, and I always do. I don't fret over "writer's block" either. I'm either writing or not writing, and don't see it as a big deal either way.

  10. Hi Diana - life just has its challenges but we go on - and your mind will be dreaming stories and actions ... and as you note the community support is wonderful ... keep on and I'm sure things will come right, writing will start again - cheers Hilary

  11. Awesome post! Keep moving forward!

    Thank you,
    Heather M. Gardner
    Co-Host/Admin IWSG

  12. Back to say I've nominated you for the Liebster Award!