When You Feel Like Giving Up
Most of the people I associate with are interested in writing in some capacity. Authors, editors, hobbyists and those who wish they were all of the above. If you read this blog, its likely you write, or at least, wish you did. Which is fantastic, of course. People who love writing are the exact people I want to spend more time with. I love my tribe.
A few times a month though, on my twitter or facebook feed, I see someone who is close to giving up. Or, more likely, they want to write, but haven't been able to for a long time, have been beaten down by rejections, or have lost the passion for the project they are working on.
They ask their community for advice, or even if they should just give up completely. This is almost always met with an outpouring of support and encouragement. Often with a few tips or suggestions, and a few people reminding, whoever it is, to be kind to themselves and that they have been going through a lot lately.
The problems, advice and responses are always pretty much the same, which will either be reassuring, or disheartening, if you have recently been in that situation.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
If you want support and reassurance, posts like those I have mentioned are a good idea. There is no shame in giving your friends and family a chance to give you the love and support they feel, but rarely get to show.
If an ego boost is what you need, that is perfectly okay.
However, if you are really, honestly umming and ahhing about if you want to dedicate your time and energy to writing anymore, I have an exercise that may help you make that decision.
No one else can make the choice for you, either. No matter how well someone knows you and your life, they can't make the right call for you. Only you can make that call. However, I hope this exercise will make it very clear to you what the right call is.
The 'Should I Write' Exercise:
1. First, get a notepad and pen,or open a new word document. At the top of the page write:
"Why I Want To Write".
2. Under that, write a list of reasons why you want to write. Keep writing until you can't think of any more. Aim for between 20-30. Be honest, put things you would never admit out loud on there. Things like impressing people (maybe a specific person), making money, proving someone wrong, etc.
3. When you have your list of 20-30 very private reasons why you want to write, go through that list and try and come up with other ways you could achieve those things. EG: If you reason is 'Getting Rich' you could list things like 'Get a better job' or 'Ask for a raise'.
4. When you have gone through the entire list and come up with other ways to achieve the same results or feelings, look through the list again. Is there anything you want from writing you can't get anywhere but writing? Is there any real reason to keep writing?
Some of the reasons you might not be able to satisfy any other way include things like:
- I get a special joy from writing I can't get elsewhere.
- I want to share a specific story with the world.
- I need a way to get these ideas out of my head so they leave me alone.
- I needed stories like this growing up and they didn't exist.
Now you will either have a list of compelling reasons that you MUST write, or you will have a list of things you can do with your life that will make you equally happy.
I can't tell you what conclusion you will come to, but I can tell you by the end you will have a good idea if you want to keep writing, and why. Or why not. Maybe you have realized all the things you want from writing you can get elsewhere and there is no need for it in your life. Or maybe you will have realized why you need to write and feel invigorated again.
Either way, good luck moving forward, for all the right reasons.