Ever Thought About Quitting This Way?

Pardon my absence lately.

I’ve been super sick for almost a week and until today, just the thought of opening my laptop made me even more nauseous. So I’ve been doing lots of Olympic-watching, sleeping, The Walking Dead, sleeping, a Lethal Weapon marathon, sleeping, and I just started Breaking Bad (I’m one episode in and it’s kind of weird, but I’m intrigued). 

My wife deserves the gold medal for taking care of me and the also-sick kids. Or whatever is better than gold (green and wrinkly maybe?).

Anyway, I’ve been thinking.

Writers often feel like they’re alone in the struggle to conceive and develop a good story. But being at home for practically the last 144 consecutive hours, I’ve stared a lot at our personal library. And I was thinking that behind each book is an author who probably felt they were alone in the struggle.

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Each one probably wanted to give up, to call it quits, to throw their hands in the air and yell, “What’s the point?”

Hell, just a quick glance through your Netflix library, and you can come to the same conclusion. Behind each movie or TV show there’s a writer or staff of writers facing the same struggle.

That’s a lot of movies. A lot of books. A lot of plays. A lot of writers.

So maybe quitting isn’t as common and “normal” as we think. Maybe quitting is actually the weird thing to do. Perhaps quitting actually makes us losers in a world of winners.

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

11 thoughts on “Ever Thought About Quitting This Way?

  1. I don’t usually comment, but I always read your stuff–it’s always good and thought-provoking. But, this. This is much-needed today, Andrew.

    I currently have three projects in the works and one HUGE one looming. I haven’t written a word in over a week. I haven’t been sick, or busy…just uninspired. None of the three current projects would be career-ending or life-altering if I didn’t finish, and honestly, I’ve thought about abandoning them. But, I think you’ve made me re-think that.

    So, yeah…thanks. I hope you and your family are all mended soon! Your wife sounds like a hero to me. 🙂

    1. Philip Pullman always said (or said once) something along the lines of: “Plumbers never get plumbers’ block, so why should writers get writers’ block?” It’s tricky, because writing is a creative pursuit and requires at least some inspiration — but whenever I lose the inspiration I just write, and trust that I will be able to wrestle the resulting heap into something better when the muse returns. Something to do with the art and the craft of writing, perhaps?

      Although it is the most awful feeling …

      1. I think you’re right, Matt. And, normally I do just write through the void and then laugh at it later. This time, though, the lack of inspiration is accompanied by significant laziness. Perhaps that is the real problem? Anyway, this too shall pass, I’m sure. But, yes, it is an awful feeling.

  2. Wanting to quit is a normal part of every writer’s life, sometimes, it seems, on a daily basis. What you have to remember is that all of those people who want to be writers but aren’t can be divided into two classes: those who never started and those who quit. Writers belong to only one class: those who wanted to quit but didn’t.

    1. Well put. I thought about about quitting – and in fact did for 3years – with my first novel, but eventually convinced myself that if I didn’t see it through to the end it would only be more item on my list of Abandoned Creative Projects. It’s incredibly hard to see anything creative through to the end, but incredibly rewarding and inspiring when you do.

  3. I wrote a novel about this mental struggle. I started it many years ago as an attempt at the 30 Day Novel. I quit around day 20 or so. But I picked up what I had written a few years later and finished it. Then I self published and it sold around 12 copies. So maybe the lesson is that what looks like quitting might actually be taking a break. Or maybe the lesson is quitting is really an act of self mercy protecting you from eventual disappointment. Or may the lesson is that writing a book is like riding a roller coaster. The destination (at least in part) is not the point.

  4. I think that this might be the first time that I have ever commented but, I totally get what you’re saying. I have “started” writing a book based on events that have happened to me and I didn’t like where it was going so, I scrapped it. I’ve also tried writing a romance novel as well. It got scrapped too. Sadly, this bothers me because I’m a very creative person when it comes to writing. I think that maybe I need to pray about it some more and then it will come to me.

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