You’ve probably said this at least a few times throughout your writing life. You might have actually done it once or twice (or a dozen times).
You quit. You gave up. Or, at least, you’ve wanted to. You’ve thought about it.
Do you face the temptation to give up because you’ve realized writing is no longer your passion?
Do you want to give up because you’ve found something more rewarding?
Do you want to quit because you don’t care about what you’re writing anymore?
Or do you want to quit because it’s hard?
Because writing IS hard. Stopping or avoiding something you’d rather be doing so you can write is unpleasant 95 percent of the time. Getting something started is a challenge like no other. Finishing a writing project is a feat many hopeful writers never master.
Sticking with something from beginning to end is something many don’t have the focus or patience to do. Many people are so worried about everything they do being perfect that they talk themselves out of doing what they want in favor of something safe and judgment-free.
Telling stories is hard. You don’t always know where they’re going, whether or not you’ll have to rewrite something you’re currently working on, how long it’s going to take before you feel your time has been well spent — if at all.
And it takes a lot of time. Like, way more time than you think it will. You spend a lot of time staring at screens deep in thought. The further you dive into a story, the quicker time seems to pass. No one else around you is going to understand that. Writing schedules are weird, and if you aren’t consistent with them, it becomes even harder to jump back in if you’ve stopped writing for a while.
But are any or all of these things worth quitting for? I know not everyone is built to withstand the unpredictable ups and downs of a career or even a serious hobby in writing. And there’s nothing wrong with writing for yourself, or for fun, without the pressure that comes with making everything you publish public.
There are just a lot of people who have great potential, but give up before they give themselves the chance to reach it. I don’t want that to happen to you. I want you to give yourself time to succeed, to learn to face the waiting and the rejection and the pain that ultimately comes along with being a writer.
If you can, don’t give up. Don’t quit because it’s not as easy as you thought it would be. Nothing ever is, really. If writing weren’t a challenge, it wouldn’t be quite as rewarding when our hard work finally pays off.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.