Monday, 20 April 2015

A to Z Challenge: I advise you to Quit.

Very interesting article written by Moira Allen about the fine art of Quitting (or not). Go read it. I'll wait.

Every writer is faced at one time or another with the question of whether or not they should quit.

Sometimes one simply runs out of mojo. I'm okay with giving a writer permission to quit. 

When someone says to you, "I just want to quit writing (or whatever)," they're looking for one of two responses: "No, keep going!" or "It's okay to quit." They pose this because they are unsure and are looking for external validation one way or the other.

Now, whenever I'm presented with that question, I always advise them to quit. This is not because I really want them to quit writing, but because I want them to realise what they truly want to do.

It's all in how they respond to my answer.

If their "You think I should quit?" is accompanied with a worried expression, they're not ready to let go of their writing. If they have doubts about quitting, maybe they should keep writing until they are more sure they want to quit.

But if their response comes with a sigh of relief, even if their words say otherwise, then let them quit, and let them find joy therein.

Advising quitting is a far more honest response, which will serve them best in the long run. True can't-not-write writers will always find a way to write, even when they go in hiatus for a while through the valley of the shadow of death. (We writers often take breaks. It's necessary.)  If writing is not their One True Passion, then quitting will not destroy them. They will go on to find another way to satisfy their souls.

Compare that to the misguided, if optimistic advice, "No, don't quit! Keep writing!"

Sure, we all want to hear something positive and uplifting, especially when we're down. But sometimes, when we're down, we're tired. We need a break.

But for someone who doesn't realise that it's okay for a writer, even a professional career writer, to take a break, telling them to keep writing might be the last thing they need.

And what if this person, deep down, doesn't want to be a professional career writer? What if, in their innermost soul, they do want to quit?

To tell someone like this to keep going, when really they don't want to, is a bad idea. It puts social pressure on them to persist in something that they really don't want to do, ultimately.

If someone had truly made up their minds to quit writing, they'd not bother with saying, "I want to quit."  They'd simply quit, with little or no fanfare. Writing is no longer an important part of their life. Let their past fade.


If a person is destined to be a writer, at whatever level, let them quit. 

It'll only be temporary and may be just the thing they need.

Her Grace wrote this as a response on a mailing list last month. She liked it so much, she had to share it here.


Kevin Brown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Moonie said...

True - but it is good to always have a creative outlet
(so if you take a writing breather then sing)

Happy A to Zing

Mars said...

I think that's great advice about the response to quitting, I have been wondering about quitting some things so I applied it to myself... I'm going to keep hold of this nugget!

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