Why Quitting Writing Is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

 

sun-and-clouds-on-sunny-winter-day-sig

 

It’s been one year since I quit writing.

When I posted about this, it was heart-breaking.

I cried.

I regretted sharing my decision.

Then I realized how much I needed to post it. To feel it. To publicly admit it.

Here’s the thing. The biggie. I’ve “quit” writing before but I’ve never really quit.

I’ve had a meltdown over a story or a freak-out about my computer crashing (save your work!) or stopped writing out of frustration because I’d been interrupted for the fifteenth time. I’ve had writer’s block, run short on time, gotten sick, had self-doubt… You name it.

I’ve thrown my hands up and shouted, “I quit!”

Those are probably relatable to most writers. There is always something trying to block your way, drain your energy, waste your time, or stifle your creativity.

But when I wrote that post, I well and truly quit.

When I published that post, something inside me shifted.

This wasn’t a writer’s temper tantrum. This was me letting go of my dream. I waited two whole agonizing months to return.

Though, in the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t a long time, it felt like forever.

I thought about losing the creative outlet I’d been using since I was nine years old. I thought about flash and writing prompts and how much I’d miss those. But, honestly, what I thought about most was the fact that the characters in my novels would never finish telling me their stories. I thought about the fact that I would never write another word about these people.

I cried. Again.

 

Truth is, I was in a bad spot and thought quitting writing would take some pressure off. I thought it would give me more time and energy to deal with the crap. What I found was, by taking writing away, I was less able to deal with things.

You know what? I am overwhelmed. I do have a lot going on. There are shitty things happening.

There were a year ago and there still are today.

I did need a break, but not from writing.

I thought my life demanded I let go of my dream. I thought I had to kill a piece of myself, to make room for a new piece—one that could deal with all of the drama, chaos, and responsibilities. But it broke my spirit when I quit.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved putting pencil to paper and creating stories. I’ve always known writing is part of me. It’s not that I discovered this last year, it’s that I got a reality slap. A reminder that I need writing. Not just that I love it—I need it.

I had to feel this, really feel this loss, to fully appreciate how much I needed it.

I am a writer. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.

 

 

The fact that I quit writing played a big part in the publishing of Hinting at Shadows. One year ago I stopped writing and, almost exactly one year later, I am a newly published author. Of a book that I love. One that I’m proud of. One that shows we never know what the future holds. One that proves we cannot bury our dreams.

 

Have you ever given up, quit, or let go of something you loved? Did this hurt or help you? Or both? Did you ever return to what you left?

 

Advertisements

Dream a Little Dream for Me

 

I stopped in the middle of my New Year’s Eve walk to take in this moment—the sun setting on December 31st, 2015.

 

new years eve sunset - sig

 

I stood on the path and thought about my recent posts. I’ve been talking a lot about true colors, my identity crisis, and letting go.

I reread these past few pieces and saw a theme: I’m unhappy with how I perceive myself and how I’ve presented myself to the world.

I had limited space to write a bio about who I am and what did I put in that profile? “Mum. Lifestyle Writer.” Really? That’s who I am? That’s not who I want to be.

And so the sun sets on my old life. It’s bittersweet.

I know I’m supposed to be optimistic in the beginning of January with everything I’m going to accomplish for the New Year. But, as I said in my Scrooge post, I don’t make resolutions.

I do, however, set goals for myself throughout the year.

Have you ever considered quitting to be a goal?

I know the definition of “quit”. I know the connotation of it, as well. (I love turning connotations on their heads.) Quitting is considered bad, something you shouldn’t do.

Ever thought about it in a positive way? Because, of course, we should quit bad habits. I’m all for quitting a job you hate. And, personally, I feel it’s an excellent decision to quit reading a book you’re not enjoying when there are so many good books out there.

What happens when you realize that a dream you’ve harbored for over thirty years isn’t working? When you finally realize that you’re not very good at it? Do you hold on for dear life to that one dream or let it go so you have a chance to discover something else you like that you might actually be good at?

You’ve always wanted to be a ballerina and have worked your whole life to get the lead in The Nutcracker but you’ve only ever been able to get a part as one of the Mouse King’s minions.

There has to be a time when quitting isn’t bad but actually the best thing you can do for yourself. And that time for me is now.

I’m quitting writing.

I don’t enjoy the type of writing I’m doing and had made a decision to switch genres from nonfiction to fiction.

And that was when I had a painful realization… I suck at writing fiction.

I have nothing waiting for me to fill the emptiness where my dream used to be. But I’ve never been one to wait until something better comes along. I will bury my dream. Or, if it sounds better, I will let go of my dream and watch it sail away on the breeze.

People have lots to say about quitting:

“Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed.”

“You just need to try harder.”

“Quitting is not an option.”

“You’re taking the easy way out.”

Easy? Have you ever willingly given up your dream? It’s excruciating.

I’ll continue my blog. It’s a tiny thing, yes, but without being able to write my little Thought Bubbles I’d burst. Get it? Burst my bubble? That was fun. So, yes, I will continue that outlet for my creative longings and hope that is enough.

I’m jumping off the cliff of my dream that I have stood on since I was 9 years old. It’s scary. I might fall. But I might fly.

 

Have you ever given up on your dream? Why? Did something happen to prevent you doing it or did you decide? Was it a specific age (turning 30, 40, 50) or an event in your life? Did you find something you loved after you gave up your dream?

 

Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you — Doris Day