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

 

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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?

 

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Unremarkable Me

 

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I’m exceptionally ordinary.

I realized this while struggling with my author bio.

Honestly, I already knew but it’s really in your face when you’re trying to create anything that requires you to write in third person the answer to an unanswerable question: Who am I?

I’m me. Just me.

Unremarkable.

I’m not being self-deprecating but I am wondering…

Why does everyone need to be special?

Everyone is unique. Not the same thing.

Let’s face it. We want our bios to be memorable. That’s the point, isn’t it?

I went through this last year while trying to write a social media profile and “About Me” page for my blog. I had a major WIC (Writer’s Identity Crisis) and deleted myself.

But this. It’s so…final. An author bio, many experts say, can make or break you. Break me? Eek. They’re right! I can’t just cut and paste and fix it. It’s there. In writing. Forever.

Eh. Okay. So it is.

No matter how many times I rewrite it, I’ll most likely look at it in a few months and wonder what the hell I was thinking. So I’m going to accept that and let it go. And while I’m at it, accept who I am on paper.

A unique yet ordinary woman.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you have difficulty writing your bios? Do you change them often or write them and leave them alone? Do you try to present yourself as ‘special’ in some way? Do you even remember what your bio says anymore?

 

 

Upon Closer Examination

 

It’s been a month since I became nobody.

 

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The time has come, my online friends, to talk of other things. Like words and life and what I like, of Lemon Sharks and fins! (Sorry, Lewis.)

I must get on with it. A month, you know? I thought a perfect profile would just gradually, you know, appear to me. Like in a dream or something.

It didn’t.

My bio is still blank. My “About Me” page isn’t about me.

Though it’s been a while since I had my writer’s identity crisis, I’m going through a second crisis.

Who am I?

I don’t know.

So I asked my friends and family. It was kind of pathetic. Both that I had to ask them and, also, what they answered.

“A mum.”

“A writer.”

Argh!

I need to get something online already. My own blog is mocking me. WordPress dashboard says:

“Tip: Update your about page so your readers can learn a bit about you.”

*sigh*

I know.

I should have an ‘about’ page on the Reef, change the one I have on Lemon Shark, and completely rewrite my website. Also, I need a bio for Gravatar, Twitter, and Google+.

It should be easy. But it’s not. Not when you know you have a few words to say everything about yourself. Not when you know you will be judged by those words. Not when you don’t even know who you are anymore.

Upon closer examination, I’m still nobody.

 

There’s pressure to have everything just right. People write blog posts and articles with tips on how to make your ‘about’ page, your profile, and your bios just right. It all must be just right.

If you start snooping around ‘about’ pages, you’ll see some with “I like cheese” (instant follow), and others who fill the page with their accomplishments and links to their writing. So we’re getting murky again—with the separating who you are from what you do.

I have an ‘about’ page and a ‘work’ page. Some agree with this, some don’t. Contradictions in the world wide web of writing. I feel like I’ve said that before… Anyhoo.

I guess, when it comes down to it, these are important. They’re the first things a lot of editors and agents look at. They want a quick glimpse at who you are. So there is a certain amount of pressure involved in presenting yourself to the world. You wouldn’t walk into an office for a job without showering, brushing your teeth, and putting on deodorant. (At least I hope you wouldn’t.)

Whether you want to snag an agent, get published, gain followers, or just blog and eat some cheese, your ‘about’ page must be about you. It must be you. Most importantly, whatever it is you choose to write, it must be in your voice. Because that’s what we’re expecting when we click off that page and read your blog.

Bottom line, as I see it, is this: Be Yourself.

 

Do you struggle with bios, profiles, and ‘about’ pages? Do you talk about who you are and what you like? Or do you use this space to promote what you’ve written?

 

I’m Nobody! Who Are You?

 

I’m having a writer’s identity crisis.

 

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I can’t decide what to write.

Social media introduces me to the world as…

 

Who am I?

Articles, books, and blogs stress how important it is to have a niche. A platform. A brand. How crucial it is keep your “About Me” page updated and create a kick-ass profile. What I write defines who I am.

Cue the freak-out.

I don’t have a niche.

My “About Me” page doesn’t reflect who I am anymore.

My profile? That’s not me.

What type of writing should I focus on? Nonfiction? Fiction? What genre? What am I doing? What’s my blog about? Who am I?

I could just change my profile but I don’t want something hastily written in the midst of a crisis. It’s seen by far too many people who judge you by those 10-20 words. (They do.) And I don’t want to tweak it every week on a whim.

So.

I’ve deleted my profile. I know. You can’t do that. It’s so bloody important to have one. But I don’t. Not right now.

I am officially nobody.

I thought that would send me into a panic but, honestly, it feels…

Good.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Have you ever had a WIC (Writer’s Identity Crisis)? What did you do? How did you find your way? Or did you?

 

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Emily Dickinson

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

Ah, my beloved Emily. She’s always there when I need her.
(Poets.org)