This journey to becoming a published author is nothing short of an agonizing, torturous road leading to nowhere…so, I quit.
Yep, that’s right. You heard me.
Writing is a lonely task filled with never-ending conversations with figments of the writer’s imagination. The ongoing task of choosing precisely the right word, the word that’s not too big or too small, but one that’s just right. It’s maddening.
And the time spent simply sitting and clacking away at the keyboard when you’d rather be doing anything but clacking away at the keyboard… it gets to you after a while.
The time spent isolated in a room by yourself while your family carries on around you.
The rejections. The critical remarks. The scoffing. The ridicule. At least that’s what I told myself.
Being a writer is hard work folks. It’s not for the faint hearted by any means. It’s work–real work. And when it’s something that you care deeply about, the pain you feel at being discouraged by it cuts to the quick.
But it calls to people like me. People who create entire worlds in their minds with characters so real we sob when they hurt and we feel the sting of rejection when they are torn apart by critics.
People who cannot help themselves. We have to write. We have to feel the keys beneath our fingers, hear the steady clattering of the keyboard, the cursor blinking and moving with each letter that pours from our heart.
So we continue to strive and beat our heads against our desks trying to make something from nothing while the world seems to pass us by. While we wait to be agented, or wait to be published, or wait for The Big Idea to finally hit us. We strive and strive to build platform, doing one thing and then another on social media, spending time we do not have on something that seems so trivial. But isn’t.
It’s pointless. All the striving. All the moments of panic when we realize that we are indeed, not good enough. That the publishing world is passing us by.
That is when we need to quit.
If we are only striving, if we are beating our heads and moaning. It’s time to quit.
I’m not saying to throw in the towel on writing…I’m saying it’s time to quit writing like that.
Two simple questions are all it takes to put it in perspective.
Why do you write?
For whom are you writing?
Are you writing to be the next JK Rowling or Stephen King? Or are you writing to be you?
Are you writing for fame and glory?
Are you writing for the money?
Are you writing because God called you to write?
Are you writing to show your kids what it looks like to go after a dream so big it seems impossible without God.
So, do you get where I’m going with this?
If you’re striving and striving and bashing your head day in and out and moaning and groaning and panicking that all the good ideas have already been taken and you’ll never get to 10,000 likes on your Facebook page let alone 500…it’s time to stop. This is not what writing is about. I had to learn that the hard way and actually quit for a while until God got my head back on straight.
So when you find yourself in that place where all that’s left is misery and striving in your writing…quit. Refocus yourself. Remind yourself why you write and whom you’re writing for.
At the end of life, the only things that truly will matter were how much we loved God and how much we loved others. Striving, striving, striving, panicking, groaning, fearing…that’s not the life God has called you to have.
So quit writing and start living. Start chasing that dream, but don’t let your dream take control of you. And when those pesky doubts and naysayers threaten to overwhelm you, take a deep breath, say a prayer, and set your timer. You are the master of your own writing, not the other way around.
And listen, when it gets too much, when you’re watching your kids growing from a distance instead of living life with them because you’re too busy striving or your husband or friends haven’t seen you in ages, stop. Please. That’s not writing. That’s letting it master you.
If you need to quit, it’s ok. I won’t judge you. I’ve been there.
But I encourage you not to stop. Keep pressing on. But stop striving. Stop trying to make it happen. Instead, find your joy again and let it unravel.
Blessings and joy to you today friends,
Have you ever had times when you were striving instead of living? How did you deal with it?