When You Want to Give Up on Writing

destroyedThis will not be an inspiring post. It’s going to be a pragmatic one. If you want to read something inspiring about how everyone can be a writer and how you should never give up, there are dozens of blogs to provide that. Hell, I’d venture you’d be able to find a few hundred if you spent the time looking for them.

So I’ll leave the well-wishing and the puppy cuddles to those guys; it’s not what I’m after right now.

What I want to discuss is the dirty grit of writing: the way to break past that growing voice inside yourself that tells you time is being wasted. That repeats every negative bit of conversation you’ve had with friends and family and other writers about how you might not be cut out for this: how you just might not be that good.

Sure, they might be right. Let’s face that right now–you might not be that good. You might be horrible, in fact, and anyone who says that’s impossible is either your mother or lying to you. Maybe both.

A writer isn’t someone who writes. It isn’t someone who feels the gentle embrace of the Muse and pours sweet honey on the pages. The Muse doesn’t exist, and that honey doesn’t either. A writer is someone who braces themselves into writing horrible, trite, conceited work and then takes out a grinding stone and works that junk into something worth reading.

And it takes a hell of a lot of work to do just that.

A writer is someone who is able to repeatedly take what they write and destroy it. They are someone who is capable of hearing themselves say “this isn’t good enough” over and over without losing heart that what they are doing is worth the time to do it. It’s someone who gets a hundred more rejections than acceptances–and who can treat both of those results with the same passive agreement.

A writer is someone who recognizes that they don’t want to play the game of writing anymore, and keeps on writing past that point. Tenacity is the key to a writer, and to not giving up on writing.

So the next time you wake up to a slew of rejections, self-doubt and crushing negativity (coming from your own mind or those around you who can’t understand why you waste your time), remember this: you singed on for this. A writer’s life is one of scars that have healed up poorly, but healed up all the same.

This is exactly what you wanted, so buck up and take it.


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