9 Reasons to Quit Writing

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

The publication journey isn’t easy, no matter how you approach it. I’m always encouraging people to be patient, persevere through the obstacles, and doggedly pursue their dream. For some people, this means persistence through years or decades.

But… is there a time when you should give up? Maybe so. I could be wrong but I think there are a few signs the publishing journey is not for you.

You may want to stop pursuing publication if…

1. You’re only doing it for the money. (In the majority of cases, the money’s not that great.)

2. You expect the publication journey to be anything other than the hardest job you’ve ever done. (The ups and downs alone can drive you crazy.)

3. You have an aversion to hearing bad news. (The path always seems to be strewn with little firebombs.)

4. The thought of promoting your book still gives you hives. (It’s just reality if you want anyone to read it.)

5. You think Tweeting “Check out my book!” constitutes a good social media strategy. (That’s so 2010.)

6. You expect to receive only four- and five-star reviews on Amazon. (Even War and Peace has 1-star reviews.)

7. You believe selling one book to a publisher means you’re a shoo-in for selling more.(This is only true if your sales on that first book are through the roof.)

8. You truly believe your book is better than all the others out there. (You may be a tad unrealistic.)

9. You think anything else—anything—might make you as happy as writing does. (Because if so, you should go for it!)

What are some obstacles you’ve overcome—and still didn’t quit?

Image copyright: yurolaitsalbert / 123RF Stock Photo

26 Responses

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  1. Oh, heavens. Where to begin?
    * I’ve quit writing fiction, and for publication, because I can no longer do it. Writing physically hurts too much. ‘Agony’ is such a melodramatic word, but it’s daily life here. But I do write, in order of priority:
    1) Encouragement and where I can, editorial help to my friends.
    2) Blog comments, which have become both shorter and fewer. Hate that, but needs must. (Some might applaud, because I was noted for loooong comments!)
    3) My blog, which has been largely taken over by Barbara. I can’t do original content; I do recycle comments I’ve made on other blogs, when they’re relevant and have given good feedback.
    * To be honest, there’s another reason for not writing; I’m out of phase with those I perceive as potential readers. I deal with pain with no opiods (and yes, there are times, like NOW, when I crave them) partly from financial considerations, but also because I don’t want to dilute the honesty of experience, even when the experience makes one beg for the succor of unconsciousness…or death. I want to ride this dragon to the end, and step off its smoking corpse to shake St. Peter’s hand and go through the Pearly Gates doing cartwheels.
    * Even I understand that it’s lunacy, and that no reader would want to read that kind of message. You have to be here to understand, and if you ARE here (and I hope you aren’t) you don’t need no stinkin’ book to get it.

    • I look forward to the day when you are free of pain and doing cartwheels. Praying for you and for times of little to no pain.

      • Crystal, thank you so much. The words of Bob Dylan have lately come to mind, in a gentle and terrible beauty –
        “I see my light come shining
        from the west unto the east;
        any day, now,
        any way, now,
        I shall be released.”

    • Susan Sage says:

      I’m sorry for all of the pain you endure, Andrew. Because of my own physical issues over most of my 58 years, I soooo understand the idea of begging for the “succor of unconsciousness…or death.” I also want to ride this to the end. But, don’t ever doubt that your words, those you can punch out through the pain, have an continue to be an encouragement to the readers. Changing our focus is useful though difficult at times. Be encouraged, my writing friend, your words have touched more hearts than you will know until we’re all made new and standing before God’s throne together. Until then…endure on dear son of God…endure on. Your time of blessing others here is not finished yet. Stand fast even when you can’t stand. God bless you.

      • Susan, your words have truly brightened what has been an almost unendurable day. It’s God’s Grace that has put my words into the hands and hearts of so many people…and it’s God’s Hands and Heart, working through this community, that have helped me to stand against the fall of night. I’ll keep going.

    • Mary R. P. Schutter says:

      Andrew, you just made my day. I haven’t attempted to do a cartwheel for years and would probably hurt myself if I did. The thought of being able to do cartwheels in heaven with you is delightful! And as far as no readers wanting to read what you have to say about your current life condition, that, dear boy, is lunacy. You have helped me through rough and painful days with your wise words (like you, no drugs). Thank you so much for reminding me that my wimpy pain is nothing compared to what you are bravely enduring. We love you, Andrew.

      • Mary, you’ve brought tears to me eyes, and resolve to my heart. And carried thus by love when I can no longer stand, how can I keep from singing…and doing metaphorical cartwheels…and writing. Thank you so very, very much.
        * Not quitting. Not now, not ever. My wife keeps telling me that pain is merely weakness being forced from the body, and that blood makes the grass grow green. On this fell and glorious day, I guess it’s time to own it.

  2. Words are going to work their way out one way or another. I can’t turn them off like a water faucet. Publishing is optional. Writing isn’t.

  3. Toni Wilbarger says:

    At a conference, I pitched my book and the editor said, “Well, that’s not for us,” and he cut off the session. Just like that. My writing mentor once told me he’d scheduled a time for me to meet with his publisher. Afterward, he spoke as if they were going to buy my book very soon. Nothing ever came of it, but my mentor got a three-book deal from them. Then several years ago, an agent said my book had promise, but she wanted me to rewrite it and resubmit. I did what she asked, but by the time I resubmitted she’d moved on from that agency to become a writer herself. And in between times, my books have been rejected over and over again. Somehow, though, I still persist. I keep waiting for God to tell me it’s over, but He hasn’t. Until that time, I will keep writing, submitting, and hoping.

  4. Thanks for posting this. I’m keeping the link handy for those emails I get from dear stunned and disillusioned women who want me to help them make their writing dreams come true. It’s always so difficult to reply with simply, “A career in writing isn’t at all like you imagined.”

  5. I loved your humor and realism here, Rachelle. Obstacles to overcome: Fear. Dealing with fear and moving forward in spite of it, is one of the biggest obstacles I have (and still) face.
    *Thankfully, blogs like this one help develop a realistic mindset when it comes to this writing journey.

  6. Susan Sage says:

    These are great, Rachelle. Some made me laugh at the absurdity of how real they are. Others caused me to stop and wonder if that’s what I think. I appreciate writing that causes pause.

  7. All true. The writing journey is not what I expected it to be. My one regret is that I didn’t start sooner learning the craft and diving into it with my all. But there was a family to feed and a life to lead. Whenever I feel like I’m caving, letting discouragement overwhelm me, I shake it off and remind myself why I’m doing this. There’s much joy in writing what we’ve been given. And that’s a good thing. Thanks, Rachelle.

  8. Here, at the end of hope and on the crumbling edge of the abyss of pain, the Books and Such crew – you guys – have wrapped me in love and have given me the support to stand, and to turn and wait for the dawn.
    * Pancreatic cancer has been a blessing, because only through it have I learned how much love there is in the world, and how the buoyancy of the faith of others can hold my head up when I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of blood.
    * You guys are truly the Body of Christ, and I’ll pay it forward with everything I have left, by writing when and how I can of these friends whom I shall only meet in Heaven, whose hearts light the way to glory.

    • Elissa says:

      Andrew, your faith and your endurance inspire even those of us who are merely lurkers on this blog. I have not met you (in this world) but I shall never forget you or your words.

    • Mary Kay Moody says:

      Like Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ arms when he grew weary. Even strong people get weary and allow help. I’m grateful this group helps lift up your head, Andrew. You have blessed us mightily.

      • Mary Kay, if I’ve been able to bless, it’s because I have been mightily blessed here. This community means the world to me, and in point of fact it IS a very large part of my world. When you can’t get out (not since the 2016 election) and speaking is difficult, you learn that the virtual world is not necessarily ‘virtual’ at all; there are real hearts, and there is real love.
        * And the metaphor of Aaron and Hur is more real than you may know…swollen and extremely painful lymph nodes make the sides of my chest hurt so much that I am compelled to hold my arms out. An alternative is to interlace my fingers atop my head, but I don’t really care for looking freshly arrested!

  9. Lot of tough-love in your post, Rachelle. I haven’t been on my writing journey for long, but I’m learning that it’s a lot like my Christian walk: Success comes in stages, there’s a lot of falling down and getting back up, and there’s a lot of waiting for the answers I’m hoping for.

  10. Mary Kay Moody says:

    The first big contest I entered with a novel, I was a finalist. When I did’t win I considered myself a loser and that was the end of my writing. God & I talked about it all night. But the next day I knew it was just a step in a longer journey.

    And ditto Jeanne that B & S blog helps us learn the ways of this journey so we’re able to make better use of our time and manage expectations. Thanks, Rachelle!

  11. Pat Iacuzzi says:

    Strong reminders, Rachelle…thank you.
    I’m still overcoming obstacles–one step at a time. That’s life–that’s writing.
    The Lord has written our names in His Book of Life.
    The beauty of the universe is endless, yet He is walking right beside us.
    No matter how difficult things get in life: “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually…”
    Same with our stories…as we live them or write them.
    Praying for you daily, Andrew.