How to Keep Writing When You Want to Quit


Note: This is a guest post by Ali Luke.. Ali has been writing for a living for eight years, and she blogs weekly about the art, craft, and business of writing on her site Aliventures .. You’re at your desk, and the words just aren’t flowing.. You feel like getting up and walking away from your writing… and never coming back..

However much you love writing, it’s hard at times. It can feel like a relentless, unrewarding slog.

And those doubts (that were at the back of your mind all along) start getting louder:

“No one cares about what I write.”

“No one’s ever going to read this.”

“I’m wasting my time.”

I’m too old (or too young) to be a writer.”

“I might as well give up.”

… and maybe you do give up, for a day or a month or even years – but writing draws you back in.

Trust me, I know what it feels like. I’ve been writing for a living for eight years now, and writing novels for far longer, and I still find myself questioning. Doubting. Thinking about quitting.

Sometimes, of course, quitting is sensible. There’s no point carrying doggedly on with a project that you’ve long ago lost all interest in.

But often, quitting isn’t the right choice. A week later, or a month later, or five years later, you find yourself wishing you’d just stuck with writing a little longer.

(After all, since you’re reading this post, it’s a safe bet that deep down you don’t want to give up.)

Here’s how to decide when to stick with it and when to quit, whether you’re considering giving up on a single project, or writing altogether.

#1: Should You Give Up on a Writing Session?

Twenty minutes into your planned writing hour, you’ve accomplished precisely nothing. Maybe you wrote a sentence or two, hated them, and promptly deleted them. You’re feeling very, very tempted to give up and try again tomorrow.

Occasionally, this might be the right choice. If you’ve hit a block in your work-in-progress, for instance, perhaps you need to take a step back and do some extra planning.

Often, though, the reluctance is because you’re tired or in a bad mood or overwhelmed. So:

  • Set a timer for five minutes, and write—without deleting!—until your time is up. You can do anything for five minutes, however much you don’t feel like it initially.
  • Now, reassess. Do you want to carry on? If you still really don’t feel like writing, stop. Be kind to yourself. You might want to spend a few extra minutes journaling about why you’re feeling blocked, or what’s going on in the rest of your life.

Of course, one skipped session isn’t going to derail your project – just like one cupcake isn’t going to ruin your diet.

The problem is that one skipped session usually leads to another – and the longer you spend away from your work, the more resistance you’ll feel toward getting started again.

#2: Should You Give Up on Your Work in Progress?

TO CONTINUE READING Go to the Source: How to Keep Writing When You Want to Quit

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