As writers, we discuss lots of ups and downs. Writer’s block, in particular. But what about something stronger than writer’s block?
What about feeling like you want to give up?
“Giving up” is hard to define. Quite frankly, the definition will be different for every writer. One author might feel like giving up writing altogether, while another writer might only want to give up pursuing publication. These two versions of “giving up” are very different, but could appear similar to those on the outside.
This is why defining what you want to “give up” is important.
By considering what, exactly, you are giving up, you might realize what is actually making you so miserable.
For instance, I’ve talked to a lot of authors who feel like giving up because marketing is so difficult, or getting an agent feels impossible, or self-publishing is too expensive. But all of these issues have solutions that don’t involve giving up everything. If marketing is difficult, reevaluate what and where you’re marketing. Consider posting less. (Your readers will understand, trust me.) If querying agents/publishers is putting you down, slide that goal aside for a while. Write something new instead. If self-publishing is too expensive, save up or consider options like Patreon. This list goes on and on. Many writing issues that cause the “giving up” bug have solutions. Sometimes stepping away and taking a break will help clear your mind so you can sort things out.
But what about actually wanting to give up writing?
Who knows what caused it. Maybe it was one major disappointment that took place on one horrible afternoon. Maybe it was a million disappointments all compounded together over time. Either way, feeling like you want to give up is valid. It’s okay. And if you choose to give up, that’s okay, too. One of my recent writer friends actually took this path—not because they couldn’t handle the stress of a writing career, but because they no longer felt joy while writing their last two books. Until they get that joy back, they don’t want to write anymore. That is their choice.
I know I won’t give up. Not right now. Not any time soon. Hopefully, never. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt this way sometimes. It happens every now and then—more than I’d like to admit—but many authors have felt this way, and we either overcome it, or we move on to a new dream.
In the end, I will never judge an author for shelving their manuscripts. It’s their life. I will support their decision to leave, and I will welcome them back with open arms—both as a reader and a fellow writer—if they ever choose to return.
Just because a writer gives up on writing, doesn’t mean the community has to give up on the writer.
But I hope no one gives up on their dreams,
P.S. My first audiobook is going on tour! You can listen to free review copies and interview the narrator and me by signing up here.
17 thoughts on “Authors Who Give Up”
I think it’s natural to have the feelings of giving up or being so distracted by life and its challenges that writing seems luxurious or not as important. If we actively choose to make it important and ignore those voices and thoughts about “you should be doing something else”, I think it’s easier to work through it. Then again, my voice is always saying “Get writing” and I find myself actively drained from everything else going on.
Absolutely! At first, I used to feel guilty when I’d get in lost in emotional slumps about my writing, but once I embraced that those darker times were just a part of every writer’s life, they didn’t feel as strong or last as long. When the “give up” bug bites me, I try my best to concentrate on why I want to keep writing instead of why I feel like quitting.
Thank you for sharing your story!
Giving up is a scary prospect but without giving something up we can never move into something else. I guess its in the giving up we can find our next step. Sometimes giving up is what we need to do to get back to the joy.
Very true! I gave up a lot of traveling opportunities for my author life this year so that I could take on a new job in publishing. It hurt to make that decision, but, at the same time, it was the right thing for another aspect of my life.
Thank you for reading and commenting!
I’ve actually started writing the novel that I had in mind to do after like 2 months of brainstorming/outlining.
That is awesome!
With the demands of my day job and family, I’ve thought about giving up on writing from time to time, but then I have to reexamine why I’m doing it. It’s not fame, fortune or anything material that keeps me doing it. It’s simply the love of the process. As soon as that goes away, that’s the correct time to think about quitting. It hasn’t even come close to getting to this point yet, so I doubt it will happen.
Thank you for sharing your story! I’m sure many writers can relate. Balancing everything is so tough!
When I’ve done everything I can think of and nothing seems to work, that’s when I think about quitting. I’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years, after all. If I stopped writing, it would be more in the sense of retiring than giving up.
That is an excellent point! Thank you for sharing!
I’ve gotten to points where I feel like I’m not making any kind of impact and that what I write isn’t even being read. So in those cases, i think that since I have a trilogy, I could be done and no one would care. Then you go to book fairs and people you’ve never corresponded with tell you about your own book and want to know what’s next.
A great point! Events are always a fun way for authors to remind themselves of all the readers that surround them. 😀
Thank you for reading and commenting, Jonas!
I’ve definitely considered giving up — as recently as this week, actually. I feel like part of it comes, as you said, from marketing, but also from the need to produce being on everyone’s mind. Wanting to write, but also needing to connect. This post came at a very needed time for me. Thank you so much for writing it!
I’m glad it helped! Thank you for sharing your story.