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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Anyone ever thought about quitting?

   
Author Topic: Anyone ever thought about quitting?
Smaug
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As the new year approaches, I find myself evaluating the direction all things are going in my life and I'm wondering about my writing. I've spent the last few weeks without much more than a page or two of writing--focusing instead on such things as fantasy football and basketball (two things that I love), and thinking that maybe I want to change course and focus on my music instead of writing. But then I feel guilty for even thinking that, and tell myself I'll start writing again soon. In fact, this is the first day I've visited this site in probably at least a month, and it's kind of rejuvenating.

Anyway, does any one else ever want to stop writing or think they might go in another direction? Just curious.


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Lord Darkstorm
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Nope, I can't see myself quitting. I've a couple years invested in learning so far, and I still love it.

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Silver3
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No. I've written for more than five years now and I'm perfectly happy. And from time to time I even get the opportunity to share with people, whether friends or a crit group, and I know that at least I've made a mark, however small.
Not to mention my first publication, but that's not for many months to come.

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pantros
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If you are really a writer you can quit writing as easily as you can quit breathing.

If you don't get those words out, they will build up in your head and cause all kinds of mischief in there.


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Jeraliey
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I feel like I'll pretty much have to quit once I get back into school. But I might sneak some late-night scribbles
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benskia
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Quitting??

I'm still only thinking about starting!

I will start a new story soon. I'll think about thinking about it tomorrow.


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AndrewR
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I've had many dry spells over the years, one that lasted about a year, but I've always come back. I haven't worked seriously on a story for almost three months now (although I have been outlining a few in my head).

Writers don't quit, they just no longer write. And although there are many writers who don't get around to writing, I've never heard of a writer who has suddenly felt that way.

No one can keep you from writing except yourself. If you need to write, you will. And if you don't need to write, why worry?


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MG
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I've 'quitted' twice this year and it always feels like I'm just blocked, not fed up and ready to move onto say, painting. The need to write is always there, even if the words are stuck somewhere inside my head.

In a nutshell: I can't see myself not writing.

However, there've been times when I sort of pondered the advantages of not seeing characters or plots everywhere

But quitting for good? Hand in the pen and paper? Goodness no.

MG


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NMgal
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Smaug, I find it difficult to see how you can want to quit writing when your other choice is to focus on music. You didn't mention what kind of music, whether it's original or whether you're going to focus on existing stuff. I would think writing and music would go together...i.e. you would be coming up with some original pieces. What made you stop writing? Did you hit writers' block, or did life become overwhelming? I think this time of year is difficult because a lot of people are traveling and family and friends are vying for your attention. Perhaps you should take a break until after the new year and then try going again.

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apeiron
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I think I know what you mean. Sometimes I have the same problem...but in an opposite way...yeah. Sometimes I wonder if I should just give up this whole physics thing, skip town, and find some small college where I can study history part time and work in the local coffee shop, leaving plenty of time for writing.

But then I think, am I nuts? Physics has been the key to my inspiration to write for a while now. Not to mention, it gives me the opportunity to travel and experience different places, all good writing fodder.

Maybe music could be the same for you? If you love music, go ahead and focus on it. That doesn't mean you have to give up writing, you just may not have as much time for it. We all get wrapped up in other things. So many times I've thought, in hindsight, that I should have used this or that spare moment to write. But sometimes your brain needs a break! Like fantasy football and basketball. Just don't give up. Wait for that golden idea that just won't let you go. If you're a writer, it's bound to hit eventually. And then run with it before life swamps you again!


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Robert Nowall
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No, it's too ingrained a habit now. Even when I'm not actually keying the keyboard, which is often of late, I can't stop turning ideas and / or characters over in my mind. It's like once you've started you can't turn it off again.

Then, because of my not actually writing things down, sometimes I chew on these ideas for years...the story I'm working on now (extremely sporadic work, but it's complete in rough draft minus a few scenes) comes from an idea I had about five years ago and didn't write anything down on until last April...and just two days ago this idea I first had about ten years ago reemerged in my mind (there, I've got nothing beyond the first two scenes, no ending at all, so it stays on the backburner with all those other ideas.)


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Smaug
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quote:
Smaug, I find it difficult to see how you can want to quit writing when your other choice is to focus on music. You didn't mention what kind of music, whether it's original or whether you're going to focus on existing stuff. I would think writing and music would go together...i.e. you would be coming up with some original pieces. What made you stop writing? Did you hit writers' block, or did life become overwhelming? I think this time of year is difficult because a lot of people are traveling and family and friends are vying for your attention. Perhaps you should take a break until after the new year and then try going again.

I'm a bad guitar player and a worse banjo player. I want to get better (much better) at both. I'm 46, so I think I'm working on limited time to do that. Of course, you're right, writing and composing music are closely related. However, I'm not only talking about the writing of music, but getting good at playing it.

Shane


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Smaug
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quote:
If you love music, go ahead and focus on it. That doesn't mean you have to give up writing, you just may not have as much time for it. We all get wrapped up in other things. So many times I've thought, in hindsight, that I should have used this or that spare moment to write. But sometimes your brain needs a break! Like fantasy football and basketball. Just don't give up. Wait for that golden idea that just won't let you go. If you're a writer, it's bound to hit eventually. And then run with it before life swamps you again!

Yeah, thanks. And it is that life thing swamping me. Call it burn out or whatever--I think I just need some time to rejuvenate.


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franc li
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I gave up on poetry at one point. You can quit on a particular project, and you can give yourself permission to let go of various goals. Now I'm not going to say you can't quit, but for me it would be like adopting celibacy if I didn't otherwise have to.

But then, I did quit eating chocolate, so you never know.


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hoptoad
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hey guys,
Pantros said the words would build up until your brain oozes out your ears like a pink junket -- or something like that. To me it is not so much the words but the stories that build up, creating a kind of mental pressure.

Like AndrewR, I have had a lot of dryspells. Take those spells as keyboard-fodder. Learn, get some exercise, have some life, fill the reservoirs, but never pretend that you have 'quit'.

Edit: It is tiring when in the morning you think, 'I am going to write today' only to go to bed that night having written nothing and feeling like a failure. Especially when this happens for weeks. My advice, (for what it is worth) is to decide beforehand how long you are going to rest. Deliberately 'say no' to writing in this period. You will be amazed how good it feels. However, when the time is up, start writing again.

[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited December 20, 2005).]


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franc li
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I think what kind of buildup you get depends on the sort of writer you are and what you're working on.

My 9 key is the dirtiest one on my keyboard. It gets hit often enough to get dirty but not often enough to get clean again. I also may not hit it as hard because I don't know where it is, so I'm typically looking at my keyboard when I strike it. Sorry if if the link to build up isn't apparent there.


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hoptoad
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franc li,
Are you sort of saying: 'if you don't use it it will get rusty and kind of gross'? Writing skills, that is.

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Isaiah13
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Quit? Never!
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keldon02
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Actually you can't quit. I made a determined effort to do so on several occasions, most diligently in the mid 80's when I was raising kids but I really love a good story and even during my 'nonwriting' phases I found myself making them up as I drove to work.

Sometimes writing is slower than others but it is always there.


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wbriggs
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I've thought of quitting. But I doubt I ever could.
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Calligrapher
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smaug, Like someone else said above, it could be the time of year. Christmas is stressful to everyone. In your line of work, its probably even more stressful than for most. So take a break and forget about writing until after the New Year. Then write a sci-fi story about the holiday season, seeing if you can make it as bizzare as real life.
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Robert Nowall
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Oh, one can move from writing one thing to another. I, too, went through a poetry phase, writing a couple hundred poems in the early eighties. Even got two accepted and one printed. Then it just wound down. But I occasionally turn out a poem to this day, when the Spirit moves me.

(Usually nowadays, it'll be a parody, a skill I didn't master until about four or five years ago. I'd post one here, but nothing comes to me right now. I *did* post one, in a thread somewhere 'round here, a few months ago.)


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Smaug
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I thank all of you for your replies. I know I can't just up and quit, permanently. Already it's eating at me that I must write. Someone made the comment that they could no more quit writing than quit breathing--and I've said that myself in the past. I don't believe I could ever quit forever, just take some kind of sabbatical, and even that is a struggle. Yeah, I need to get the Christmas season over, then re-evaluate. And it's not just Christmas. My father-in-law just died yesterday. It wasn't sudden or unexpected. He had Alzheimer's and it was probably for the best. Yet that kind of stuff (and there's even more, but this isn't the place to get into it), has added to an already stressful time of year. I really appreciate your comments.
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Calligrapher
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smaug, Maybe its time for you and your wife to grieve. Don't worry about the writing now. You will know when its time to start writing again.
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Smaug
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Good idea, Calligrapher. Though the grieving has taken place over the last several years as we lost him while he still lived. Now, it's almost a relief that we don't have to see the former shell of a good man, becoming worse and worse.
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djvdakota
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Interesting. That so many have never thought of quitting. I think only Wbriggs confessed to thinking about it.

So is it that? Is only that Will was the only one with the nerve to actually admit the truth?

I've thought about it. Loads of times.

Could be my own insecurity in my ability. Could be an overinflated feeling that my success as a writer is tied to my success as a PUBLISHED writer, and that if I can't be that latter, I'm obviously not the former.

Maybe its the frustration of not having enough time to devote to it, the feeling that the less I write the more knowledge of the craft I lose. It's like trying to teach my border collie how to catch a frisbee. The dog loved to chase, but he wouldn't bring it back, so I was never able to repeat the exercise enough that he learned anything.

Sure, I've thought of quitting. Can I? I don't know. I haven't had the courage to try yet.


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Isaiah13
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I did actually quit once, but that was more or less before I even started. After tweaking the same few paragraphs time and again (one short writing session every other week, if that), and seeing little improvement from one to the next, I just stopped writing altogether. I then spent eight months thinking about nothing else, after which I started again, this time in earnest. I haven't thought about quitting since.
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Jeraliey
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I haven't thought about it so much as resigned myself to it.
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Monolith
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You guys have no idea how many times I've thought about giving up.

After some rather harsh critiques I've received in the past, I thought about totally giving up writing.

However, I think I waded through all the crapola that goes along with writing. You know what I mean. The harsh critiques, the endless writing and rewrites, revisions and editing, then the new critiques and so forth.

I have one story in particular that I WANT to get published, even if it is an e-zine. I will have succeeded at a dream that everyone desires. And I think that's what has helped me persevere through the thick and thin.

But then again, that's only me.

-Monolith-


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marcus_utilis_amicus
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Hey Smaugy,

Great lyric writing IS writing.

Ever hear of Art Song!

Check out "Sea Pictures" by Elgar with Dame Janet Baker on Lead Vox and I believe Henry David Thoreu (or walden always get 'em mixed up) on lyrics.


It don't get much better than that.

Unless of course your talking about my own personal favorite, " Harmonious Haiku "

Best wishes,
~Marcus


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Elan
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quote:
After some rather harsh critiques I've received in the past, I thought about totally giving up writing.

Monolith, I would hate to see you give UP, just because of some harsh critiques. You don't give up learning to ride a bike because you fall and bash yourself up a few times; you learn from the experience and hone your skills.

I personally give detailed critiques, but I intend ONLY to give the writer a clear picture of the snapshot images in my brain as I was reading. I would be horrified to think I caused anyone to want to quit writing.

You can't take it personally. I should hope that none of us would say to a fellow writer, "Give it up. You are no good." It would be foolish for a writer to toss in the towel based solely on critiques. You HAVE to approach it from the standpoint that the critiquer is trying to help you improve your writing.

I always am deeply appreciative of critiques that show me where my writing is rough, unclear, trite. I use those critiques like a map, going back over my story and smoothing out the rough spots.


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yanos
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I think in Monolith's case it would be useful to try different types of story. I know that I couldn't see the problems I was having but then I was focussed on the same stories. Rewriting them means I'm still focussed on the same errors.

Experiment. Try and find what works and what doesn't work by trying different styles, types of scene, characters etc... Then you'll grow.


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Monolith
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I have never taken critiques too personally, but it does tend to deflate one's ego when they think they have written it well, in their eyes.

Elan, your critique was nice and striking as to what I needed to fix, which I think I did.
Which one was it you read??

As far as what Yanos said, are you saying try different genres, lenght of story or what??


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Elan
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I read the one about the beast men attacking the village and the son who had his eyes on the healer's daughter. I forget the name of it. I think it was your Faya story.
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Lord Darkstorm
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Quitting, no, I can't say I have ever even concidered it. I get frustrated, have my periods where I don't write much, and I've had to keep looking at the older work from time to time, but never have I thought about quitting.

I quit trying to better than mediocer at first person shooter games, I quit bothering with sports that I suck at (all of them).

To quit is the same as admitting the ability is beyond you and it was a waste of time to try. So no, I don't quit.

Of course I am stuborn.


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Calligrapher
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I have quit several times already. I wrote my first story in Junior High then quit until after college graduation. After college, but before I was married, I wrote a dozen stories in longhand. Those were the days of typewriters without automatic correction tape. I won't admit to the exact year, but it was a long time ago. I painstakingly pounded on the keys of an old typewriter and typed all of the handwritten drafts. I submitted two and received two rejections. (As I remember, one to Redbook Magazine, the other to Analog Sci-Fi) I never submitted the rest of the stories as I was not a glutton for punishment. The rest of the stories remained unread by human eyes and are still in my file cabinet.

I got married, had children and decided that writing had to take a back seat. Creating the stories was not that difficult, but the typing was so time consuming that I just dropped the idea. If a manuscript was returned and looked ruffled and dirty, it needed to be re-typed before sending it out again. It wasn't worth the effort when the chances for payoff were so low. However, during this period I did enter a few limericks in a local newspaper contest and won third place.

Later, when personal computers were invented, I toyed with the idea of starting to write again because Word Processors would make everything so easy, especially the revisions and printing. I brought out an old story and showed it to a friend who was a professional writer. He was actually earning a living writing technical manuals, advertising brochures and industrial training film scripts. He looked at one of my far out sci-fi stories and admonished me to just stick to music. (Music has been my creative outlet, not vocation.) I offered to co-author a story with this friend, but he was not interested, so I was discouraged again.

Fast forward many years. Two years ago I wrote a couple stories about a rock and roll band I was playing with. I realized how much fun it was to create fiction and the rest of the band thought it the funniest thing they had ever read. Then I wrote a Christmas letter last year that had people calling me begging for more. One friend (the wife of the writer friend) actually would quote from my letter and said it was the funniest thing she ever read. The trouble is, I don't aspire to write humour. In fact, I shun it.

At the beginning of 2005 I once again became serious and have written two complete sci-fi short stories that I've submitted to WOTF and am awaiting reply (translation: "waiting for rejection letters"). I have two more sci-fi stories partially completed that I hope to finish soon. This time I'm going to stick with the writing. A local writers group was very helpful for a few months, but they were all genres and no one else wrote sci-fi. So I joined Hatrack a few weeks ago and have learned a lot.

So, that's the story of my writing life. Some people do quit and come back to writing. If writing is in your blood and you must express yourself creatively, you will return to writing. The trick is to pace yourself and not let the eventual discouragement knock you out of the game.

I'm sure this is more than you ever wanted to know about me, but I was in the mood to just dump it!

edited for spelling

[This message has been edited by Calligrapher (edited December 29, 2005).]

[This message has been edited by Calligrapher (edited December 29, 2005).]

[This message has been edited by Calligrapher (edited December 29, 2005).]


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yanos
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Different length, genre, types of main character... It's all good and it let's you know more about yourself as a writer. I'm not saying it's easy, it's not, but it can be worthwhile.
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