At some point during your writing journey, you’ll ask yourself this question: Should I give up?

Should I give up on this dream of being one who writes and find something else to do?

Something easier.

It’s a common enough question for those who love words. Maybe you’ve asked the question more than once.

While writing a novel. A short story. Poem. Essay. Thesis. Blog post.

Sometimes the question has psychological roots. Self-doubt kicks in.

And sometimes it’s more philosophical – is this really me?

But at some point, you have to make the decision to quit or keep going.

Here are some reasons not to quit:

  1. It’s part of you: Can you imagine yourself not writing? Does writing make your heart sing? Can you imagine losing the ability to write? If you feel that you are born to write, then write. Don’t give up.
  1. You’ll learn things about yourself: Writing will teach you about persistence, resilience, pressure, creative problem solving, inner strength, and so much more. You will find out how much you are capable of. By writing, you sharpen the definition of who YOU are. Don’t give up.
  1. It’s healing: Writing can be cathartic, liberating, and illuminating. It helps you to make sense of things. It helps you release things you need to let go of. It can help you cope and find new ways of looking at things. Don’t give up.
  1. You’ll learn from your mistakes: Mistakes can be embarrassing, even costly, but sometimes they are necessary for growth and improvement. Everyone makes them. Learn the lesson and don’t give up. 
  2. You’ll learn that rejection is not failure: Rejections are a hard fact of life for writers who want their work published. You win some, you lose some – but they still feel like a kick in the teeth. But rejection doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It’s a delicate and complex fusion – your story has to align with the market or publication or agent or timing – and sometimes it takes a while for everything to align in the right way for your story. Don’t give up.
  1. You’ll gain experience: The more you write, the better you’ll get. It’s not uncommon for new writers to start with enthusiasm and give up when the hurdles and obstacles appear. How many new things have you started in life and quit when the going got tough? Climb over those walls, learn what you need to learn, and don’t give up.
  1. You’ll learn about discipline: It’s not going to write itself, someone once told me. And it’s not going to finish itself either. You’ll soon learn that talent and love of words are one thing, but it’s discipline that will get the story written. In order to meet deadlines and word counts (whether self-or-publisher imposed) you will need to fuse self-control and structure in the best way for your creative process. It’s not easy. And it’s easier sometimes to walk away. But you’ll find a way to make it happen. Don’t give up.
  1. You’ll face your fears: Having fears is a normal part of being creative. As a writer you may fear that you’re not good enough, that you’ll be forgotten or never reach your potential … you may fear reviews, judgement and failure … all of this is normal. But by writing anyway, by not giving up, you’re facing those fears head on. You’re living with the fear but stepping forward anyway. Don’t give up.
  1. You’ll step out of your comfort zone: At some point, you may want to share your writing, whether with one person or the world. Putting yourself out there is hard. It can trigger all the fears you’ve worked hard to face. But when you do, it’s liberating. And it might open doors and awaken opportunities you never dreamed of. Don’t give up.
  1. No regrets: If you don’t try, you’ll never know. If writing is your dream, don’t give up using your words. Find the right way for you to express yourself in writing. What you do with your writing is another story. Don’t give up.

So, when should you give up?

If you’re just writing because everyone else you know is and you want to jump on the bandwagon, maybe then.

If you’re not prepared to work at it, probably not a bad idea.

If you need distance – time to regroup, to find your WHY, your motivation, your mojo, or time to deal with life circumstances – take a break.

But if you know deep in your soul that you’re born to write, trust in the process, and keep on going.

Even if it’s only for yourself.



Monique Mulligan

Monique Mulligan

5 Responses

  1. Monique, you have listed the reasons why we doubt ourselves and also the feelings that we share, If it is your passion then rejection, and delays all add to your determination that you have something to prove.Not to anyone else, you need to prove it to yourself

    1. I agree, Sonia. Let these things propel you forward, not hold you back. I’m so thrilled for you with your publication news, Sonia. You’ve worked so hard and while you may have wondered at times, you haven’t given up. X

  2. This post really got me thinking. I know that I am not one of those that were born to write. I hated English at school and would do anything to avoid it. But around 10 years ago I got this over whelming urge to start writing. I can’t quite explain it but it frees me from my burdons. When I write I can be anyone I want to be, not just plain old boring me. It transforms me. Thanks Monique.

  3. The actress Zoe Caldwell said that all the creative people she knew had to do their art “in order to be well.” I think that’s as good a reason as any.

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