Would you quit writing?
This month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog topic is about quitting. The question is have I ever thought of quitting and what brought me back.
The question is, why would you quit?
I’ve known a number of people who did quit writing and it astounds me that they were able to do so. Writing isn’t something you can just do and then stop doing — at least not in my opinion. It’s not a hobby. It’s not a job. It’s a vocation. It’s something that people do because they feel compelled to do it.
Writers of fiction have stories to tell. They’ve got characters whispering in their ears. The world shows itself in settings, experiences, histories and we need to relay that information to others–or at least write it down so that it doesn’t fester. Shape it into a something and you’ve got a story, be it a short story, novella or novel.
How can you stop doing that?
I don’t think I could. My mind just does it.
I see someone walking down the street and immediately who they are, where they come from, and where they’re going pops into my head. I can’t help it. I don’t need to write down that story, because there are thousands of them every day, but those that become more complicated, those that prick my interest, that have history, and conflict, and possibly unknown outcomes, now those I have to write. Those I have to follow through to see if anything comes of them.
Have I ever thought of quitting? No. I can’t. I have to write.
Have I ever thought of not publishing any more? Yes. Absolutely.
When my sales are nil and I get no feedback on my writing–positive or negative–I do think of quitting publishing. But then I remind myself of what I’m doing and why.
I have had many conversations with myself where I try to figure out why I do this. I think every author does. Every author goes through that.
But what it comes down to is that I write for me. I write for people like me. I write to help people escape from their ordinary lives and, just for a moment, live someone else’s much more exciting life. I take my readers on a journey to another place, another time. I am not writing to teach or preach. I’m not trying to convince my readers of anything other than the truth of possibility. It’s possible for things to go horribly wrong, and then for them to turn around and become right again. It’s possible for someone who thinks that they are unlovable to find love, unlikable to find friends. It’s possible to be the oddball and either learn to fit in, or to be accepted for being just the way you are — because that’s okay.
That’s what I write because that’s what dear to my heart. So if no one buys my books, at least I’ve given it a shot. I’ve put them out there for people to find and done what I could to help them find them. But when I bemoan the amount of money I’m earning, or not earning, I remind myself of why I do what I do. I’m not here to make money (there are many easier ways to do so), I’m here to share my stories. I’m here to entertain.
And the most important point is that I’m here.