Reasons to Quit Writing

— February 22, 2012 (15 comments)
A lot of people quit writing because they wrote one (1) novel and were told it was no good.

Now I don't care who told you that -- whether it was agents, editors, Gene Wolfe, or your mom -- that is a terrible reason to quit writing. Of course your first novel is no good.

Here are some real reasons to quit writing:
  1. You actually want to make money.
  2. You'd rather watch Downton Abbey.
  3. There is a contract out on your life, and you have to stay off the grid.
  4. Telling stories is against your religion and/or you have taken a vow of silence.
  5. You hate writing.
  6. Jesus has returned and/or the Mayans were right.
  7. You want to be a doctor, a teacher, or some other job that actually helps people.
  8. Writing would postpone the completion of your freeze ray.
  9. You are part of an alien race that shares a single hive consciousness and, therefore, does not tell stories.
  10. You are dead.
So next time one of you tells me you're not going to write anymore, don't tell me you don't have the talent or you're out of ideas or that Stephen King said you couldn't string two words together with a teleprompter. Those are not reasons, they're part of the game.* They are obstacles to overcome.

But if you finish that freeze ray, let me know. I might want to borrow it.

Can you think of any other good reasons to quit writing?

* Except maybe the Stephen King bit.

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  1. Great list. I'd add—because your butt keeps falling asleep in the chair.

  2. Thanks for the kick in the pants. Needed it this morning.

    Oh, and Bethany, try writing standing up. Lots of people do it.

  3. If the Mayans are right, I need to write faster.

  4. cylons....but then...everything is cyclons


  5. You passed out from too much Scotch? Then just start up again tomorrow.

    Seriously though? Your posts are always a wondrous plethora of links that take me down the rabbit hole in the most pleasant way possible.

  6. This was epic! Thanks for the post, must return to staying off the grid and making that freeze ray. :)

  7. Great list, Adam, but in all seriousness, I've thought a lot about this over the past few months. When I realized my current manuscript wasn't going to get the lightning-fast offer I'd kind of thought it was (you'd think I wouldn't be so naive after so many years and so many manuscripts, but there you go), I seriously considered what were and weren't good reasons to quit, especially for someone like me, who's been around the block a few times.

    We always talk about not giving up, but the truth of the matter is, there may come a time when writing isn't fun anymore, when the rejections are just depressing, when life would be happier - and maybe even healthier - without the stress of querying. Now before anyone goes all motivational speaker on me, I haven't reached that point, but I've been down this road long enough to be able to imagine what it looks like. And in that case, I don't think it's quitting so much as letting go, or maybe moving on. Life changes, and goals change, too, and that's okay.

    Besides, I'm banking on #6, anyway:)

  8. Damn you Downton Abbey! Damn you and all your gloriousness!
    In all seriousness, i quit for about 2 years. I just wasn't having fun. Then it got fun again and i got serious. And now here i am

  9. Hmmm...along that hive of consciousness line of thinking, one may quick due to the Borg. "Resistance is futile."

    Or, if one is struck in the head and suffers amnesia. But would that be quitting or forced out?

  10. Seeing Jesus return would be awesome, but I'll still keep writing. I mean, what better way to spend eternity than swapping books with Shakespeare?

    And Krista - your comment is right on and reminded me of this author.

  11. Fascinating article, maine character. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I can think of lots of reasonable reasons to quit writing. But I'm not exactly a reasonable person.