well-worn, silver triathlon cycling shoes

The Painful Choice to Quit Writing: What Will It Take?

Join us in this month’s multi-author blogging share topic from Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Each month, the #IWSG mulls over a focus question, sharing insight about writing with other authors to let us all know we are all going through similar struggles in this thing we call A Writer’s Life.

waded up paper next to a writing note pad with an empty page showing

This month’s question: What would it take for you to put down your pen and quit writing?

As most of you know, my POV on life is often from the 50 mile mark of a bike ride or a mile into a swim. Hours of training help me garner wisdom (that’s at least what I call it) and sometimes unusual insight (or maybe it’s just the endorphins messing with my mind). As a triathlete, I know that one day I’ll have to make the big decision to hang up my old, worn, racing shoes. (After all, I think you’ll agree from the picture they’ve seen better days!)

What will be the tipping point? Will another injury and months of physical therapy do it? Will I have another accident? Will I lose interest?

I thought hard about this during 2020, when race after race was cancelled. The Ironman race I had just spent 8 months of hard training time preparing for, mostly in 100-degree (+) desert heat, was cancelled…about 10 days before the big race. For days, depression had me seriously considering selling my bike.

What Variables Impact Our Desire to Achieve a Goal?

Squeezing training in around an overscheduled life, physical exhaustion, massive time and emotional investment, self-doubt, injuries (mental and physical)- these are the variables that effect how much I enjoy triathlons, and how long I will keep racing.

Funny, these sound a LOT like the variables that affect my love and desire to write. We all eek out what little writing time we can, between our many responsibilities. Does this sound familiar: late night writing sprints, early morning edits before work, story outlines while watching the kids soccer practice? This can lead to a lot of exhaustion. We spend months, if not years, perfecting our manuscript for submission. The rejection rate from agents is high; the chance to get an agent willing to run our precious words across the finish line, small.

Rejections are hard to take. Repeated rejections? Can leave us battered and bruised along the way.

Writers Endure

But we roll up our sleeve and try again, don’t we? That’s why I have made a list of agents to start my next query. Why I have a nearly completed manuscript on my desk. And, yes, why I’m training for the Ironman…again… this year, despite the desert temperatures. I’m excited to keep moving toward the finish line with both of these big goals in my life. But it becomes increasingly hard to battle through. I don’t have answer to the question this month. I prefer to keep pushing through. I often worry if I look to the negative (“If I get ONE more rejection I’ll…”) then it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, ultimately, I may find out the hard way one day if I have a crash on this writing race course. But I’ll worry about it then.

Two Rough Years For All of Us

Most of you probably have similar stories over the last two years. Writing, exhaustion, rejection, cancellations. But you are still going. I haven’t hit the ‘quit’ wall yet, either. Honestly, I am not sure what it will take for me to decide to stop. For now, I am just glad to know 2020 didn’t win.

What would it take for you to put down your pen and quit writing? Better yet, tell us what keeps you writing, despite everything? Please share with us in the comments.

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