Confessions Of A Troubled Writer – 4 Questions To Ask Before You Quit


Do you feel like quitting? Do you feel this writing life is too difficult, and that you’ll never get your book done? Do you feel you should cash in your chips while you’re ahead, and focus on another dream?

Don’t. Or, rather, before you do, ask yourself these questions.

1. Is this your dream?

No two people dream alike, so let me ask the question differently. Is this something you’ve always wanted to do? If you don’t follow your dream, will it be one of the things you regret when you look back on your life? Do you feel called or destined to write? Does the desire to write persist, even when you try to ignore it? Though it’s difficult, does writing feel like your highest point of contribution? Do you daydream about being a published author? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you should be writing.

2. Has a shift in focus caused you to lose your first love?

When you pursue your dream of becoming a writer, you enter a steep learning curve. As you learn and try out new things, you may stumble across interesting writing styles or ideas that you incorporate into your writing. In doing so, you may be straying from the things that are intrinsic to your writing style – the things that sparked your ‘first love’ of writing. If you are trying to shoehorn yourself into something that doesn’t come naturally to you as a writer, you may need to get back to your basics. Get back to the genre, writing style, or ideas that make all your Las Vegas lights come on.

3. What are the pressures that strip away the fun?

Writing isn’t brain surgery. It’s art. And creating art should be fun, right? Then, why does it sometimes feel like work? While there is the element of hard work that is associated with mastering a craft, try to identify the pressures that are stripping the fun from writing. Are they external pressures, or internal pressures? Can you remove any of them? For those you can’t remove, ask yourself how you can change your response to them. Rather than quitting, try to find the fun again.

4. Did criticism deflate you?

Criticism can be immensely helpful. Yet, sometimes, it comes in a format that sucks the air right out of our sails. Can you identify the criticism, even if it was well-intentioned, that came at a wrong angle and demotivated you, instead of helping you? At this point you need to be ruthless. Ask yourself the following questions: a) Which parts of the criticism are both true and actionable? b) Whatever is both true and actionable – act on it. c) Whatever isn’t – toss it. See if this helps you put the wind back in your sails.

Good luck, fellow writers. I’m rooting for you.

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  1. Kelly Carey

    Great post Donna! These are great questions to help reset your writing journey when you feel a bit knocked off the track.

  2. HANNES NEL

    I have no more chips to cash in, but I can’t stop writing. We need a Writer’s Anonymous.

  3. Donna Radley

    Thanks, Kelly! Hannes, I’m glad you can’t stop.

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