Friday, October 7, 2011

What to Do When You Feel Like Giving Up


Keep fighting.

Unless it's driving you crazy, then take a break. But don't give up entirely. If you're breaking your neck to write three or four blog posts a week, just write two. What's the big deal? Will the world not be as interesting without one or two of your blog posts each week? No it will not.

Because the world is just fine without you.

But that's all it is. Just fine. You'll make it much, much better by producing your art, but let's face it: the world will not explode into a billion bitty pieces because you didn't tell us how many pages you wrote last night.

Which is liberating! It's not negative in the least. Nope, it takes all the stress away. I think when people get all stressed and down about not having achieved enough, they forget that even when people achieve a lot, these achievements may linger on in the memories of their kids or friends or colleagues, but after they die or go insane, unless they're very, very lucky, not many people will remember what they did.

After all, do you know who invented the can opener or who developed modern atomic theory? No? These were massively important inventions. And no one even pays homage to these titans anymore.

Sure, you might write something that transcends the ages, but odds are you won't. And even if you do, you may be ridiculed in your own lifetime, or, if the stars are shining on you, your books may go unread only for some nerd to stumble upon your masterwork in the future and, through sheer force of nerdy intellectual will, get you some mad props.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you why you should write—there are lots of reasons to write. But for me, I couldn't bank on the slim hope of getting famous or rich from writing to sustain me spiritually. I want to write for the sheer happiness it (hopefully) will bring people. That may sound hippyish and cloying, but it's true. What other more tangible goal can there realistically be?

The point here is not to give up. For even trying to become a published writer, you are awesome. Scale back the work if you have to; there's no shame in that. Heck, I only blog twice a week nowadays. No, I'm not burning the world up with followers (thanks, by the way, to my loyal band of 6!), but I also don't have a product to sell right now (am working on that), so whatever. Forcing yourself to spew up content is like telling an elephant to sit on an almost-empty tube of toothpaste: sure, something will come out, but it won't be much, and you will have angered a three-ton animal in the process.

I used to think I had to be all over Twitter every third second in order to catch eyeballs, but the weird thing is, when I take a couple of days off from tweet-land, I often come back to find that I have more followers.

Sure they're spambots...but they count too, dammit! Don't you dare dismiss spam. And that's not entirely true, some of them are actual people. So.

Don't give up, intrepid ranger! If you just can't think of a subject to fill your weekly quota, embed a cool-ass YouTube video. Or a timely picture like this one. Do something to let us know you're still kicking.

Don't quit!!


  1. This is my super fave blog post I've read in forever. And yeah I know that was grammatically shocking but Im not going to stress about it right!? I do have those days, those moments when I feel like if Im not updating that stupid blog or responding to twitter stuff or whatever - that the world is going to self-destruct and I may as well roll over and die. Or volunteer to test-squash toothpaste tubes with the elephant.
    Since the madness of launching my book I can feel like Im drowning and Im so thankful for this advice. Because it reminds me -- why did i start writing in the first place? So i could write stuff. Because I love doing it. And i need to not lose sight of that. Not give up. and yeah, 'do something so we know youre still kicking' that works too! lol

  2. Totally agree with you. Sometimes it feels like we'll cease to exist if we don't update some sort of status. You're two trillion light years ahead of me by having published multiple books, so I'm happy we're in line on this one. Thanks!

  3. I've been feeling the same way lately, trying to keep up with all the blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Last week I finally put my foot down and decided to focus on finishing my editing before I hand the MS out to the beta readers and the two editors I have lined up now. A line had to be drawn, and now I'm designating only a certain amount of time daily to try to socialize.

    I too noticed the follower growth since I've become much quieter on Twitter. Weird how that happens, I always thought I needed to keep entertaining with hundreds of tweets. Lesson learned.

  4. It's good to hear your take on this since you're further along in the writing process than I am. It's easy for me to say, "Don't worry, chill out!" when I don't have a book I'm trying to push. I may feel differently once I'm where you are, but I might not. Hopefully not. I'm glad you're drawing that line, I'm sure you'll jump back into tweeting/facebooking with fresh enthusiasm after your break.

    Thanks for your comment!