13 Reasons You Should Quit Writing

Or 13 reasons you should at least reconsider your career choice. Or your attitude. And in some cases, your sanity.

Let’s face it, there are more writers out there than anyone can count, and some of them should really just do themselves and the rest of us a favor and stop. The question is—are you one of them?

Here’s a list of signs that you’d better pack your pens and scraps and move on.

 

1. You’d much rather talk about writing, than do it yourself

You’ve figured out the secret behind all bestselling novels and have even developed a system of writing stories that will revolutionize literature, but you’d much rather give that advice to others than use it yourself. Or better still, you’ve got no clue how to translate your ideas into stories and you’re not ashamed to admit it, bemoan your tragedy and cry and bitch about it on blogs, forums, comments, Facebook, Twitter, the line at the grocery store, your cats, your neighbor’s pot plants, your condescending Hogwarts owl.

 

2. You really want to do something else but call it writing

If you love to read books, you should become a librarian. If you love to review books, you should get your own reviewing blog. If you just want to work from home, sell your knitting on ebay. If you want to become famous doing something insanely special and unique, try juggling tigers in flaming tutus at the circus. Or learn to burp Homer’s Odyssey. Backwards. In Russian.

 

3. You suffer from writer’s block 364 days a year

Your muse is such a bitch she won’t let you touch her toes with a ten foot fantasy tickler? Trust me, there are far better ways to justify inactivity than claiming you’re a writer who just suffers from chronic artistic constipation.

 

4. Writing feels like pulling out a tooth with a hot caliper

If you sit down to write regularly but every word you type feels like someone’s yanking your nails out with rusty fish-hooks, you’re not doing anyone a favor. If you hate writing, stop doing it. Seriously. If it’s such a tedious, horrifying, gut-wrenching, brain-splitting pain, stop writing. Go play with your kids or your dogs, or sit in the bathtub and poke around in your belly button. Make yourself happy.

 

5. Even your best friends never seem to finish reading your manuscript

Constantly postponed feedback from your loved ones is a big fat warning sign. If even your mom and childhood chum aren’t able to fight their way through your mindblowing work of staggering genius, you’ve clearly… used the wrong font.

 

6. You showcase endless creativity in making up excuses not to write

Your boss assigned you a top secret task that requires every living minute of your day, or countless innocents will die? Your cat has a terrible infectious disease that could wipe out cathood? Your entire plumbing needs to be replaced today? The trash must be recycled in your own back yard first thing? The ingenious machine that will recycle your trash and turn it into eco-friendly rocket fuel must be invented tonight? Out of lawn mower parts? Or maybe your alpaca ate your manuscript? Your computer has become self-aware and won’t let you finish your book? You were abducted by terrorist Klingons?

 

7. You believe editing compromises your authenticity

Because only the unhampered, unrefined, half-drunk and totally transcended creative word-barf you spray on the wall is true art.

 

8. You’ve been fine-tuning the same manuscript for two decades

It’s your life’s work. Your pedestal. The foundation of towers upon towers of fan fiction, and thus needs to be absolutely perfect. Every time you look at your manuscript you find another way to make it sound more potent, see another word that can be replaced with a more supreme version. Each time you think of it, your brilliant mind comes up with an additional layer that needs to be added to make the story even more emotionally laden. It will make dictators cry and virgins give birth when it’s finished.

 

9. Your wordcount consists mainly of elaborate ways to trash other writers

Then you should know I totally hate your guts. If your brainpower is used almost entirely to bash other writers who got published or are more productive than you, you’re a creatively challenged asshat and you should just go play with yourself in highway traffic.

 

10. You think grammar rules is for pussies

Your sertain its only a matter of time til someone seas you’re genius 4 real and then its on and all them teachers can go suck a broom for all you care cuz you gonna be rich and famous and totally kick ass wit the book you writed.

 

11. Your idea for a novel is so incredibly awesome it renders you speechless

You’ve been brewing over this absolutely stupefying idea of a story for most of your life, but the adequate tools and techniques to make it work haven’t been invented yet. Or you wake up each morning filled with elation and enthusiasm and admiration for yourself and the incredible thing you envision, which no other writer has ever written before since the beginning of time, and you know it only needs a bit more patience to ripen and ferment until it will be ready to be put to paper. Besides, humanity isn’t ready for it yet anyway.

 

12. You’ve stopped reading books in eight grade, because they tarnish your style

Each writer has his own unique voice, his trademark, his signature walk across the winding paper catwalk. And you treasure yours like nobody’s business. Every time you come across another piece of writing, even the Sunday paper weather section, you feel how that Philistine’s eyeball-scraping style seeps into yours and blemishes it, stains it, rapes its virginal beauty.

 

13. You think that agents should query you

If you believe you’re that good, something’s wrong with your board computer. Everyone has to write those hard-ass queries, synopses and blurbs, everyone has to send those dreaded emails and plaster their room with rejections. You’re no different, no matter how many of your friends swear you’re the second coming of Isaac Lovecraft.

 

Throwing random thesaurus pages into a pot and stirring them with your magic wand doesn’t make readable fiction. Believing you’re worthy to be published and adored by millions of readers just because you’re you, doesn’t justify your lack of respect for others. Wishing to put J.K. Rowling back in her place, to singlehandedly change the English language, to make a quick buck, or just give yourself a good enough excuse to dick around on the computer all day long, are not good enough reasons to start or keep writing.

On the other side of the coin, whenever you doubt yourself and your work—like all writers do—stop to consider that hitting a low or having a bad day must never ever prevent you from doing what you love. There are others who should stop, for any or all of the above mentioned reasons, but that person is not you.

If writing is its own reward, if you live and breathe fiction and you can’t imagine anything better in life than creating entire worlds from scratch and sharing them with others—then you must keep going no matter how heavy the burdon may seem sometimes. You must write. It’s your destiny, Frodo.

 

 

34 Replies to “13 Reasons You Should Quit Writing”

  1. *laughing*

    But if there’s one thing that could pull me away from writing, it’s “juggling tigers.” Are they hiring in that industry?

    And as a warning: dogs, and perhaps alpacas, will eat paper that you leave lying around. Dogs really do eat homework! So be careful. πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Pets can gobble up your printed copy, that’s true. But then again it’s your fault to have shared your working space with those beasts. Every writer knows pets are secretly scheming against mankind.

      Like

    1. Thanks, Frank! πŸ˜€

      I did have some acquaintances in mind when I wrote this, unfortunately. I guess there are black sheep (and two-headed goats) in every profession-herd out there.

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  2. Vero!!! For one day I’d like to hang out in the corner of your brain just to watch the cogs turn. Because you are clearly NOT using the wrong font.

    And oh yeah, I can’t wait for the day when I can totally kick ass wit the book I writed. I is waiting on dat day.

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  3. Number Nine is a great point. Really, respecting authors, along with everyone else in the publishing world, is important. Any industry with any mover-and-shakers occupying it is small, so ticking everyone off is not a great way to benefit from your own writing. Plus, it’s plain old mean.

    Of course, it gets complicated when books are thrown into the equation. “Hate the book, not the writer” seems to be a nice piece of advice (how many people said that already?). However, if the author happens to be a jerk, it’s even more complicated. How do you treat them? More importantly, how do you treat their books? Should you refrain reading them, even if you love their work, or just refrain from shining the spotlight from them?

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    1. Interesting points, Chihuahua. That’s my main peeve next to constant whining, the unnecessary malice toward other writers. I guess I would probably do the last thing, read their books if they’re fantastic, but never waste a word to promote them. Although I probably wouldn’t enjoy the books as much as I could.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. I have a confession to make. I’ve been in more than one message board argument with more than one fellow writer about more than one item in this entry. Especially numbers one, seven, nine, ten, and twelve.

    But I’ve never had a handy list to point my victims to! Thanks!

    πŸ˜‰

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    1. Trying to convince some of them that they’re wasting valuable storage space with their creations can easily become a one-sided battle. Glad you liked the list, J.W.!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Liv! πŸ™‚ And yes, I’ve had the dubious honor a couple of times too. Very… instructive.

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  5. LOL! I *LOVE* this… good gawd, I can’t even choose a favorite point. (Although I did read aloud: “It will make dictators cry and virgins give birth when it’s finished.” My sig other thinks I’m nuts.)

    In all seriousness though, I’ve seen many a writer cling to number eight. Not too long ago I stumbled across someone who said they’ve been working on their ms for twelve years. TWELVE years. Now, hey, maybe they’ve written the next Harry Potter, or Huck Finn, or it’s being delivered to them piecemeal from some divine being… But I doubt it.

    Eventually, you need to consider it done and get it out there. (Or don’t and just get on with your life.)

    Awesome post, Ms. Awesome Vero! πŸ˜€

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    1. Thank so much, Tracy! πŸ˜€

      Maybe that guy’s just churning out a massive tome of pure enlightenment the size of which will bring international shipping services and religious organizations to the brink of collapse. Or, you know, he’s still filing at his first page. Those are pretty damn important.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! Glad you liked it, even though you’re one of the lucky few who hasn’t yet been pestered by the great specimens above. πŸ˜‰

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  6. I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout
    of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so
    people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

    Like

  7. Cruising through your site and saw this article. Funny, but I’ve been having serious thoughts, not about if I should write, but if the writing direction I’m pursuing is the right one. What I think I’m discovering is that, no, it’s not. I kind of felt like one of those old-fashioned wind-up toys hitting the wall over and over. Oh, for heaven’s sake, find a new direction and go! That’s where I’m at. Thanks for helping me take a look at this!

    Like

    1. Oh, I know that feeling exactly! That’s how I felt before I decided to write science-fiction. Everything I tried sucked, and left me feeling as if I’d sold out for something I hated just so it was something. But then I held a proud middle finger high in the air, and just did what I wanted. Similarly, getting a blog scared me shitless at first, but then I just jumped over my shadow and did it, and swore I’d only blog about things that really matter to me, not “hot topics” or whatever. πŸ™‚

      I hope you’ll find your way too, Julie. Don’t try to force yourself into a direction, just shut out the world and experiment for yourself (don’t show anyone), and find out what you love to write most of all (fiction & blog alike). Good luck!!

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  8. I agree with all of these except #5. Any of my friends that read my book and/or stories like them, but they all suck at reading so they hardly ever read my work. Half of my family hates that I write science fiction and fantasy, period, and the other half think fantasy equals Twilight. Yeah…

    Like

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