Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When is enough, enough?

Have you ever felt like quitting? I don't mean a passing thought because things are hard at the moment. I've been there, and conquered those thoughts pretty easily. I don't even mean closing your computer and stepping back for a day or a week or even a month. I've had to do that, too.

 I mean the type of gut-wrenching, soul searching that leaves you feeling hollow inside. As though you're considering killing forever a part of yourself--part of what makes you who you are.

I have.

I almost did.

Guys, this hasn't been an easy road for me. I kept thinking, I'll wait to talk about how hard things have been for the day when things turn around. I'll wait until I have good news to share so I can say, "See? I didn't give up and now I made it!"

That hasn't happened yet.

But something else did. I looked myself--truly looked at myself, in all my imperfect glory. I stared at the hole that would have opened up inside of me if I truly did give up--forever. I wasn't just talking about taking a break. I'm not good at breaks. I push myself too hard, I expect too much. I was seriously considering giving in to the self-doubt and the pain and the frustration and walking away forever. I knew if I made that decision, it would be final. I'm not a quitter, and to have seriously considered it, I knew it would be something I would have to do 100%. I'd have to completely close off that part of my life, or it would hurt too much.

I tried to decide which would be worse. Would having that hole in my heart, that black, gaping tear in my soul from truly failing (by quitting) be worse? Or would the ongoing hurt from the continual rejection, the pain of feeling like I was never good enough, the seemingly never-ending frustration of always having bad timing, be worse?

I stared at those two, stark realities and I made a decision. I fought through the blackness, I forced myself to keep writing. Because I can't bear not to. I can't bear the thought of having fought for this dream to become reality for six years (after writing books and dreaming of being published my whole life), only to give up now. Are there other roads I could take to be published, to get my books out there? Yes, of course there are. I have good friends who have taken other paths and are very happy with them. But for me, right now, I still want to pursue traditional publishing with a major publisher.

And I refuse to give up. I refuse to quit.

I wish this had a happy ending: and because I didn't quit, now I have _____!! But that hasn't happened yet. What I do have, is a book that I finished by sheer determination, driven by the love for writing that just wouldn't die, no matter how much I wanted it to. I have a story that wouldn't come out for months, driving me absolutely crazy--until I finally figured out what needed to happen, and then the last 40k flew out of my mind and through my fingers in just under a week.

I have a new book that I love, a book that I am so excited about, I can hardly stand it.

And I have renewed hope.

For now, that will have to be enough. And someday, I'll have good news to share. Because I didn't quit.

What about you? Have you ever reached that point? If so, how did you overcome it?

12 comments:

prerna pickett said...

such an amazing and motivating post! Keep going, you'll get there!

Kathryn Purdie said...

Sara, I am so proud of you. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE your manuscript. I have more faith in you than ever. This is truly something special, and you are a gifted, amazing writer. Thank you for inspiring me and for never giving up!

Nichole Giles said...

I've been there. It sucks. But it doesn't last forever, and Sara, I know you will get to the other side of this awful black hole. It's coming. Just keep hanging on.

Andrea Mack said...

Hi Sara! I have come very close to quitting writing too, so I can empathize with you. It's so hard sometimes. I'm glad to hear you have a new project to motivate you and get you going again! That's usually what helps me get back to writing.

Janet Johnson said...

Wow. Powerful post! I think when you put the two options together like that, it really stands out. Writing is amazingly hard. We spend years putting our souls into a work that may never see the light of day, and it eats at us all. the. time. I would never look down on anyone for choosing to walk away.

I have had moments, perhaps not as intense, but I realized that I'd never be able to stay away. It would always eat at me. I'd always be itching to write something. So I decided to be content with writing for me. Writing with no deadlines (other than personal ones). Writing for pleasure. I'm not there yet, but I'm in it for the long haul.

Cheers to you for your decision. Monumental!

Colene Murphy said...

What an incredible post. I'm so glad for you that you didn't quit. I had that same talk with myself a month or so ago and had to come to the same conclusion. I couldn't do anything else but this. Trying, writing, dreaming. Without it, what's left? (for me, anyway) You really are an incredible writer, and I'm SO SO glad you didn't put it behind you, and look forward to buying you off the shelves one of these days. It will happen. I know it will for you.

Thank you for writing this post, being honest when it's so hard. But really, people need to know they aren't alone. You're not, and the people reading this in the same boat, or that will come upon the same thing will read and remember and hopefully be inspired by you.

Janiel Miller said...

Really great post, Sara. Thanks for writing it. You are determined. You are talented. It's going to work out. The trick is to be happy with what you are doing now.

I've felt like giving up writing many times but can't. So as Janet up there said, I've come 'round to writing for me. I'll still pursue publishing, but I have to be okay with writing for me now. And actually, I'm writing for my kids. They read it and love it, and that's good enough on most days. If nothing else, I've got a writing legacy for my children.

You're great. You'll get there.

Cheree Smith said...

A very motivating and inspiring post. You just have to keep going at it and you'll get there.

Carolyn V said...

Yes...yes I have. Just this summer I was thinking about it. But a story idea bit me and now I'm back to writing again. I won't quit either.

Great post Sara. You really are awesome. <3

Kristan Hoffman said...

Once again, your honesty and bravery are inspiring. Truly. It's a tough road we are choosing to walk -- and one that might take us where we want to go, or might not -- but either way it almost never gets us there the way we expect. Posts like this remind us that we *can* persevere. Hopefully the comments remind you that you don't have to walk it alone, either. :)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Attitude is everything, I've learned, and I'm happy to see you getting into a spot where you're letting your attitude change to a positive thing instead of bringing you down. Everybody's path is different. Wanting another person's path will never give us what will make us happy. Forging your own is always worth it. Great post, Sara. I'm rooting for you!

Elle Strauss said...

Good for you, Sara! I believe you will make it the way you want to one day :)