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 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?