I try to stay pretty honest about my feelings on this blog – the good stuff and the bad – so I think it’s only fair to all of you to admit that sometimes I think about quitting writing.
And I can’t even say it’s because of rejection or the whole publishing process – although as Cait Peterson so aptly puts it on YA Misfits that part is rough.
I think about quitting sometimes because of the writing itself.
Here’s a good parallel: I love to work out. I mean, I don’t love going to the gym, I don’t go, “Oh my god, I can’t WAIT!” But I love pushing myself, feeling the strength of my body, and I love the sensation afterward: exhausted, hollow, but building…becoming stronger. I didn’t always feel this way about exercise. I had a very yo-yo relationship with weight and working out and fitness, and it took a solid six months of making it a priority before I could claim I worked out regularly and enjoyed it.
Still, despite this, it’s still easy for me to fall off the fitness wagon. After my extremely relaxing honeymoon, I had a hell of a time in the next two weeks trying to get up off the couch and move. I would come up with a thousand excuses and revel in all the other fun things I could be doing with that hour. (Reading! Video games! TV!) But when I did finally get back in the habit, I remember my I love it.
This is what my relationship with writing is like, too.
When I’m in the writing zone, it’s awesome. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, but I don’t care because I’m getting words on the page, twisting them around, buffing them up. I’m toying with characters like a fucking demi-god, and I know them all and love them and want other people to hear their stories because I think they’re stories are awesome and important. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good day where the words fall from my fingers like rain or a bad day where I’m wringing them, desperately, from my blood, I have the satisfaction of doing something I love and making progress.
And then, like recently, I finish a draft and send it away for feedback. I give myself “just a little time off” to recover before I start my new project.
And I fall off the wagon.
I don’t mean to, but sometimes it’s so easy for me to let things slide. To start playing video games again. To start marathoning a TV show that I’ve always wanted to watch. To suggest a full Lord of the Rings rewatch with The Man. To do anything but write.
Because it’s hard.
Because it’s time-consuming.
Because it’s basically a mental workout.
I think to myself, “Other people just go to work, come home and do whatever. They don’t have to worry about plotlines and character arcs and how many words they’ve written. They don’t have to tell their significant other, ‘Sorry, sweetie, I can’t cuddle with you and watch TV – I have to work tonight.’ I could be one of those people…”
It doesn’t last. I get antsy. I get restless. Other people’s stories aren’t enough; I want to tell my own, my way. I want to explore new characters and worlds and find out the best ways to tell them.
So I don’t think I’ll ever actually quit, but sometimes, just sometimes, I think about it.