Should You Quit Writing?

Maybe it’s because I’m closing in on the end of draft 3 of the novel in progress and my mind is already working on draft 4, or because I never stop wondering if writing is worth all the time I spend on it, but this blog post from Brevity has an awful lot of wisdom and encouragement packed into not very many words. Like this: “It’s not the writers who question their abilities who are in trouble.”

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

I feel GOOD about my work!

A writer asked me:

Have you ever in your work as the Unkind Editor told someone they should quit writing? Which may be another way of asking if you believe there may be those without the necessary abilities to write, to be published, or to be successful as an author; someone with delusional thinking who needs an unkind, direct encounter with this difficult truth.

I’ve heard versions of this question from writers at all skill levels and career stages, but especially from beginning writers who don’t yet have much outside validation and may not know enough other writers to trade work, get honest feedback, and gain a sense of their own writing level.

I feel like I suck at writing, like I’m never going to get better.

All I have are rejections. Should I stop trying to get published?

Nobody I know wants to…

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3 thoughts on “Should You Quit Writing?

  1. That’s an excellent read. The inner-critic is something I think a lot of artists have issues with, but there’s something to be said about how you use it. As much as it seems like a curse at times, it’s helpful to know that the flaws we see show us the improvement that we can make.

    It reminds me of this excellent video by Ira Glass, talking about a very similar subject.


  2. A wonderful found post!

    I think it is normal for writers to worry that we are being far too self-indulgent when we persist at writing despite low or no publication. But the truth is, if we didn’t write, we would spend time and money on a lot of other things to soothe the inevitable unhappiness that would follow any decision to quit writing. So….why stop?


    • Right! And writing is a valuable skill that can be put to uses other than “getting published.” I learned long ago that well-written press releases nd letters to the editor have a much better chance of (a) making it into print and (b) getting read than ones that are too long and/or unfocused and/or just plain sloppy. In the groups I’m involved in, everyone looks at me when there’s writing to be done, and that’s fine with me — though I encourage others to do some of it, mainly because writing press releases, taking minutes, and doing various other writing-related tasks helped me develop my skills and repertoire as a writer. Versatility is a big plus!

      P.S. I highly recommend the Brevity blog, from which this post comes. I try to read everything that’s posted there, even if at first glance it doesn’t seem all that interesting. All of it’s worth reading, and some of it is downright essential.


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