Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Quitting is a No-Win Option

Thought for the day: Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul. [Douglas MacArthur]

[image from Morguefile]
I did it. I wrote those two magical words at the bottom of my WIP, the words that turn writers into conquering heroes and make them feel like marching through the streets with a brass band while cheering fans shower them with tons of chocolate-flavored confetti: THE END!!!

(ahem) Unfortunately, I haven't actually finished writing the book; I just had an irrepressible urge to type those two too-wonderful words... (sigh)

I fully expected to be finished this first draft by now, but my characters are dragging their feet, and the book is running longer than I expected. The light is definitely shining at the end of the tunnel, though, and as best I can tell, it isn't an oncoming train. It's the actual end of the book. Soon. Surely, the THE END will be for real before next month's IWSG post. If not, maybe I should quit writing and take up sky diving.

Right. As you can tell, it's that time of the month again. On the first Wednesday of every month, members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by ninja writer Alex Cavanaugh, blog about the ups and downs of writing. Within this worldwide group of writers resides an endless supply of support and understanding. Here, successes are celebrated, set-backs are commiserated, and the encouragement to keep on keeping on is ever-present.

If you'd like to join this fine group, or if you'd like to follow the links to find other posts, please go HERE

Now then, on to this month's question: Did you ever say 'I quit'? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?


Hmmmmph. I'm not a quitter. I might stop doing something for a while, but I'm not a quitter. I categorically refuse to say those words. It's all about attitude.

For example, when I was pregnant with our oldest child, I took a leave of absence from my job at the hospital. I never officially quit... I simply never went back. Seeing's as how we live in a different state and our son is about to turn forty-six, I don't think there's any need to tender a resignation. Therefore... my no-quitting designation is still good.













[image from Morguefile]

When it comes to writing, or any other pursuit, for that matter, I think of my interests as following a pleasant pattern of ebb and flow.  Just because I'm not doing something at this particular moment in my life doesn't mean I've quit doing it for good, or that I'll never do it again. (Who knows? Maybe I'll even take up macrame again someday...) Taking a break from something is not the same thing as quitting. I'm currently enjoying an 8-year break from smoking, but I dare not say I've quit. (Don't wanta jinx myself.)

So, to answer the question, NO, I have never said I quit, and I've never quit writing. It may have been put on the back burner a time or two, but it has never ever been taken off the stove altogether. I mean, I can hold my breath for a little while, too, but that doesn't mean I plan to quit breathing. Not yet, anyway. I still have a book to finish. The next time I write this glorious word at the bottom of my manuscript, it's gonna be for REAL.

[image from morguefile]


                                    Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.  

                            

68 comments:

  1. I am so very glad to hear that the end of your WIP is near. I am really, really looking forward to reading it. I am thrilled and unsurprised to learn that quitting is not part of your vocabularly.
    Am I a quitter? Perhaps. Is not starting, quitting?

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    1. Thanks. Me, too. I expected this draft to run between 80 and 100 thousand words, but it's already past 105 and still climbing. That just means a LOT of paring to do in the rewrites.

      No, ma'am! Not starting is in a whole other category from quitting. When we refuse to start something, that's generally based on good judgement.

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  2. Point taken, and congratulated, Susan. In the '60s I wrote two plays, a one-act comedy and a three-act drama. The one-act was performed to a good gate. Nobody picked up the longer play. Any success I've had as a dramatist since has turned upon quitting after one act. In fact the shorter my efforts, the happier I am with them. And yet, my house is insulated with shelves of books --I love big stories and philosophical volumes. We each find our own way in writing. Mine is in restraint; others in volumes and sequels. All of us must learn where those "two magical words" appear. That's when the real fun begins!

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    1. It's awesome that you experienced seeing your words acted out on a stage. Even if you never wrote a single other thing after that, nobody can take that experience away from you, dude. Since you say the real fun begins after the appearance of those two magical words when it's the right time to invoke them, I trust you have no regrets about not writing another play. That's good. I never underestimate the power of fun. For me, I try to make it a way of life. :)

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  3. "...take up sky diving"
    Are you nuts??
    Think how your insurance costs will skyrocket!
    Stick to writing, it's much safer. And more fun for us readers.
    Happy "The End"ing.

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    1. Yeah, I'm a little nuts, but trust me, I don't think I'm nuts enough to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. (I've been known to get motion sickness on a porch swing!) But who knows? If I make it to eighty, maybe I'll jump once just to say I did it...

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  4. Hi Susan - and per River ... you'll be around longer for us to enjoy your posts! So don't go up there!! Lovely post ... just fun to read and to see ... I don't quit either ... just slowly move forward ... cheers and til your next update ... happy early summer - Hilary

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    1. Don't worry. Just because my brother and one of my sons LOVED jumping out of airplanes and helicopters doesn't mean it's something I'd ever seriously consider doing. (No bungee jumping, either!) Then again, maybe someday...

      Good! Quitting is for... quitters! Even if progress is slow, it's still progress.

      Happy early summer to you, too.

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  5. Know all too well what it's like to work on a project that's taking longer than expected. Best of luck finally reaching the end of your book!

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  6. very interesting! I like it: "I didn't quit; I simply never went back."

    Interesting to know there's a writer's support group!

    Yeah, I haven't quit either. I just didn't take the time...

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    1. Thanks. Not taking the time to quit sounds like a perfectly reasonable path to me...

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  7. You can do it, Susan - THE END is near! In a good way, of course. :)

    I always knew that's what those vultures were saying every time I jogged by! :)

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    1. HA! Yes... in a good way.

      I know what you mean. Sometimes, I worry about standing in one place too long. Vultures are very impatient...

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  8. You'll get to the end of that tunnel, Susan. You go girl!

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    1. HA! Thanks. I'm going, I'm going... (But the tortoises and snails are flying past me...)

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  9. LOL. I actually NEVER type those words in a manuscript. Is that silly? *shrugs* On my last published book, I rewrote the end from scratch three separate times...thus my hesitation to ever put such finality on a work.

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    1. HA! Nah, you just don't need to kid yourself with a false sense of accomplishment, I guess. We all know how much more work awaits us after finishing that first draft. I rather look forward to giving myself a virtual "the end" pat on the head whenever I can. (i.e. "YAY!!! You did the laundry... good girl!" HA)

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    2. I pat my washing machine and say good girl when she does every load. Dear old thing is 21 this year, so a little praise is well deserved.

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  10. haha a cheat "the end" Such a cheater. I don't think I've ever written them at the end of any book.

    Never saying I quit? Hmm might be splitting hairs with the hospital job haha I'd sure like to say it 1000 times with my current job, but need a new one first.

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    1. HA! Just a teensy weensy little cheat.

      What? No! Not splitting hairs at all! I took a leave of absence. :)

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  11. THE END the two sweetest words in a writers vocabulary. Congratulations. ....go ye forward and do it again lol.

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    1. They sure are, even if we know it's the first "the end" is the beginning of many more rounds of rewriting and editing.

      Thanks. I will. :)

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  12. First off, I totally LOVE the writer's block kitty cat. Too cute and reminds me of my Nate.
    Also, it cracked me up that you wrote THE END even though it wasn't. LOL LOL. But I have no doubt that you'll be writing it for real soon enough. So excited and I know your book will be another great read.

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    1. The writer's kitty looks like our cat Dot, but out cats both prefer to block me by inserting their beautiful bodies between me and the monitor... or lying smack dab in the middle of my notebook.

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. :)

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  13. "The End" is like a drug. We all want it so badly. lol

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  14. This is fantastic! I laughed out loud several times. Especially when you confessed that you weren't at the end of your novel, you just wanted to type The End. Maybe I should try that sometimes, give myself a little boost of morale?

    A leave of absence: that sounds so much better than quitting. I'm actually getting ready to take a Sabbatical from social media and, I thought, writing, but, wouldn't you know it, it won't let me? Le sigh. Here's to a grand summer!

    Cheers (from a new follower)
    Jen

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    1. Welcome aboard! Thanks for signing on as a new follower.

      Yes, try typing "The End" just for the helluva it. Feels great! (For about ten seconds. Then reality sets in, the rotten little spoilsport. No sense of humor at all.)

      Cheers back atcha!

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  15. Funny you typed the end!
    I get the impression you're never going back to that job...

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  16. Give those character some slaps on their butts to get them moving again.

    Love,
    Janie

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  17. The End. Well, those characters better catch up to you! Excellent post and you put into words what I do. Other than my blog, I haven't been writing much, but the words are floating in my head. They'll gather one of these days and pop out onto the computer screen. Taking a break...yeah, that's the ticket.
    P.S. I do quit some exercise stuff. Flat out quit and say no way. And I'm okay with that.

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    1. Actually, it's the other way around. I feel like I'm trying to catch up with my darned characters. Since they've taken things over, they seem to know what's happening better than I do, so they're way ahead of me.

      Okay, but don't take a break for TOO long. All those words floating around in your head can't be good for your health, young lady, especially since you bailed on some of your exercises... HA

      Have a super weekend, kiddo.

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  18. Hi. Could I have some of that chocolate confetti please? LOL. Your sense of humor will keep you headed for the finish line and no hecklers will stop you now. Keep on, keep on!

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    1. Hi-ya. Sure, you can have as much of the chocolate confetti as you'd like. (It keeps getting stuck in my teeth...)

      Yes, ma'am. Keeping on keeping on...

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  19. I wonder if the hospital has noticed how long your "Leave of Absence" has been ;)

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    1. Probably not. Most of the people who were on my team are probably retired or dead by now.

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  20. So proud of you, friend Sue ... in the meantime I will stick with Pearl and co. ... Love, cat.

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    1. ... going back wards is a tempting option, friend Sue, but so is looking what's around the next bend, hmmm ? Love, cat.

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    2. Thanks, dear cat.

      No desire to go backwards for me. I have enough trouble not falling over when I'm moving forward. :)

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  21. Great to read your post and the comments too!
    I love Hilary's "I don't quit either ... just slowly move forward"
    I can relate to that! LOL!

    Take Care

    All the best Jan

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    1. Yes, ever forward. Nobody said we had to break any speed records. :)

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  22. Your 46-year leave of absence cracks me up!
    It's all about perspective, huh? And maybe, if I start calling my 4-year cigarette cessation a 'break", I won't feel so depressed?

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    1. Abso-doggone-lutely. Perspective changes everything. No need to feel depressed. Just think of yourself as being "between cigarettes"...

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  23. Between cigarettes, sounds good. I went cold turkey at 30, still have that damn desire every now and then. :)
    Quit, never a quitter. I'm one of those who has to prove the world wrong! I can do it! Oh yes, I can!
    :) Hey, Susan, Happy June!

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    1. Hi-ya.

      I went cold turkey, too, but I rarely get the urge any more.

      You don't have to prove it to ME... I already KNOW you can. :) Happy June back atcha.

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  24. The affliction of being a writer is definitely ebb and flow - - every writer works in his/her own unique way. "Never give up" is definitely the best advice. Those joyous words "the end" will eventually materialize....

    Last?? But hopefully not least....

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    1. Definitely not the least, cowboy... and you aren't the last, either. :)

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  25. I like that way of thinking about it.

    I twice considered....taking a permanent break from writing, but I like it too much. ;-)

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    1. We can all take a break from writing now and then, but I hope you never take a permanent one. Your writing is too good to be stilled.

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  26. Never say quit. It's four-letter word. Love your header photo :) Happy Weekend!

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    1. That's right. Never say those dirty words. I KNOW you never do... you're a human dynamo.

      You have a super weekend, too.

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  27. Never quit. And if you do, make sure, it's just for a lie-down. :-) Then, start again.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Yes, a nap. Such a glorious thing, but for some reason, no matter how tired I am, I can't fall asleep during the day. Could have something to do with the cats who insist on "helping" me lie down, I suppose...

      Greeting back atcha.

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  28. Good for you, hang in there and best wishes!

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  29. I'm very familiar with that back burner too. Good to know that front burner is always available to reclaim. :) Have a nice weekend.

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    1. Fortunately, I have one of those "professional" stove-tops with FIVE burners... :)

      You have a super weekend, too.

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  30. You really had me going there for a second, typing The End... Of course there's nothing wrong with starting at the beginning and at the end and then fill in the middle.

    I like your thinking on never quitting. I'm taking intermittent breaks from sweets and chocolates and sugar these days...but quit? Never!

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    1. I'm straining ever closer to that elusive ending. :) Shouldn't be too long, now.

      I'm never giving up on sweets, either. It would be too much of a shock for my body to handle. :)

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  31. Hi Susan, Love the maternity leave story! You're like The Little Engine That Could who keeps plugging along no matter what obstacles come along. I can't wait to read your book when it's finished, though I know that I'll start laughing and crying all over again.

    Julie

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    1. Hi-ya, Julie. It's good to hear from you. :)

      Nah, I'm more like the Big Engine that's too stubborn to stop.

      Thanks. Don't hold your breath, 'kay? Still have lots of rewriting and editing to do. :)

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  32. I love your leave of absence story. Like you, we don't quit either. Sometimes we can be slow, and lazy, and drag our feet... but we never quit.

    That sounded way more inspiring in my head.

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  33. I'm with you. I'd much rather take a break than say I quit. But then I'm stubborn.

    I've nominated your blog for the 2017 Liebster award. Check it out here! If it's not your thing that's fine, don't feel obligated to participate. I'd still love to have your book recommendation though! http://annw.shannonauthor.org/liebster-award-2017/

    Have a great day!
    Ann

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    1. Something tells me a certain amount of stubbornness is a requirement for all writers. :)

      Thank you, ma'am, but I'm gonna have to decline for now. Sorry.

      You have a great day, too!

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