The Persistant Quitter

So I read something simply astounding today. I simply couldn’t find words to express the emotions it evoked within me. I was devastated by its intensity.

Then the most absurd thing happened. Reading this stunning article left me with the overwhelming desire to stop writing. Forever. Never try again. Simply quit. Again. It really is what I’m best at after all; the single action and reaction I’ve practiced and perfected my entire life.

I read this inexplicably beautiful work about language and place and loss, and then I saw that it had been sent into the world on the same day as my most recent blog post, with its tiny writing sample, and my mind shuddered for a moment then screamed, “Stop right now! Oh my lord, you are embarrassing yourself!” And I cried, because I’m splendidly well suited to that reaction as well.

Then I became stubborn. Obstinate. Tenacious.

Yes, my writing was silly and rather pointless in comparison, lacking in every way the mastery that made the article I’d just read something that will leave an imprint within me that I’ll never shake. Of course it was. Of course my work is rough, and kind of crap, and at this point really unfit for sharing about with other literate beings. I’ve wrote stories from the very first moment I was sufficiently able to read and hold a #2 pencil, but I quit completely in 2005 when I decided that if I couldn’t write something publishable, something profitable, then it was a pointless exercise in self indulgence and a waste of time I should instead be spending “adulting around the island, adult, adult, adult.”

So after 9 years I started over. I was scared, and rusty, and completely directionless with it, but I sat there and gave myself permission to write terribly. This attempt lasted three months. At which point I allowed life to cajole me into giving up, again. Over and over I come back to the beliefΒ  that because what I’m doing isn’t lyrical, or epic in scope, or heart wrenching, or whatever the fuck I’m hung up on, that I must stop. That I’m delusional when I begin to hope that writing is a calling of which I’m worthy.

I started over again in January anyhow, with the timed free writes and the prompts and a project I’d probably be ashamed of if my grandmother ever read the stories. And its garbage. Truly awful – with cliches, astonishing grammatical errors, and my continued abuse and overuse of poor little commas. But how will it ever improve, ever grow, ever learn or develop if I keep quitting? Why do I expect such greatness from a skill I’ve consistently abandoned every time I start to feel ridiculous and foolish?

So my writing is young, and rubbish, and will likely never encompass topics as noble and venerable as those encompassed in the article I read today, but its mine. And writing, badly, hurts just a little less than not writing at all, which is a pain I can no longer handle. So I’m writing. I’ll keep on writing. Writing the things that appeal to me, the threads I find that pull me away into the wild, and I’ll bring back those stories, and if they’re never anything more then something I share with my framily, then that’s fine.

It’s all fine.

Published in: on February 28, 2015 at 11:54 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I can totally relate. I procrastinated and put off returning to writing for years because I was scared that what I’d produce just wouldn’t live up to my dreams and expectations. Now that I’ve started again, is my writing perfect? No way. Does it live up to my dreams and expectations? Nope. But have I taken the first step to start getting it to that level? Definitely. We can’t improve our writing until we actually write something that needs improving! 😊

    Btw – just so you know – your blog post just added a lot of inspiration to my day… So thank you for writing it! 😊

    • Awww…Thank you! I’m very glad my post meant something to you!

  2. I am proud of you. While stubbornness isn’t a good trait to a lot of people I feel like it can be useful, it’s a real thing. I am very stubborn, I am a Taurus it comes with the territory. Tell me I have to do a thing and no I fucking don’t, tell me I can’t do a thing and you just better sit and watch me do it. But also the nasty icky voices in my head are stubborn as well and can be very persistent and hard to defeat. I feel like you experience some of these same things. I love you and I am proud of you, I will encourage you whenever and however I can. Because it’s not about being a published author, while that would be awesome, it’s about you being happy. If writing makes you happy then do it, fuck all the uppity douchebags and the naysayers, including the ones inside your head.

    • Stubbornness is one of the many sterling qualities I believe we share with one another. Thank you for your endless support and encouragement. Its more appreciated than you know!

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