Thoughts of quitting have been taking up much of my time recently, and if I’m being entirely honest, not just recently. Since I started writing and publishing some have disappeared from the indie world. Or maybe like me they are simply not spending as much time on social media. That’s where I used to see everyone, Twitter mostly, and I do miss the banter and camaraderie to be had among the indie community on there. But maybe some have truly disappeared. Gone off to try something else. I mean it would be so easy to just walk away from my desk and go and do something easier instead. It’s not as though I write anything of any importance, just some escapism a few readers like, and you start to think, what’s the point?

As I’ve reported before I’m taking part in National Novel Writing Month (Nano) and it started well enough. I stuck to my blocked out writing time and word counts (I’ve just passed 11,500 words). Then work took over which made me miss sessions and I got a cold (and yes, it was just a cold, plenty of sneezing and all that goes with it!). But a really heavy, energy sapping cold and that appeared to do me in completely. I took to the rum, guzzling it like a pirate to ease the symptoms, and ensure a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.

However, it’s not just the cold, my emotions are all over the place, and I know I’m not alone. My reading group met by Zoom one evening and many reported the same sort of feelings. Tears flowing for no obvious reason. The only reason can be because of the way we are living our lives nowadays. Sheltering at home, crowds now being the enemy, along with family and friends. It’s made me have a new appreciation for those that lived through the war. Six years they lived with restrictions on their lives, different restrictions, but restrictions nonetheless. And we’re not even being bombed. So there’s that to be thankful for.

One day might start off okay, on the writing front that is, and I’m able to think more positively that I can do this but the slightest thing will send my spirits spiralling in completely the opposite direction and once again I’m unable to get anything down.

Overwhelm and anxiety is at the heart of it all and in an attempt to cut down on stuff I have to do I pulled my Amazon ads a couple of weeks ago then paused all my BookBub ads completely. For me the margins feel too tight and monitoring the ads was only adding to the anxiety. I’ve booked three slots on some promotion sites instead this month: Ereader News Today, Robin Reads and Booksends. They are in a couple of weeks and until then I’ve got to try not to get anxious at the dropping numbers of units being downloaded by lovely new readers.

Whenever I feel like quitting, two things generally happen. Firstly, I tell myself I’m not a quitter, because I’m really not, it’s not in my nature, because of what if… what if that next book was a real hit with the readers… and secondly, I usually spot some wonderful quote that kicks me up the backside. This week it was this one…

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”– Richard Bach

So I guess I’d better get back to it…

 

So how about you? How are you dealing with the strange new set of stresses and strains on our lives this year? Have you ever quit something? And did you regret it or was it the best thing you ever did? I’d love to know.

20 Responses to Quitting time? #MondayBlogs #writingcommunity #amwriting
  1. I am sorry, Georgia, to know you are feeling so overwhelmed at the moment. I think it is quite understandable, given how difficult this year has been for everyone. I hear your comments about living through a war, but people got together during the war and the comradery helped a huge amount. It is tough to see the point of doing certain things at the moment, but I am sure you do love writing and that is the value in it for you. It is something you enjoy doing for yourself. Perhaps it is best, at a time like this, to focus on your writing for your own enjoyment and pleasure, rather than for readers who are going through similar anxieties to your own.

    • Wise words, Robbie. Thank you. Actually I did manage to get some writing done this weekend and was reminded again how good it is for distracting me from what is going on in the real world.

  2. Great post! I’m sure there are lots of people who can resonate – I know I’m one! Stay strong

  3. Thanks for sharing what so many of us are thinking. What you haven’t mentioned is how much your wonderful books will be helping your readers through this awful time. I suspect there is a lot of book lending going on at the moment, which doesn’t help your numbers, but your words will be easing someone’s anxiety at this very moment. Xx

  4. Thanks for being so candid, Georgia. I totally identify with your thoughts. I’m not sure whether I was already questioning my writing status before the pandemic or whether it has just exacerbated the feeling. Certainly I’ve used it as an excuse to do lots of other things I’ve not done for years because writing has dominated my time, and so since my latest book came out at the end of June, I’ve felt “demob happy”, as though I’ve claimed my life back.

    As I said above, writing can dominate – your time, your thoughts, your focus – and for me it’s hard to find brain power for other things when I’ve got a book underway. If I commit to something, I do tend to become all consumed by it until it’s done and I take a long time to write a book. The activities I’ve been doing recently have much shorter completion time – hours or days rather than weeks and months. So at the moment they have greater appeal because the reward is quicker. That becomes more poignant as I get older!

    I don’t think it’s about being a “successful” author, either. I think if I’d feel under even greater pressure to produce books if I starting selling masses. What I’d like to do is be able to balance my writing (and I do enjoy the creative process) with other parts of “life” but, possibly because of my nature, I’m not sure if that’s doable. So the jury’s out in that one.

    I suspect the pandemic has forced many to take a step back and consider their positions!

    • I think that’s the thing, isn’t it, Wendy. Writing is all consuming, at least it needs to be, if you actually want to complete anything anyway. But I don’t seem to even be able to commit to doing that bit properly. Anyway, I enjoyed a bit of writing I did at the weekend so I shall maybe just continue to plod along with it and see what happens. Keep all my options under consideration as it were – I do like the sound of completing things within hours or days though… and being demob happy… 🙂

    • Wow – balance! Yes! I’ve forgotten what that looks and feels like. I tend to work 7 days a week, either writing or editing and formatting for other writers. Yesterday, around 3pm, I threw up my hands and said, “That’s it. I’m done.” I shut it down and lounged on the couch reading. While it still wasn’t “balance,” it felt good to just escape for a bit.

  5. I think Robbie had a great idea, just write something which pleases you, it doesn’t matter then if it is good or bad but it might get lots of emotions off your chest and onto paper. And how about planning something for spring that has nothing to do with writing which can be done even if we are still stuck with our restrictions. Go wild!

    • I think we will all be going wild once this is all over, Rosie! I think you’re right and I should just write whatever pleases me for a while, that is why I started doing this in the first place after all. Somehow I seem to have lost that along the way.

  6. It’s been a horrible year, and like you I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandparents and parents in wartime. What we’re living through now is easier in some ways, but more difficult in others, and really I think tunnel vision is the best way to cope. Carry on doing what we can, and postpone major decisions as long as possible – we’ll come to the end of this one day. I’ve stepped back a bit from social media recently, but I don’t think it’s because of anything corona-related – the whole books world at the moment feels increasingly frenetic as we all juggle to have our books noticed. I agree with those who said, write what makes you happy. It’s good to escape into a world where we’re (more or less) in control of the action… Take care! xx

    • Thank you, Linda and I agree. It was nice to write in the corona-free world of my current WIP and perhaps I need to do more of that and less of everything else… although my clients may not agree! 🙂

  7. So sorry to hear you are feeling that way, Georgia. I think it has been a dreadful year for all of us. A few weeks ago a friend said to me, ‘When did you last have a day off?’ What she said really resonated with me so when I recovered from Covid, despite worries about getting behind with my schedule, the first thing I did was took a day off and went out to a beautiful castle in the countryside (just before we went into lockdown). It did me the world of good and enabled me to get back on track with my writing feeling much calmer and less stressed. For the same reason I never write at the weekends. I simply put a note in my MSS of where I’m up to so that I can pick it up again on a Monday. I use Saturdays to catch up with everything else and then I try to take some time for me on Sundays.

    It’s so easy for us all to see the time in lockdown as an opportunity to get more work done as, for the most part, we’re unable to go abroad this year. But don’t forget that we take holidays for a reason. It might be an idea to take some time out to refresh and go more easy on yourself.

    Just looking at your latest book on Amazon, it strikes me that you have been doing a lot of things right as most of your ‘also boughts’ are a similar genre. If you go back to writing for pleasure you can always delay the marketing and promotion till you’re ready to release a new novel and then go all out e.g. by reducing the price of previous books etc. Amazon advertising is a minefield in itself. I’ve heard a lot of indies say it doesn’t work but it must work otherwise publishers wouldn’t use it. I think it’s a matter of knowing how to use it effectively. At the moment my publishers are running ads on my books but they’re trying different keywords etc to see which works the best.

    I’m also wondering whether you might have had Covid without realising it. I had it last month and, because I strongly suspected that I might have already had it in March, I wrote it off as a heavy cold and wasn’t going to get tested. The symptoms really were like a bad cold but it leaves you exhausted, which might be why you’re feeling so tired now.

    I hope you make the right decision for you, Georgia. I think you have a talent and it’s worth pursuing but don’t let it dominate your life.

    • You’re quite right about holidays, Heather. I don’t take many anyway but really missed my annual dose of lying around reading books this year. To be honest I don’t think taking the one day off at the moment is going to be enough. However, we are where we are so we’ve just got to grin and bear it a little bit longer. I find Amazon ads do work but need some time to actually do the background work that goes into them. That’s the sort of time I’m missing, it’s not the sort of thing you can pick up when you have the odd half an hour here or there. So you’re probably right to only concentrate on one thing at once and the writing is where it all starts so that seems like the sensible place to put my time and effort.

      Thanks for your thoughts, Heather, it’s much appreciated.

  8. Yes, I’ve had the thought. Very recently. I felt like I’d written enough. I’d reached my personal goals. II had just one more book in me, and that was going to be it. Then I thought how it would be fun to do a series in that setting with those characters. I do it for fun, too. I have other writer friends and they keep me going. We exchange pages and that’s the only reason I write. I know they need my pages by X date. Marketing/promotion always makes me want to stop. I only write. I cannot do design graphics. I can’t do stories on Insta or Facebook. I don’t understand why social media “stories” exist. I understand posts. I even like posting sometimes. I am horrible about keeping up with all the new shiny extra time sink things writers do. I like writing blog posts, but I’m not good with technical things. I really admire them, though. So I do try, but often waste a ton of time on frustrating misstep. If I trim things down to mostly writing and reading, I’m okay.

    • That all sounds so sensible, Cindy, and I like that you know exactly what works for you, and what keeps you happy in this game. My problem is that my thoughts and actions bounce from one extreme to another but, as I was telling someone earlier, I guess for the time being I’ll just bumble along, trying to keep it simple, until what I really want reveals itself to me. Writing and reading… seems like a good way to go.

  9. Hi Georgia. I hear you, and I’m sure every single person feels like that at some point. These are complex times, emotionally, for all of us. The only positive aspects of the covid crisis is the ‘forced’ introspection most of us are currently involved in. That’s precisely why I’ve started writing motivational posts on #mondaymotivation to share all the #personalgrowth authors/experts I’ve been reading lately.
    Before the Internet, I used to tell my children (born in the 80s) the answer to everything is in books, but now we also have the kindle, audiobooks, Internet, YouTube etc. where we can listen to experts on any subject, never has it been easier to get help or information to accomplish your dreams.
    I’m over sixty, so I feel ‘entitled’ to dish out advice every now and then! My humble advice is, do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do in each moment because life is too short not to do so! Life is a process, we learn from both success/gains and loss/failure, and keep going because we’re here to grow and help others grow. I could give you hundreds of examples you’re also aware of, but Ken Follett wrote ten novels before his eleventh became a bestseller. I don’t know if I’ll even write eleven novels, or if I’ll ever write a bestseller, but I’m certainly going to enjoy trying!
    Good luck and keep writing, as long as you enjoy the process, because you write great novels!

    • Yes, I’ve been enjoying your posts, Luccia. Thank you for your kind words and you’re quite right, of course, life is too short not to spend it doing what you enjoy, so I’m reverting back to working on my first drafts, and not putting myself under pressure with it. xx


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