The Secret to Success–Quitting

 

Want to know the secret to success? Quitting. Yes, you heard me correctly. And, if you’re a creative professional, it is in your interest to learn to get really good at quitting. Maybe you’ve felt like a loser or a failure, that your dream to make a living with your art was a fool’s errand.

Maybe, if you are anything like me, just maybe you had friends and family and people around you telling you that you were a dreamer, that you needed to get your head out of the clouds and to let go of your “magic beans” and learn to be something practical that made a good paycheck and came with dental benefits. Maybe, in an effort to counteract all this negativity, you found yourself wandering the inspiration books in Half Price Bookstore (namely because you were too broke to buy books full-price). And maybe, just maybe, you clung to the little dog-eared quote books full of really bad advice.

Bad advice?

Yes. Bad advice like:

Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever. ~Lance Armstrong

You can never quit. Quitters never win and winners never quit. ~Ted Turner

You know what you call the writer who never gives up? Published. ~J.A. Konrath

Okay, well I won’t say this is exactly BAD advice, rather it is incomplete advice. Yet, this incomplete advice can get us into a lot of trouble.

Winners Quit All the Time

I posit this thought; if we ever hope to achieve anything remarkable, we must learn to quit. In fact, I’ll take this another step. I venture to say that most aspiring writers will not succeed simply because they aren’t skilled at quitting.

Ooooohhhh.

Learning Discernment

One problem many artists have is we lack discernment. It’s easy to get trapped in all-or-nothing thinking. If we defy family in pursuit of our art and something stops working properly, out of pride often we will persist even when the very thing we are attempting is the largest reason we will fail.

We keep reworking that first novel over and over. We keep querying the first novel and won’t move on until we get an agent. We keep writing in the same genre even though it might not be the best fit for our voice. We keep marketing the first self-published book and don’t move forward and keep writing more books and better books.

Learning to Quit is the Surest Insurance Against Failure

In fact, in my book Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer I even say, “Persistence looks a lot like stupid.” The act of never giving up is noble, but never giving up on the wrong things is a formula to fail. We have to learn to detect the difference between quitting a tactic and quitting a dream.

If I am trying to climb Mt. Everest, but I am repeatedly failing at climbing the one side, which is a sheer rock face with no way to get a footing, then it is suicide to keep trying the same thing. If, however, I regroup, hike back to the bottom and take another way up the mountain, I am a quitter…but I am NOT a failure. In fact, to win I must quit.

Learn to Quit from the Best

Most of us suck at knowing how and when to quit. This is one of the reasons it is a good idea to surround ourselves with successful people, because successful people are expert quitters. When I started out, I had all the wrong mentors. I had friends who quit writing when it was boring or who quit querying after a handful of rejections. They quit attending critique because they got their feelings hurt when people didn’t rave their book was the best thing since kitten calendars.

All this wrong kind of quitting is easy to fall into. Excuses are free, but they cost us everything.

My Life Changed When I Changed the Quitters in My Company

It all started with the DFW Writer’s Workshop. I attended and met people living the life I wanted to have…the life of a professional writer. They were the same as me, and yet very different. When I went to DFW’s conference–which I HIGHLY recommend so sign up NOW for the May conference–I found myself being pushed to yet a higher level.

I met and stalked Candy Havens. Candy is an excellent quitter. She wrote her first bad book and didn’t spend the next six years trying to resurrect it. She sought training and experts and moved forward. She quit outside hobbies and friends that took away from her goal of becoming a professional author.

The next great quitter I met? Oooh, this guy was a real turning point in my life. In fact, I regularly give thanks I met this person because his kind of quitting took me to a whole new level in my career. NYTBSA Bob Mayer. Bob is the best quitter I’ve ever met.

Bob taught me the importance of setting goals, because goals help us know when and what to quit. Bob showed me that it was okay to quit. It was okay to walk away from things that weren’t working and try something new. He walked away from the author life he’d always known, the safe route, and he quit. He decided to start a publishing company. It was the bravest kind of quitting I’ve ever seen. I know it was hard for him, and I am so thrilled to see him reaping the rewards for his hard work and bravery.

New York publishing should pay attention. If something isn’t working QUIT. Move on! If we have to defend and justify what we are doing there’s something wrong.

Everything is Our Enemy

It’s hard to know when to quit. I’m a loyal person. I’m loyal to a fault and I struggle every day with this lesson. But I’ve recently come to a conclusion. People who reach their dreams don’t get there by doing EVERYTHING. Everything is dead weight. Everything will keep us from focusing. Everything gets us distracted. Everything is the enemy.

As you guys know, recently I had to let go of my critique group. It just wasn’t working. It wasn’t that I didn’t love every person in there, but with gas prices at $5 a gallon (and nothing in Texas is close) the attendance just was never great. Then, there were all the other dreams I wanted to achieve, so I had to let go. No bad feelings.

I love teaching blogging classes, but I had to let go of doing it the way I was doing it. It was too cumbersome and it was affecting how well I could teach. The tactic was endangering the outcome.

I had to realize that to win I had to quit. Sometimes our goals are correct, just how we are trying to get there is flawed. There is nothing wrong with having a goal of going to Florida from Texas. I can start out on a pogo stick, but no one would blame me for trading it for a car.

Sometimes we need to let go of inefficiencies, and if we don’t let go, then failure is just a matter of time.

Artists Actually Need More Quitting

Quit your day job. Today. This moment. Now, by quitting, I don’t mean you should throw your laptop in a waste can and take a bat to that copy machine that’s eaten every presentation you’ve tried to photocopy since the day you were hired….though that might be fun.

No, I mean mentally QUIT, then hire yourself to the dream. Screw aspiring. Aspiring is for pansies. It takes guts to be a writer. It takes guts to be any kind of creative professional. Hire yourself to the job you dream about. TODAY.

When I was at the North Texas RWA Conference I heard the best term EVER. No aspiring writers, only pre-published writers. If you want to be a professional author, you must quit to win. The day job is no longer the ends, but rather the means. The day job is just venture capital funding the successful art-making business…YOU.

You are a pre-published author…who happens to also be a stay-at-home-mom, a computer programmer, a salesperson, a whatever.

Learn to Quit Being Everything

Again, Everything is the enemy. Friends and family will want you to keep being the maid and the taxi and the babysitter and the buddy who can spend all day shoe-shopping. Many of us will try to keep being Everything to everyone and we’ll just try to “fit in” writing, but that is the lie that will kill the dream. We can’t be Everything!

We must learn when to quit and to be firm in quitting. Others have the right to be disappointed, but they’ll get over it. And, if they really love us they will get over it quickly and be happy for our resolve to reach our dreams. If they don’t? They’re dead weight and it’s better to cull them out of our life sooner than later.

Yes, this is hard stuff. Reaching our dreams is simple, but it will never be easy ;).

Next week we’ll explore some more ways to know how and when to quit. In the meantime, I do recommend Bob Mayer’s Write It Forward. This is an excellent book to teach how to set goals and make a plan for success. I also recommend Seth Godin’s The Dip–The Little Book That Teaches When to Quit and When to Stick. I do have to say that I loved Seth Godin’s book, but I was a tad annoyed to spend $11 on a 50 page book. It is a wonderful book with loads of great advice, but I suggest getting a used copy. I felt a bit gouged.

So what are some of your quitting stories? Did it work? Were you better off? Tell us your quit to win story! Do you need help sticking to your guns? Hey, your family doesn’t get you, but we do! Do you have a problem and you don’t know if you should stick or quit? Put it in the comments section and let us play armchair psychiatrist!

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of April I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Last Week’s Winner of 5 Page Critique–Rachel Sullivan!!! Please send your 1250 word Word document to author kristen dot lamb at g mail dot com.

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.


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  1. #1 by Mary @ Book Swarm on April 16, 2012 - 11:59 am

    You’re so right–sometimes, you just need to quit what’s not working and start something new. It’s an incredibly scary thing to quit, especially if that story’s been in your head forever and now, it’s not just a story but a warm Snuggie on a cold winter’s night. But quitting can lead to more ideas which might lead down an unexpected path. Great post!

  2. #2 by Piper Bayard on April 16, 2012 - 12:05 pm

    Cue up Kenny Rodgers, because “You got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em.” It’s easy to start chasing the pot when you’ve got no cards in your hand. Fold, learn, and move on to win the next round. Hard lesson, but in a way, it’s the only lesson.

    Thanks for a great post, Kristen, and thanks for teaching me to fold out those Little Darlings.

    • #3 by Ed on April 16, 2012 - 12:16 pm

      Oh, I love that song!

      As for quitting, seeing as how I am less than a month away from graduating from college, as much as I’d like to say, “Screw these papers and tests,” quitting my academic life at the present moment would probably fall under the category of “foolhardy.”

      However, as soon as I get that diploma, I am out of the school world (for a while, if not forever). Despite everything that I still have to do, I have felt that inner voice calling me back to the book that has been languishing on my computer. It’s funny how when we are most busy, it oten becomes more realistic to schedule writing in with everything else.

      Then again, maybe it’s just another way of procrastinating on writing the papers and studying for the tests I’m *supposed* to be worrying about right now ;)

  3. #4 by Coleen Patrick on April 16, 2012 - 12:07 pm

    Great post, but I have to admit it took me a couple of paragraphs before realizing you were not talking about QUILTING. I thought it was going to be a metaphor, until I realized Lance Armstrong probably didn’t say Quilting lasts forever. It’s ok, it’s monday.

    • #5 by Catherine Johnson on April 16, 2012 - 12:12 pm

      LOL Coleen!

      • #6 by KM Huber on April 16, 2012 - 12:37 pm

        Ditto, LOL Coleen!

        • #7 by Imelda Evans on April 16, 2012 - 6:12 pm

          If only the secret to succes WAS quilting! Fabric heaven! You have to know when to QUILT! Oh my, still laughing!

  4. #8 by Catherine Johnson on April 16, 2012 - 12:11 pm

    I’ve quit trying to write pbs in the traditional sense, it just wasn’t working for me and I’m thrilled my CPs like my new style and grateful for the blogs where I saw the same thing in other books. Here’s to quitting and discovering new shiny methods.

    • #9 by Julie on April 17, 2012 - 8:45 am

      Love that you are true to your voice Catherine!

  5. #10 by Mary on April 16, 2012 - 12:15 pm

    Very good points indeed Kristen. Quitting is more difficult for me. I will quit negative people, or things holding me back too much. But things I’m involved with now, I really can’t quit, like voice over, and acting. They can delay my writing sometimes, yet they help too. Time is my greatest enemy and the one thing I can’t control. I quit my last writer’s group after two years with them and I’m with WANA now. I like the structure they use and in the last few months I’ve seen more progress in my work than the last ten years of attending writer’s workshops.
    Again, excellent points!

  6. #11 by Anne R. Allen (@annerallen) on April 16, 2012 - 12:21 pm

    This is brilliant. And something I really needed to hear right now. Thanks heaps!

  7. #12 by Jessi Gage on April 16, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Jessi Gage and commented:
    Wonderful blog by a wonderful pay-it-forward warrior writer. Please check out Kristen’s blog today on the benefits of being a quitter!

  8. #13 by Laura on April 16, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    Great advice. Because the other thing is, I know from bitter experience that if I don’t quit, the universe will continue to make things harder and harder on me until it’s just so terrible I have no choice but to quit. And then things get infinitely better. It’s amazing how freeing “letting go” actually is. Pity I need to be kicked in the rear every time…

  9. #14 by Sharon Hamilton on April 16, 2012 - 12:30 pm

    I so agree with you Kristin. We try to be everything to everyone. I’ve had to quit a lot of things. Some of them are things I didn’t think I could do without. Funny how you don’t miss them, really. I’m one of those, if one class is good, why not take 5 at once and never finish them? Stay confused all the time? Over-obligate (I think this should be its own word but spellcheck says otherwise) myself to too many groups, chapters. Funny how no one really forgets you. And all the important stuff others tell you about without sitting there hour after hour.

    Oh, and then on the subject of parenting. Quitting there works much better too. I’m learning to zip it. Let them ask me.

    Bob Mayer is right. If we’re on overwhelm, we don’t have a focused plan. And that means deciding on what to do. De”cide” like in suicide and homicide – to kill off your options. Sometimes we have too many.

  10. #15 by Sharon Hamilton on April 16, 2012 - 12:33 pm

    Reblogged this on Gardens of the Heart's Blog.

  11. #16 by Maria Toth on April 16, 2012 - 12:38 pm

    I just quit my job last week…went back to work to earn enough $$$’s to buy a new computer and other techy gadgets, but after I bought everything I wanted/needed… I stayed and stayed and stayed. I worked crazy hours, never finding balance between writing and my “paying” job. Recently, a writer friend made a comment to me…”the craft store was taking over your soul.” Now, there’s a scary thoguht. So, I’m back to writing, and I’m already happier/productive. Empty pockets, but happy!

    BTW…. I like to think of my time spent at the craft store as a year long writing/research assignment. :-)

  12. #17 by KM Huber on April 16, 2012 - 12:40 pm

    Another fine essay, Kristen. It really sparkles with what counts: everything is no-thing. Thank you.
    Karen

  13. #18 by Pamela Beason on April 16, 2012 - 12:41 pm

    I, like many writers, am at that very hard spot in the road where my creative writing is beginning to pay well, but is not yet so paying so well that I feel I can give up a by-the-hour-contract when it comes along. However, I know I need to quit “doing it all” so I can truly focus on writing and promoting my books. Yep, it’s tough. Thanks for the encouragement!

  14. #19 by alexlaybourne on April 16, 2012 - 12:44 pm

    This is a post that just came along at the right time. At work, my boss is picking on me because out of the whole office, I am the only one who will speak my mind, speak for the group. They all whine behind his back, but nobody mentions the problem, real problems, when the time comes.

    I have spent the whole day dreaming about quitting my job and opening my own book shop / coffee bar.A place for people to read and relax, books and magazines on a menu loaded onto e-readers of choice. Private rooms for quiet reading or even studying (my dream location is near the local – large – university. I also have a craft / play room for kids so that mothers can get away and enjoy a bit of me time, knowing their kids are being looked after and entertained.

    My wife and nobody else understands my dream or would support it even if I go through with it. Being the sole earner in the house, the pressure is all on my shoulders to remain in the job that I loathe. Writing aside, running that little shop it my dream.

  15. #20 by devereloots on April 16, 2012 - 12:45 pm

    Interesting Obit. in this week’s Time. Author Harry Crews once said: ‘The real artist, with no tear in his eye and no sadnessin his heart, puts the pages in the fire and does it again.’ He was speaking about the courage to throw away a half finished novel when it took a wrong turn.

    • #21 by Maria Toth on April 27, 2012 - 11:57 am

      Alex, I say keep your eyes on that dream! You have lots of great ideas for your coffee shop. I especially like the quiet reading/study rooms & play area for kids. And location near a university is also smart. There are so many moms going to college who’d appreciate a place like this one. And good for you for speaking up at your job. My husband put up with a boss like that for years until he recently quit. Hubby’s commute is longer (S. Cal traffic), but he says his mind is clear and he can actually think of things he wants to do now. So, hang in there! Things do get better!

  16. #22 by alexlaybourne on April 16, 2012 - 12:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author and commented:
    I just had to re-blog this post from the amazing Kristen Lamb. It is a post that will make you think, and one that I found perfectly fitting after the day I have had of dreaming about the things I wish I could do.
    Thank you Kristen, after reading this post, I now know… I can.

  17. #23 by Jessi Gage on April 16, 2012 - 12:52 pm

    LOL on Colleen’s QUILTING comment. Still chuckling minutes after reading it.

    Kristen, you rock. Knowing when to quit is a concept this perseverate people pleaser sometimes struggles with. At one point I had 3 different writing or critique groups going (4 if you count Candy’s awesome Yahoo writing workshop, which I would never dream of quitting because you truly can put into it what you can at any given time), and I was a pregnant mommy of a 1.5 year old. It was a bit much. And the time I had for actual writing…wasn’t much at all.

    Now I have a 2.5 yo and a 10 mo and attend 1 crit group with 2 wonderful ladies whose writing I love and opinions I trust. I also have one close friend who is a reliable, honest critique partner. It was hard to let go of the other groups, one of which I was a moderator of, but this quitting concept you speak of really has merit, because by freeing up all the time I was sinking into those crit groups, I had the time and energy to actually write, polish and query, and I found myself an editor who decided I had something worth publishing (Thank you, Piper from Lyrical!).

    I wasn’t thinking of it as quitting at the time. Survival was more like it, but it’s the same concept, and reading your blog helps me feel very smart for letting go of those committments when I did. Like you said, I still love the peeps, and I’m rooting for them, but I had to let go and be a little selfish–or prioritize–whatever you choose to call it.

    Thanks for the post. It really did make my day.

  18. #24 by Leanne Shirtliffe on April 16, 2012 - 12:55 pm

    Do you ever have those weeks with things converge all at once? Well, this post is one of them. I recently read Jon Acuff’s Quitter. It’s a good read but like Godin, it’s a bit steep at $9.99. Another highly compelling read about a new writer struggling to believe in his dream and survive (supporting his wife and 4 kids/living in parents basement/food stamps) is Shawn Smucker’s “Building a Life out of Words.” It’s only 3.99 at Amazon.

  19. #25 by thenouveaupoor on April 16, 2012 - 1:15 pm

    This wonderful post made me remember a writer who joined my critique group (which I eventually quit because it wasn’t working for me!). He followed a goal of a certain number of pages per day. And he reached it. Over the years, he wrote book after book, turning them out several pages at a time. But they never improved, and they never sold. Each book carried the same flaws as the first book. I look forward to your advice on knowing when to change tactics.

  20. #26 by prudencemacleod on April 16, 2012 - 1:24 pm

    Kristen, this is one of your best posts yet. Your advice is right on the mark. Keep ‘em coming. :)

  21. #27 by Marcy Kennedy on April 16, 2012 - 1:24 pm

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. As a born people-pleaser, I’ve always struggled with wanting to be everything to everyone and wanting to make everyone happy. That’s a fast train to crazy. I’m slowly learning that I can’t be everything, and that I have to keep a close eye on what’s working and what isn’t.

  22. #28 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on April 16, 2012 - 1:25 pm

    There has to be a line somewhere between – just try harder, and quit – you’re wasting your time. Where’s the line? That’s my conundrum right now. How do you know something’s not working, and not working yet? Thoughts?

    • #29 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 16, 2012 - 1:42 pm

      I am going to talk about that next Monday ;). Ack! The suspense! Actually it isn’t easy, but it is doable.

  23. #30 by A.M. Boyle on April 16, 2012 - 1:30 pm

    I loved this post! It really hit home for me because I am one of those writers who feels like “everything else” needs to be done before I can squeeze in time for my writing. I gave up a 17 year career as a lawyer to pursue my writing dream and there has been many a day when I mentally beat myself up because of the apparent absurdity of giving up a lucrative job to pursue what often seems like a pipe dream. I did reblog this post (as best I know how) and I mentioned your books as well, more out of respect for your post than a desire to win any prizes. Thank you for allowing me to share your insights with my blog readers.

  24. #31 by Satin Sheet Diva on April 16, 2012 - 1:36 pm

    OMG – “No, I mean mentally QUIT, then hire yourself to the dream. Screw aspiring. Aspiring is for pansies. It takes guts to be a writer. It takes guts to be any kind of creative professional. Hire yourself to the job you dream about. TODAY.

    When I was at the North Texas RWA Conference I heard the best term EVER. No aspiring writers, only pre-published writers. If you want to be a professional author, you must quit to win. The day job is no longer the ends, but rather the means. The day job is just venture capital funding the successful art-making business…YOU.

    You are a pre-published author…who happens to also be a stay-at-home-mom, a computer programmer, a salesperson, a whatever.”

    I’m so glad you put this into words that made sense; all I had was this feeling in my head that wanted me to feel guilty for my heart no longer being “in” my day job. I show up, do what I need to do, then spend the rest of my time working on my writing; studying blogs like this one, or working on my social marketing. I don’t feel as guilty as I did before. Thank you!!

  25. #32 by neyska on April 16, 2012 - 1:37 pm

    Another great article. I never thought about it in these terms, but I have quit a number of early novels. It is really hard to let them go and there are a few that I intend to rewrite because I believe the stories are great, but the voice and writing skills weren’t developed yet. Right now, I have one book out shopping agents with some very positive feedback so far and hope to have three more running the circuits by the end of this year (yes, this is realistic since I have three that just need a little more polishing). :-)

    Sometimes letting go and moving on is the best thing. What you learn from those books helped you improve, so the time wasn’t wasted.

  26. #33 by Jennifer Lewis Oliver on April 16, 2012 - 1:58 pm

    I have a quit to win story. I was in a miserable job with an hour long commute each way. I was working through lunches and after my “go home” time. But the pay wasn’t great so the OT was needed. I was writing in between tasks at work and at night until I fell asleep. I burnt out very quickly and it started affecting my health. I had gained a ton of weight, wasn’t sleeping well, cranky, depressed… the list goes on.
    My husband and I looked at our bills and discussed my dream of writing as a career. He said that if that is what I really wanted to do, then I needed to do it. I needed to take the dream seriously and not just ticker with it. So, we paid off a couple of bills and then I quit the day job. Its taken me a while to adjust because I’ve worked (for someone else) most of my life. But I’m starting to make progress I think. My health is better, the depression is receding, and I’m not as cranky because I’m writing more and getting more sleep.

    I have three major challenges that I’m working on. First, I get distracted easily so I’m trying to build better self-discipline habits. Second, finding a writing coach that fits into my budget. (The lotto fairy needs to find my house like pronto.) Third – time management of my daily tasks like house cleaning, training the stubborn puppy, keeping up my little veggie garden, and most important, exercising. Its just a matter of finding a good routine, and I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually.

    All in all, I think the decision to truly pursue my dream of being a published author and quit the stuff that was killing me, has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    • #34 by lynnkelleyauthor on April 16, 2012 - 3:31 pm

      I admire you, Jennifer, for taking that giant leap! And what a wonderful, supportive hubby you have! He’s a keeper, for sure. Best of luck to you on your journey. We’ll all be cheering for you and supporting you!

      • #35 by Karen McFarland on April 16, 2012 - 6:31 pm

        I’m with you Lynn! We’re cheering you on Jennifer! :)

    • #36 by matchmakerdiaries on April 17, 2012 - 1:22 am

      Your story sounds like mine. I was working making someone else rich, I was exhausted, my arm had shooting pains, I gained weight, I even started drinking too much alcohol, and I was not happy with someone else pulling my strings. I managed to write 3 books while working full time, but I was out of balance. I finally quit and started my own business. I make more money working for myself working half the time I used to. I love being my own boss. Now I can
      write when I want. It is glorious. The book that helped me break free was, No More Mondays, by Dan Miller.

    • #37 by Julie on April 17, 2012 - 8:50 am

      Good for you Jennifer! You are very courageous and inspiring!

    • #38 by sharonhughson on April 17, 2012 - 10:23 am

      Jennifer-
      It sounds like you are married to Mr. Wonderful (so am I!!) and it’s great to have a supportive spouse. Don’t let him forget how awesome he is for supporting your dream.

      Regarding a schedule, I am with you on that one. I have to have a schedule if I’m going to get anything accomplished. I don’t know if you’ve already tried this, but write up a daily calendar. Convince yourself it’s just like the appointment book at a “regular” job. I exercise first thing in the morning because I know if I put it off, it won’t get done. I also used to tackle one household chore per day and I’d do it right after breakfast.

      Right now, I’m finishing my bachelor’s degree, but my husband is completely supportive of me pursuing full-time writing rather than getting an outside job. Now, if I can just convince myself that it’s okay not to use my degree to make some moolah — after all, it isn’t free to go to college!

      Keep after it!
      Sharon

  27. #39 by johnrobertson1878 on April 16, 2012 - 2:01 pm

    Amen to that. I just abandoned work on my first novel this week. I had re-hashed it too many times and I just have to move on now. There is a lot of truth in what you have written here. I think as a society we are really hard on people we perceive to be quitters and a lot of writers are really brutal with themselves when it comes to admitting that it is time to give up and start again on something else.

  28. #40 by Tami Clayton on April 16, 2012 - 2:07 pm

    You seem to have this uncanny timing for putting out posts about the very thing I need to hear when I need to hear it. There’s a great deal of things I need to quit in my life and this reminded me that while it can be scary, moving on is really about shedding the stuff that’s not working and opening yourself up to new possibilities and opportunities. Thanks, Kristen!

  29. #41 by bigron42 on April 16, 2012 - 2:13 pm

    I just ordered your two books, via Amazon Kindle. I figured, what the heck, I’ve got nothing to lose. Now I’m awaiting download. Some problem there.

    I could probably be the poster boy for Quitting. I have been writing on and off (mostly off) for over forty years. I would regularly quit due to rejections of my stories, books, articles, etc. Each time I would get a bunch of those pre-printed forms, my heart would sink, and my blood would boil. I took writer’s courses throughout the years. All my instructors would praise my work. I joined a critique group. They loved my work. But, I couldn’t get published anywhere. Along came digital ebook publishing with all its hype and success stories.

    I jumped right into the fray. I worked almost two years getting my teen novel, Monica Mildrew, Alien Assistant published as an ebook on Amazon. A week later I went onto Amazon to see if I could find the book. When I looked for it by name, I found it. But when I searched new teen novels, new teen sci-fi, sci-fi, you name it…nothing.

    So I’m bummed out again. I have posted the publication of the book on my blog, Humorous Interludes and my kid’s book blog, Kidsbooksandstories, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I called my friends and family members to buy the book and review it, hoping to get some interest going on Amazon. I’m still waiting.

    I noticed on Facebook, Linkedin, etc, that people use those sites to sell their wares. I thought that was a no no in the social network world. So I don’t push my book. I thought about having business cards printed with the book cover on the front, and the description and link on the back. But as an older male, in this day and age, I can’t go around passing my card out to kids.

    Long story short, here I am again contemplating quitting writing for kids and switching to adult books. I don’t know what to do at this point. I keep thinking about some facts, I am good at comedy writing, cartooning, etc. It’s easy and fun for me. I have got about 40 followers on my humor blog in a few weeks. Why not just go with that? I’ve got several humor books in various stages of completion. This is all driving me nuts. What’s a writer to do?

    • #42 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 18, 2012 - 12:43 pm

      Thanks for buying the books and I hope they give you clarity. My advice is to write where your heart is and stick to it long enough to improve and grow a fan base. Swapping genres is not always a great idea. Yes, the Digital Age helps us not get totally locked into a genre like the old days, but that’s no reason to start changing our mind constantly about what we write. I can’t answer your question because I haven’t seen your writing. Blogging can be really helpful for building a fan base so if you are blogging about humor and people are responding favorably that is a pretty good sign.

  30. #43 by Vicki Orians on April 16, 2012 - 2:15 pm

    Thank you, Kristen, for an awesome post! I needed this today. :)

  31. #44 by Janet Taylor (@Janet_B_Taylor) on April 16, 2012 - 2:22 pm

    I am so glad I read this today of all days. I actually tweeted Kristen this morning, because I was feeling so overwhelmed. I just knew she’d have the answer…And she did! Thank you, Kristen!

    I re-posted and linked to this on my blog: http://janetbtaylor.com/ saying—
    This post, from the amazing Kristen Lamb–instructor, and author of the best-selling books We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer– gave me a new perspective on how Quitting can be the answer to most of my insecurities.

  32. #45 by Cindy Sample on April 16, 2012 - 2:32 pm

    I started my first novel 35 years ago (ouch!) but quit to begin a corporate career in order to support my family. But I never gave up on that childhood dream and quit the CEO gig exactly 10 years ago. With two humorous mysteries earning accolades, I’m still earning far more smiles than dollars, but it is totally worth it! Thanks for the great start to my week.

  33. #46 by Kecia Adams on April 16, 2012 - 3:13 pm

    Wow. It’s like you can see right inside my head. I have been struggling with focus in my writing and in some other aspects of my life, and my family has recently called me on it. The thing is to me it’s easy to go all in, what’s harder is to maintain all those other things (mom, wife, volunteer, bill payer, laundress extraordinaire, etc.) when all I really want to do is write…

  34. #47 by malindalou on April 16, 2012 - 3:17 pm

    Love this! One of the secrets to being successful is knowing what to pursue and what to drop (or never pursue at all). It is learning when to say “no”. Good stuff!

  35. #48 by Julie Glover on April 16, 2012 - 3:32 pm

    This post is really making me think. I have a few things in my life that I need to re-evaluate in light of the path I want to take. Thanks, Kristen.

  36. #49 by lynnkelleyauthor on April 16, 2012 - 3:36 pm

    You are so right once again. Everything you say makes perfect sense. I’ve had to quit blogging as much as I’d like to. I truly miss so many of my blogger friends and their posts, but I was too overwhelmed trying to keep up and so disappointed in myself. It’s time to focus on writing again, and the blogging has to be kept in perspective. There are other things I’ve had to cut back on, too. I’ve had to delegate some of the cleaning to my hubby. :( Nuff said!

  37. #50 by Yvette on April 16, 2012 - 4:27 pm

    ‘Screw aspiring. Aspiring is for pansies. It takes guts to be a writer. It takes guts to be any kind of creative professional. Hire yourself to the job you dream about. TODAY.’ I had to clip this out for my ‘great quotes’ file Kristen. In fact there were lots of gems in this post!
    Yes as a matter of fact I do have a quitting story (well gee, there are a few of them when I think about it, jobs, men etc along the way). However the one I want to share today is that I have to put my hand up as guilty, for sticking with a set of stories for many years, see ‘silly persistance’ here. I’ve written many children’s books over the years, however I got well & truly stuck on a particular set of three picture books. I reworked them a million times, changed the names, changed the tense, changed the pov, in short I tried everything and stuck with them like glue for probably nearing ten years. I was that loyal it was ridiculous!!
    Letting go of them was excruciating. It felt akin to giving up.
    But I did, and it FREED me.
    I went into a completely new genre, which unbeknownst to me was a perfect fit. Quitting those stories was the best thing I ever did! :-)
    Yvette Carol

  38. #51 by cwc6161 on April 16, 2012 - 4:32 pm

    Great post, as always, Kristen. In one of the FB groups to which I belong, we were discussing prioritizing just yesterday and several people mentioned “luck.” An author friend of mine replied that “time management and hard work produce luck.” I thought that summed it up quite nicely, too.

    Candice

  39. #52 by darlenecraviotto on April 16, 2012 - 5:22 pm

    Your post reminds me of the man who complained to his co-worker that he was sick and tired of eating bologna sandwiches for lunch. “Every day it’s always a damn bologna sandwich!” he whined as he unpacked his sack lunch, and the baloney sandwich inside of it. “Why don’t you tell your wife to make you something different?” the co-worker suggested. “Oh she doesn’t make it – I do!”

    People get into ruts and the familiarity of those ruts makes it too tough to “quit” & start something different. But quitting isn’t the same thing as “failing” and once you figure that out you can stop eating those daily bologna sandwiches.

  40. #53 by Ileandra Young on April 16, 2012 - 5:37 pm

    Welll there have been a string of redundancies at work (a quarter of the workforce) and rather than worrying that I might be one of those to go, I chose to. I jumped ship and said ‘stick me on the list!’ Its going to be a while before that starts to kick in, but it still a bit terrifying to realise that I have, in effect, quit my job. @_@

    But… I’ve quite that job to start a new one; I’m going to be a mum (so I have maternity leave to get through first) and I’m going to write for a living. There would certainly be no time (at least the way I work) to do that AND a 9-5 job AND look after twins.

    Scary as hell, but, in a few years time, I’m going to be able to look back and say; quitting was the best thing I ever did. I know I will!

  41. #54 by Margaret on April 16, 2012 - 5:40 pm

    Wonderful post Kristen, thanks. I’ve been a quitter/regrouper for much of my life so what I’m really taking away from this post is that it’s OK not to worry and feel guilty about the people you’ve described as “dead weight”. Although I’ve pursued my change of plans there’s always been this nagging voice saying perhaps I was wrong, perhaps I am being selfish.

  42. #55 by August McLaughlin on April 16, 2012 - 5:52 pm

    I’m a huge fan of quitting the day job. :) Great post and advice, Kristen—words many writers need to hear again and again and again…

  43. #56 by heatherdaygilbert on April 16, 2012 - 6:01 pm

    Love this post! Persistence is important, but only when you’re sure it’s going to go somewhere. If not, you need to cut your losses, learn from it, and move on! I had to do this when my NaNo novel was too short for women’s fiction at 50,000 words instead of 80,000. My choices? Add 30,000 words to a novel that was complete, or start over. So I started over, and now I have an 80,000 word novel I love. Doesn’t mean I love my first novel any less, just means I got real!

  44. #57 by Carol Wuenschell on April 16, 2012 - 6:31 pm

    It’s also important to stop listening to the people who tell you that you can do anything. You can only do the things you have it in you to do. Not everyone can be a writer, any more than everyone can be an astronaut or a ballet dancer or a brilliant mathematician. It’s like telling a penguin that any bird can fly if it just tries hard enough. The old prayer goes, “grant me courage to change the things I can change, serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and wisdom to know the difference.” Wisdom is usually the hardest of the three.

  45. #58 by Karen McFarland on April 16, 2012 - 6:35 pm

    I’m still sick, but I’m commenting! So if my comment doesn’t make a lick of sense, you’ll know why! Now what was I gonna say? Oh forget it. I”m going back to bed. LOL!

    I’m with Lisa Hall Wilson on this one. How do you know when to quit? Can’t wait until next week Kristen. And maybe, hopefully I will be more coherent by then. :)

  46. #59 by sheilapierson on April 16, 2012 - 6:51 pm

    I love this post. I recently quit a number of things (obligations to groups and meeting other people’s needs) to focus on writing. I proclaimed myself a writer and got down to the business of it. Most of my family, though they knew I loved writing, thought I’d lost my mind because I wasn’t being the little ‘joiner’ they were so accustomed to me being. Tough. I’m not getting any younger and I’m committing myself to the work now. Thanks for a great post!

  47. #60 by Sharyn Kopf on April 16, 2012 - 6:58 pm

    Technically, I didn’t quit, I was laid off. I’ve now spent two years job-hunting and, just last week, realized that was what I needed to quit. All of my life, I’ve sought and held writing/editing jobs. Twice I’ve been laid off. The pay is not good. Worst of all, when I get home the last thing I feel like doing is write, even fiction and scripts, which I love.

    It occurred to me that it might be time to try a completely new path. Since I’m still, for the most part, pre-published, I need to pay the bills. But when a company contacted me last week about a full-time writing job, I knew a decision had to be made: Keep doing the same thing, which has NOT worked, or try something different.

    Long story short, I turned down the interview. I’ve decided to go back to school for an associate’s degree in real-time reporting. I’ve heard the money is great and the job can be done on a freelance basis. Lord willing, I’ll finally have a job that not only pays for my writing career but doesn’t exhaust my creativity. And I think I’ll enjoy it since it will play to my typing and editing strengths. At least, this is the hope! Guess we’ll know in a couple of years. . . .

  48. #61 by Sharyn Kopf on April 16, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    Oh, and thank you for this, Kristen! It gives me courage and encourages me in the new direction I’m headed. . . .

  49. #62 by mliddle on April 16, 2012 - 7:13 pm

    Kristen c

  50. #63 by Hal Austin ~ BEWARE!! on April 16, 2012 - 7:20 pm

    honey, i quit every day, and then i go right back to what i was doing! lol!!!

  51. #64 by Joy Held's Writer Wellness Blog on April 16, 2012 - 7:50 pm

    Reblogged this on Joy Held's Writer Wellness and commented:
    CLEVER! Must read the whole post to appreciate it.

  52. #65 by Tahlia Newland on April 16, 2012 - 8:12 pm

    We’re on the same wavelength with this one. My post on the liberating effects of failure has a similar kind of perspective http://tahlianewland.com/2012/03/15/the-beauty-of-failure/ I quit trying to be a ‘big’ author with huge sales and a big following, I found the freedom to write something that best expresses my voice.

  53. #66 by rainang on April 16, 2012 - 8:15 pm

    Quitting is really about having the courage to work harder at it, the courage to take constructive criticism, to change and to leave day jobs :) Thanks Kirsten…

  54. #67 by Paws To Talk on April 16, 2012 - 8:23 pm

    Thanks this and all of your posts!
    Bella and DiDi

  55. #68 by Nigel Blackwell on April 16, 2012 - 8:25 pm

    Good comment. Knowing when to quit takes practice, and I’m still practicing. I’d say its only good if you know why you quit and learn from it.

    Cheers!

  56. #69 by Donna Martin on April 16, 2012 - 9:02 pm

    Kristen,

    When it comes to my writing, I have “quit” two times in my life. When I was in my twenties, I listened to the wrong people…critics who I thought knew ME better than I knew myself. When they kept telling me I couldn’t write I believed them…I put down my pen…I quit…for more than twenty years.

    Last year I kept having recurring dreams of writing stories…in vivid, full color detail…and decided that someone was trying to tell me that I should return to my writing. So I quit a second time…but now I have turned my back on the negativity. I have said no to letting TV distract me from writing and I have said no to the everyday chores which stand between the stories and myself. It has taken me a long time but I have finally QUIT giving up on MYSELF and THAT makes me a WINNER…;0)

    Donna L Martin
    http://www.donasdays.blogspot.com

  57. #70 by Rosie Cochran on April 16, 2012 - 9:15 pm

    Great article, Kristen. Thanks! The permission to quit is something we all need. I look forward to your following articles to hear how you view knowing WHEN to quit! :-) There are definite lessons to be learned in developing the ability to recognize that there are many seasons in life, resulting in times to press on and times to back off, times to change our approach, and times to sit back and reevaluate. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

  58. #71 by mliddle on April 16, 2012 - 10:53 pm

    Kristen –
    I was so inspired by this post that tomorrow is my re-evaluation day! If I am a writer then alll my actions ought to support that goal. The only thing that can slow me down are my health problems. But they can just slow me down; not sidetrack me. I also don’t have my own family other than my godchildren and a few close relatives with whom I keep in touch. Therefore, I can make my ultimate goals and the steps to achirve them and go from there. I think the major thing that I will have to see in terms of re-evaluating my writing goals is to see what type of genre my voice will fit.
    The only other comment I have is I would use the word re-evaluation rather than the word quit. The main reason is because quit has such negative connotations in our popular lexicon. As a society, we internalize the word quit and we don’t ever want to be qutters. By re-evaluating something we can still scrap the way up the side of Mt Everest we are going , re-evaluate what we dare doing, and then change the plan of our ascent. But having the word “Re-evaluating” in the title is not as effective as having “Quitting!” :) :)

  59. #72 by liz1workinprogress on April 16, 2012 - 11:05 pm

    I’ve been an “aspiring writer” and a “writer who doesn’t write” for so long that it is beyond ridiculous. But what socked me in the gut about your post today was your comment about being a pre-published author. That, I understand. For over a year, almost every week, I attended a 12-step program, and I told everybody there that I was pre-sober. They all laughed at me, and they thought I was nuts, but they loved me, too, and I kept going to the meetings. Today I have 11 years clean and sober. From today on, I am delighted to announce, I am finally, really and truly, an honest-to-gosh pre-published author. Thank you!

  60. #73 by Turndog Millionaire on April 17, 2012 - 12:48 am

    well i’ve never thought about it like this, but it’s certainly worth considering. The good side of quitting, i like it :)

    I’ve done some good quitting myself recently, and it’s terrifying. Hopefully it is just the alternative climb i need though

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  61. #74 by Marla Martenson on April 17, 2012 - 1:27 am

    Great post. So many of us are too scattered trying to do too many things. I had to let go some things and keep it simple.

  62. #75 by Sarah Harris on April 17, 2012 - 2:00 am

    This is an awesome post! I appreciate the sentiment and information! I quit my steady job 9 months ago to change directions drastically. I didn’t truly have a new direction picked, but knew I couldn’t continue on the path I was on. My family thinks I’ve lost it, I think I am finding it – whatever it is, mostly me. I took the leap and am trying to see where I’m landing, but thank you, articles like this help fluff up my feathers on a day where I was feeling like I was crash landing because things haven’t changed that much as far as jobs go, but it reminded me that the journey will still be worth it even if the reason is yet to be revealed! It did get me writing though and hopefully I don’t sound insane in all my posts! I’ve bookmarked this post to re-read whenever I can! THANKS!

  63. #76 by Team Oyeniyi on April 17, 2012 - 4:03 am

    I’ve often heard it said most millionnaires went bankrupt at least once. There is a fine line between a failure and an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur knows when to quit a bad business idea and tries again. I agree writers need to take more of a pragmatic approach, like MyWANA member Matthew Wright. Great pragmatic advice, Kristen. Looking forward to the “how to tell when to quit” article you promise above!

  64. #77 by د/هبه طاهر تكتب on April 17, 2012 - 4:25 am

    Reblogged this on hebataher.

  65. #78 by Ellen Gregory on April 17, 2012 - 6:47 am

    Ai, there are so many levels on which to quit – and I’m not too good at any of them. However, I did get out of the stupid all-consuming job, take a year off work entirely, and have now resumed work in a less demanding role, so that’s a start.

    Thanks for a fantastic post, Kristen. I don’t know where you keep coming up with all these insights! I think I’ll reblog this as well.

  66. #79 by Ellen Gregory on April 17, 2012 - 6:51 am

    Reblogged this on Ellen Gregory and commented:
    This is my first attempt at ‘reblogging’ via WordPress, so I hope it works! The following post is another classic from Kristen Lamb. It’s all about quitting: the novel that isn’t working, the job that is too demanding, the extra-curricular interests that eat up focus and time. I know I’m not too good at any of this and I pledge to be better!

  67. #80 by tracikenworth on April 17, 2012 - 7:02 am

    Quitting sounds to be productive. Lol.

  68. #81 by Margaret on April 17, 2012 - 7:16 am

    Reblogged this on Margaret Miller's Blog and commented:
    Kristen thanks for your insights. This one needs to be nailed on the door.

  69. #82 by Marti Parham on April 17, 2012 - 7:51 am

    Nice post. I’m claiming that I am a “pre-published author” starting today!

  70. #83 by veehcirra on April 17, 2012 - 8:02 am

    I like that you have talked about the influence we allow others to have on us. “Others have the right to be disappointed, but they’ll get over it”

    It’s good to be “selfish” and to be true to oneself…

  71. #84 by Julie on April 17, 2012 - 8:53 am

    I loved this post! Sometimes it is hard to have the perspective to see when something just isn’t working – whatever that may be. I did quit my day job and have never regretted it. 2+ years later and I’m finally on the verge of earning an income again.

    Now there are a number of other responsibilities I am contemplating quitting, so this post came at the perfect time for me. Every once in a while, you just have to sit down and take stock of what’s working for you and what isn’t.

  72. #85 by Lauren Smith on April 17, 2012 - 10:42 am

    This is an excellent post! I’m a true quitter. I wrote four novels which are now collecting dust in my laptop’s harddrive, and I’m currently polishing my fifth book for my agent. I just got this wonderful agent after an epic week of interviewing two other agents when all three agents made me an offer. So if that isn’t another way to get to the top of Everest then I don’t know what is!

    Sometimes you have to learn to listen to your gut to know when to quit. As much as my older works are special to me, they will remain forever unpubbed and I’m okay with that. The book i’m working on now has the potential to sell, my agent is ecstatic and we’re both so excited we’re marketing the entire series.

    I was so glad to see this particular post becuase I’ve been trying to coach some fellow critique group members out of their shells and learn to embrace rejections, move on and learn from them. Sometimes when people say “no thanks” it’s merely a challenge. I got an offer from an agent who initially told me “good luck with this at other agencies” I didnt’ take no for an answer and got her tell me what she would have improved or changed. It’s all about the journey

    Thanks for the great post!!

  73. #86 by Stacy A on April 17, 2012 - 11:28 am

    I have to learn how to quit quitting (the bad kind of quitting). And trying to find the balance between the right kind and the wrong kind, etc.
    One of the things that keeps me from writing right now is … I can’t just “cut loose” the people who are demanding of my time right now. Mainly they are my elderly parents who live just down the street. It’s hard for me to “just say no” to them when they want me to come over and “perk them up” because I know that in another 15 years or so (hopefully not sooner!) I won’t have them to “bug” me anymore, and I will miss them like crazy. So my writing time gets a little chopped up some days. I think I just need to be more disciplined about the rest of the time, though, then taking time to go over there wouldn’t seem like such a big chunk out of my writing day.

    • #87 by sharonhughson on April 17, 2012 - 12:39 pm

      Stacy-

      I admire your loyalty to your parents. But I know that people who are caretakers for others do need to make sure they don’t rob themselves. What’s the saying? “If you don’t fill yourself up, you’ll be too empty to help others”?

      Anyway, make your writing a priority. Not to the neglect of your parents, but there can be a true balance. I know once I call my mom, it will be at least an hour before I can get back to what I need to do. I just make sure that I’ve done what I need to before I make the call.

      And, no, I’m not looking forward to the time when she will be gone – even if I might get more work accomplished.

  74. #88 by granbee on April 17, 2012 - 11:48 am

    Quitting what doesn’t work for me and MOVING ON–excellent advice which I am learning more and more about every day in little ways. The big ways–I did that one a couple of years ago! Hooray!

  75. #89 by Andrea Enchanted (@andrea_writing) on April 17, 2012 - 2:26 pm

    I was just dreaming about becoming a full time writer, and your advice is exactly what I needed. I am going to link this on my blog. Thank you! http://www.theenchantedwriter.com/2012/04/dreams-of-becoming-full-time-writer.html

  76. #90 by heylookawriterfellow on April 17, 2012 - 2:40 pm

    Great post and so very true, Kristen.

    I wrote something about quitting a few weeks back on my blog but it covered a different angle. A number of my colleagues are in the habit of endlessly writing and rewriting their stories; all this activity serves as an excuse to avoid submitting to editors. (So I guess it’s not so much a “quitting” post as it is a “get off the pot” post.)

    http://mikeallegra.com/2012/03/31/enough-rewriting-already/

    Anyway, long story short, you’re awesome.

  77. #91 by Stanalei Fletcher on April 17, 2012 - 3:38 pm

    A bit late posting, but I wanted to say thank you for this post. I’m not a quitter and I’m very persistent, but I love having permission to move-on.

  78. #92 by freespiritshaz on April 18, 2012 - 6:54 am

    Reblogged this on freespiritshaz and commented:
    Thanks. You always teaching and inspiring me.

  79. #93 by Melissa Bowersock (@MJBowersock) on April 18, 2012 - 12:13 pm

    Saw an article on ABC news where a father asked his kids every evening at dinner, “What did you fail at today?” He celebrated their failures because it meant they had tried something new. It was a hugely positive message, and the kids responded with enthusiasm. Never be afraid to try, never be afraid to fail.

    • #94 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 18, 2012 - 12:20 pm

      THAT IS AWESOME! I am totally doing that. Thanks for taking the time to share!

    • #95 by 90 days to evolution on April 19, 2012 - 7:28 am

      Wow that’s great. Way to teach children that making mistakes is a part of life, not something to be ashamed of!

  80. #96 by Liza Vassallo on April 18, 2012 - 1:59 pm

    change energizes us…we can call it quitting or moving on…growth is effort. nothing stands still and if it did; we humans wouldn’t appreciate it.

  81. #97 by Mollie Player on April 18, 2012 - 7:27 pm

    I love your writing! Very cute style (I mean that as a compliment!). Future success to you, my friend!

  82. #98 by arthurtoogood on April 19, 2012 - 12:05 am

    very inspiring and hopeful content… it made my night

  83. #99 by sandraconner on April 19, 2012 - 9:10 am

    Hi, I was so captured by the picture that shows with your “Freshly Pressed” post (congratulations on that, by the way) that I had to hop over and read a while. I have often quoted that little tidbit of truth concerning dessert myself. As I’ve visited here, I’ve enjoyed several things you shared, and especially this article. I was caught particularly by the points you made concerning losing the term “aspiring writer” and “quitting the day job and hiring yourself out to your dream.” It reminded me of something that I experienced not too long ago concerning my own writing and a small publishing venture that I had started. It was a concrete example of your words here, and I thought perhaps you and some of your readers would appreciate knowing about it.

    I had been really down about so many of my family’s and friends’ attitudes toward my work. They were not critical, but they just always seemed to have the attitude that my writing and my publishing venture were “hobbies” that could be set aside — and should be set aside — in the face of other life activities. When I was really struggling with a problem in those areas of work, they felt I should just let it go and concentrate on my “real” responsibilities. Now this attitude was in spite of the fact that I had already had two novels and two non-fiction books published and selling. I had also created my own company and had been publishing some work by several local authors and getting their books sold. (That was the main purpose of starting the company. I knew so many local Christian authors who were truly talented and had a great deal of value to say, but who could not seem to get a chance with the more established companies. So I felt called to put together a company that could help get their work out there.)

    Still, it seemed that, except for two people, no one around me took my work seriously. They took me seriously as a school teacher and a newspaper reporter (my ‘day jobs’) but not an author and a publisher. I had been praying about the matter earnestly. Actually I had been complaining — a lot — to the Lord. And one day in the midst of that complaining, I felt Him speak to my heart. The words were not audible, but they were so clear they might as well have been. He said, “Your problem is that you are seeing yourself and thinking about yourself through the eyes of these other people. They see you as someone who ‘dabbles’ in writing and publishing. That’s their short-sightedness. But you’ve been accepting THEIR estimation of you. You know the truth. You ARE an author, and you ARE a publisher. Not only that, but you are those things because that’s what I’ve called you and assigned you to become. Now, you are going to HAVE to start seeing yourself, thinking about yourself, and TALKING about yourself as “AN AUTHOR AND A PUBLISHER,” not a want-to-be or an amateur. Not someone dabbling in a hobby. You are a professional, but you are never going to get to the next level until you stop seeing yourself through their eyes and start seeing yourself as what I’ve already made you to be.”

    That day — and that lecture — changed me forever.

  84. #100 by Sonia G Medeiros on April 19, 2012 - 3:30 pm

    Wonderful, inspirational post, Kristen. And you’re right, “pre-published” is the best term ever!

  85. #101 by thescarletnumbers on April 19, 2012 - 10:42 pm

    Love it!

  86. #102 by brijcrumbz on April 20, 2012 - 7:26 am

    I love all your posts, it inspire me a lot. I haven’t tried quitting-to-make-a-new-turn yet but hey I will try that now. :)

  87. #103 by Tracy on April 20, 2012 - 9:04 am

    I just read this post today. 20th – yes, I’m behind a bit, but I think it was supposed to work out that way.

    I was just very badly mauled by a fellow “professional” writer on another (third) writer’s blog. The mauling involved four letter words and observations about me and the genre I write.

    It’s taken me 24 hours to get over it. I even had an argument with my husband, who gets tired of my endless negativity about my career, until he figured out I was just trying to vent and think aloud.

    I came to this conclusion: I broke one of the principles I have recently formed: Don’t try to educate/convince/change people’s minds. It’s a waste of time.

    Well, my slip backwards was pointed out to me in Technicolour.

    So I quit. I quit reading that writer’s blog. I unsubscribed. I deleted all my comments I have ever left there (the two are good friends).

    And I have re-quit spending any time educating, convincing, or trying to change people’s minds about anything at all. Ever.

    Back to being just friendly and neutral. Even if my fingernails are gouging holes in the desk as I read yet another ignorant, rude or just plain *wrong* comment.

    Then I read this post, which is a nice confirmation.

    Thanks.

    Tracy.

  88. #104 by Laura4NYC on April 20, 2012 - 11:13 am

    Awesome! I had to read it a few times to get all of it. The gist of what you are conveying makes sense. It’s just the stony road towards it that is a teensy bit, well, frightening? Overwhelming? So not what they had taught me in school? Pick whatever, but thank you for this post!

  89. #105 by lythya on April 23, 2012 - 1:27 pm

    This is true. Actually, half an hour before reading this I decided to quit a project – a book. It’s just not going to work. I’m still going to edit it, to learn something from the flaws, but I’m not going to try and rewrite it ’cause I just can’t write this. That doesn’t make me a bad writer. It just means something is essentially flawed with this story and I should use my energy (and maybe the central ideas from the story) on some other project.

    Quitting is important. It’s true. As a risk player, I have to say that the times I’ve played and done well is when I see when it’s time to just LET A COUNTRY GO and not waste more soldiers on it.

  90. #106 by Miranda Liasson on April 23, 2012 - 5:00 pm

    So inspiring. I reblogged this on my blog and I noticed new NYT Bestselling author Jennifer Probst (the first author from Entangled Publishing to make the list) did, too at The Moody Muses (http://www.moodymuses.com/2012/04/mondays-guest-muse-ny-times-bestseller.html). Thanks, Kristen!

  91. #107 by thewritingblues on April 24, 2012 - 1:59 pm

    Very thought-provoking, Kristen, thanks. To me it comes down to, quitting – or abandoning – a project that isn’t working versus quitting being a writer. I could never quite being a writer but sometimes I have to (permanently) set a project aside as being non-viable.

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