When an Author Wants to Quit

Posted: August 26, 2021 in real life, writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I want to give it all up.
All the striving.
All the pushing.
All the trying.
I just want to stop
and forget I ever wanted to.
I won’t.
But that’s what I want right now.
To quit.

Upon reflection, I realize I have motivation cycles. Perhaps more aptly, I have bouts of despair or abandonment compulsion (I WANT TO GIVE IT ALL UP) cycles.

I seem to fall into these sinkholes in the following circumstances:

Annually

As a horror author, fall is a significant time of year. Halloween and spooky season are ultimately horror season. This is the time of year when I should feel the most engaged, excited, and inspired. This is the time of year when everything I love should just be in the air around me. Yet, more and more each year, I just feel daunted. The expectations of the season have almost sucked the joy out of experiencing it.

Launching a Book

Again, a time when I should be thrilled. I am an author, and I have a book being published. This is what it is about! This is the success! Yet it is simultaneously so draining. It is like the last mile of a marathon or labor at the end of pregnancy. Yes, a wonderful accomplishment and bliss is on the other side, yet as it gets closer, it feels farther away. As I slog through promotional preparations and launch requirements and steel myself for the incoming negative reviews, it feels like I will never cross the line, my baby will never see the world.

Querying a Book

Trying to get a novel published may be a torment only surpassed by editing the damn thing. After pruning, packaging, fluffing, and presenting the manuscript with more diligence than when job hunting, my tender heart is only met with a barrage of rejection or silence. Insecurity, doubt, and self-loathing are all that swell to fill that void.

Looking at the Numbers

Any numbers. All of the numbers. Sales. Downloads. Reviews. Followers. Works in my library. No matter how I grow them, they seem insufficient. No matter how I scrape, they never seem to match the effort. Comparison is the thief of joy, as I tell my children, but these numbers are all based in comparison to other numbers I never meet.

Any of these things, all of these things weaken my resolve, cue my insecurities. Each beckons sweetly to just set down the heavy burden of the dream and let it simply float away forgotten.

This round, it is more than a beckon, and it is surely not sweet. I don’t just want to quit writing. Life itself is beating me up, for many reasons, and I want to quit just about everything. Add to this that I am experiencing ALL of these triggers at once. Fall and Halloween are approaching. Crystal Lake Publishing is releasing my novel Followers on September 24th. I am currently querying my novel Green Eyes to absolutely no success. And all my numbers mock me as my socials seem to have died.

It is all the things, all the things that make me want to give up on being an author.

What makes me not want to give up? Writing.
What am I not doing? Writing.

If I remain calm, I know from experience that these things will pass. I will excavate my motivation again. Yet the confluence of all the triggers compounding the angst and depression from the rest of life is challenging.

I feel overwhelmed and burned out. The chorus of the world right now.

I want to quit, but I am not going to. This too shall pass. I will ride this wave back into the writing for which I am here.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Comments
  1. Wearing all the hats makes everything even MORE exhausting… Especially when we are all so separated from each other that we even have to track down our much-needed community for support in desperate times. Surely there is a better way…I always thought this was the benefit of living in an artist colony or a writers’ colony… Or would we all be led by the moods of the dominant producers among us? The mind boggles… Hang in there. Take some time to smell the roses and savor all you have done…It’s a legacy at this point — a well-deserved and wonderful one that you can grow if the mood strikes…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Christina, I read your post earlier on in a rush. I now return to it again. First, I’m glad to hear you say that you won’t quit even though at times you might feel like giving up.

    Second, life of a writer is lived in seasons. There are seasons when we feel inspired, productive and connecting with readers who our stories touch deeply, educate or entertain. There are also seasons of despair, disappointment (especially when we keep looking at the numbers) and just simple frustration from our perception of not advancing (fast enough) towards our set goals.

    All what you are going through is valid. Both querying (and dealing with endless rejections) and launching a book can be distressing. But it’s all part and parcel of what we do; writing.

    Coincidentally, today’s post from my other writing community touches on this writing business. You can read it here, https://poetsandstorytellersunited.blogspot.com/2021/08/writers-pantry-85-things-to-remember-if.html if interested.

    All in all, keep going, take rest in between and nurture yourself but do not give up! Your stories matter! ❤

    p.s. I know shipping autographed copies can be expensive, but is there a possibility of getting my hands on the physical copy of Followers?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the post. It did speak to me. And yes, I find the profound impact on any one reader to be more meaningful than any larger market success. I abandoned the idea of supporting myself with writing long ago, though the dream will always linger. Mostly, I just want people to read it. I feel swallowed by the overwhelming sea of the saturated market. But that does not neutralize what I have to say or what makes my stories mine. I just need to revolve through these seasons, as you say, to keep myself on that track, the stress building up and cracking me then recovering and starting again.

      An autographed copy absolutely will be making its way to you for all your help with Followers! I’ll be in touch for shipping information when I get my copies 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s