Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?
I don’t think I ever said “I quit.”
I think I’ve said far more destructive things like “when I have more time.”
We all know how that goes. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps through gaining momentum until one day you look at the calendar and realize “Holy shit! I haven’t written in years months weeks.”
I’ve thought about quitting:
“I’m not good enough. Who would read this tripe?”
“OMG! I built a minority non-Caucasian culture in my fantasy world; I can’t publish that! I’ll get eaten alive for cultural appropriation!”
“I can’t market myself out of a paper bag, how the hell am I supposed to market my books? I should just give up while I’m ahead and my ledger still in the black.”
“Goddammit! It’s been almost 2 years! WHY ISN’T ANYTHING COMING FORTH SO I CAN FINISH THIS DAMN PROJECT! IT’S CRITICAL TO THE SERIES!”
“Switching to another project/style/method/genre isn’t helping! Why am I drawing nothing but blanks?”
“Seriously? What was I thinking when I wrote this? OMG I don’t think I can even fix this!”
These thoughts often cause me to curl up in a corner and whimper for a bit, but I always come back.
But “I quit!” has never been as destructive for me as “When I have time.” As a case in point, let’s look at this week. Frik and Frak are out of school, but they have a day camp this week. Roughly five hours a day in which they are not in the house. I can use this week to test out my new scheduling idea – I have to fit in different kinds of low impact daily self-care PT, house maintenance, various paperwork things that always seem to come up, and writing. I’ve got things broken out for odd and even days. Odd numbered day are days in which things are supposed to align such that I can write. Even numbered days are days when the schedule simply won’t allow it. In theory, this is a schedule that should work.
Sunday night I have a migraine. There is no Excedrine PM in the house. I try to knuckle down with Tylenol and an herbal sleepy tea, but it doesn’t work. At 4am Monday , with something in the neighborhood of 2 hours of sleep under my belt I take 3 regular Excedrine, get the jitters and decide that I can’t do the even day schedule, because there is no way in hell I’m going to survive swimming laps in the pool, much less mowing the lawn. I stay inside and do small things that I can put aside easily.
Or at least I try.
Exhausted Jitters are not good for writing, but other things can be accomplished. Sort of. Things get done. Not my email though. I haven’t done more than the minimumin weeks because I’ve been running to keep up with everything going on (recitals, impetigo, cub scouts, braces, rehearsals, family drama, “wait – you’re thinking that we should start looking for a new house?”)
Evening occurs. I send the husband to fetch Excedrine PM at 7pm because the migraine is still hanging about. The husband can’t find it at the first store, calls me, asks what he should do. Seriously? You’re at Walgreens. There’s a grocery store across the street, a Walmart 2 miles away, another Walgreens three miles beyond that. You’re an engineer. Do the math.
Children want to know why Mommy is almost crying at their excited little chirps. Meds arrive. Mommy hides in a cave.
Tuesday doesn’t work out, because I’m trying to nuture up 2 archers and they need my help to work with their limited budget to make arrows. I had forgotten that I had promised this day to them until almost the last minute. It was on the calendar, I just didn’t pay attention. I go forth, spend about 5 hours looking for dowels in hobby stores (not the best place, but these kids can’t afford to drop $80 on 2 dozen quality dowels, so we do what we can).
My new archers got dowels, but they still need help, measuring, cutting and shaping. They’ve ordered their tips, fletch and nocks, but those won’t be in for at least a week, they’re leaving for 2 weeks for their wedding/honeymoon bit, and I *know* how much advice out on the internet is inaccurate or just lacking on this subject. We schedule for Thursday to measure, cut, shape and start the coloring process, so that they’ll be partway finished when they’re ready to pick things up again in the beginning of July.
Today I should be able to get back on tra- Shit. I have to mow the lawn. It’s up to my knees in some spots. And this weekend is Champions, and I really need to sew boundary flag lines in order to clearly mark the archery field for the spectators (you would think safe areas would be obvious when dealing with firearms – they are not to most people). Okay. If I do the flags today, I should be able to mow Friday since I’ll be helping my duckling archers on Thursday…
And not a jot of writing gets done. There’s always one more thing that has a more pressing suspense date.
But I’ll get back to it.
When I have time.
Check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to see more writers dish about their concerns, their solutions to various problems, or just general chronophobia.