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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quitting

At various times in my life I've considered quitting writing, my job and even my husband.

When I started writing, I gave myself a deadline of seven years to publish. I figured if I was going to make it, seven years seemed like a reasonable amount of time to find out if I had any talent or if I should stick to my day job. 

If I didn't make it, well, I could tack it onto my list of wild adventures and say I tried.

Ironically, my husband only got two years to prove I hadn't made a mistake. :grin:

Why did poor Greg only get two years and publishing, seven? Let's face it, publishing is a lot harder than marriage. Am I right?

I might be atypical when it comes to quitting things though. When I go for something I give it everything I've got. But when everything I have isn't enough, I have no problem whatsoever in walking away.

No matter how much we want it to be so, sometimes we're just not cut out for what we desire most.

Part of the reason I can walk away is that I'm a real stickler about time. My greatest fear in life is not having lived it to its full potential, so I'm very touchy about wasting time on things that bring me no return.

And the older I get, the more selfish I am with how I want to spend my time.

Some things are worth quitting. Toxic people, drugs, bad jobs, excess spending. And while all these things should be relinquished, sometimes it can't happen right away. It helps to have friends and family who will support you emotionally while you wait for the right moment to walk away. 

How do you feel about quitting? Are you able to walk away without guilt or do you stick with things longer than you should? What was the last thing you quit that felt good when you did it?

***
Friday I have a real treat for you. That's the day we'll do a Prudent Penny on Travel. My friend and world traveler, Mike Keyton is stepping in to share his experience in frugal traveling. 

Be sure to come back and visit us. 

38 comments:

DRC said...

Have I considered quitting writing? Yes! It's especially hard going when you write something and it's continously pulled to bits by your critique group because there are flaws that you personally can't see (blinded by love). But you pull through it, learn from your mistakes and grow. I can't quit writing. I've been doing it since the age of ten. If I don't write I think my characters will conspire in my head to drive me insane... ;D

Angela Felsted said...

It's embarrassing to reveal what the last thing I a quit was, so I'll pass on that particular question. But for me, I usually get to an emotional point where I simply can't take any more. That's when I know I'll quit because otherwise it effects my sanity.

Note to readers: my marriage is still intact.

Maria Zannini said...

DRC: Quitting your passion is probably the hardest of all. Writing is so organic, intimate, and individual.

Fortunately, I'm told I have no soul (:grin:) so if push came to shove, I know I would've been able to walk away if it didn't work out for me.

PS Hug your CPs. They're absolute gold.

Darke Conteur said...

I've never thought about quitting writing, because I guess I don't look at it as something I can quit. It's like a mild obsession (if there is such a thing), or a simulation video game (like SimCity) that keeps growing the more I play. I just keep doing it. It's not toxic, or time consuming, it's just...me. It's how I define myself. Some people like to knit or garden or paint. I like to write. Maybe that's why I write in different genre's and mediums. I just write.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: LOL. I'm sure your husband is relieved.

I agree about reaching that emotional melting point. Deep down we know when we have to walk away. Some of us aren't strong enough to act on it, but we know.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke Conteur: But I imagine you also see growth and progress. As long as that happens it's not a waste.

Joanne said...

I've thought about quitting certain aspects of writing, different projects and such. But I've never considered quitting writing completely. If a project's been hanging around too much without so much as a nibble, and I've exhausted my thoughts on it, well, it's time to go.

Maria Zannini said...

Joanne: That's an excellent point! Sometimes it's not the writing, but the project. A stubborn project can be an albatross that keeps you frozen in place.

Dru said...

I think about quitting the daytime situation that I'm in, but I know that I can't until something that fits me comes along, so in the meantime, do what I have to do with an outlet that'll make it tolerable.

I've had toxic friends that I quit on and it felt good to be rid of them.

Sometimes it depends on the situation that I'm trying to quit whether I'll feel bad.

Sherri said...

Great post.

Writing is still more hobby than anything else for me at this point so haven't reached a quitting point. With all my hobbies I have cycles where I'm almost manic about working on that one thing or it's sitting gathering dust. Or is that OCD? LOL

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: That's a smart strategy, to wait until you have a replacement for a bad situation. It's good to have options before you cut the safety rope.


Sherri: If it brings you joy, there's no reason to quit something, even if there's no monetary return in it. Life is too short to be unhappy.

I gave up my hobby of building miniature furniture. It made me happy. Unfortunately, I'm so clumsy it also left me scarred. LOL.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i more or less quit writing for a couple of years. I have to say i'm glad i decided to give it another try. My writing is so much better now.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I can walk away from things easier than others, I've found. You're right. There just isn't time in life for things that truly suck. I've never understood why "quitter" is such a bad thing to be. I mean, if you really tried at the tuba, but it's just not for you, quit and try something else.

I won't ever quit writing. There may come a time when I get sick of trying to get published, but even then, I'll probably self-publish. NO matter what, I'll always keep writing.

Renee Miller said...

Quitting? Hmm. I have a hard time quitting anything that I believe I want or need to do. If it's something that I've determined will not help me or is in fact hurting me, I can usually walk away guilt free. (smoking is my really bad habit that I cannot seem to walk away from)

The last thing I quit? Hmm. I quit making the happiness of others my problem. That was tough. But you know what, it was liberating to say "No, I will not do it anymore." The only people in the world whose happiness is my responsibility (and even then only in a most basic way) are my children. Other than that, you're on your own.

As for writing? I've put three years into working toward publishing. Will I quit now? No. Seven years from now? Not likely. Why? I want it, more than I've wanted anything. I've worked too damn hard to quit. Now, in seven years, I'm sure that I'll have a deadline established if nothing has happened by then. I'm not quite that stubborn.

Shirley Wells said...

I've never considered giving up writing. It's something I am more than something I do.

If something's not working out, I can usually give it up easily. I can be a bit impulsive and the decision to quit is made quickly and with very little thought.

The exception was smoking. I spent years telling myself I'd quit tomorrow, or next month or on January 1. I finally quit in October. Whether I'll stay quit, of course, is a different matter. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: I am a strong advocate for taking breaks. I noticed a difference in my writing too when I took several months of hiatus.

Barbara: That's kind of like the word, 'volunteer'. It's a nice word unless you're being volunteered to be shot. :)

Renee: The nice thing about life is that it's full of metamorphoses. I never planned to be a writer. It just happened when I wasn't paying attention.

Shirley: Ask my husband how much I agonize over these decisions. LOL! I drive him crazy, but I can't help it. I have to analyze things from all angles.

Ref: smoking. Hey, October is pretty good. I hope you make it.

Cate Masters said...

[take 2, after 'service unavailable' notice]
I think you're channeling me this week, Maria. :) I'm fine with walking away from something if I've given it my all, and it doesn't take off. Sometimes, we have to cut our losses, and shift our priorities, as life demands. Whether it's outright quitting, or merely stepping back, depending.
The last thing I quit was my full-time job when my daughter had a health crisis, more a matter of necessity than choice. (Things are all right now)
As far as writing, we'll see. I'm a big believer in que sera sera. (Cue Doris Day)

Linda Leszczuk said...

I'll go with the obvious here and say how easy it is for me to quit something is directly proportionate to how much I enjoy it. But I did recently leave a job I'd enjoyed for 20 years. It was just time.

I don't think I could quit writing but I have let it slide to the back burner a number of times over the years.

The husband, I've hung onto for almost 42 years so I guess I'm stuck with him.

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: Ref: cut our losses

That's exactly the way I look at it. I've never liked the idea of throwing good money after bad, or suffering for something that in the long run won't mean squat.

PS Glad to hear your daughter is better.

Ref: Que Sera, Sera
I'm mad you! LOL. I've had an earworm ever since you introduced me to Adele and Rolling In The Deep. I can't stop playing that video. I love it!

***
Linda:

Ref: husband
Tell the truth, a couple of times (in the early years) you must've thought about trading him in, didn't ya? LOL.

Greg wasn't safe for at least two years. After that I felt I'd invested too much in him and had to keep him.

Cate Masters said...

Isn't Adele great? I almost broke down and bought that CD this week. Thank goodness for YouTube, at least.

ref: time investment in husband
Too funny, but I agree! And an interesting study found that married people lived longer in general, but men who divorced and remarried lived longer too, while women who divorced and STAYED SINGLE lived longer than those who remarried. Hm. So apparently, training a new one takes too much out of us!

Oh, and I meant to recommend, if you haven't yet watched Wanted, you'd probably loved it as much as I do. Great snide humor in that one too!

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: I totally believe that study. I tell my husband all the time that I'll never remarry. Once is enough. :grin:

Ref: Adele
Darn it. I could not find "Wanted" on her playlist. Can you send me a link if you have it? Thanks.

broken biro said...

I have quit many jobs, left many men, shed hobbies and fads with reckless abandon...but I can't ever envisage giving up writing!

Cate Masters said...

*slaps forehead* Sorry, I meant the DVD Wanted with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy. Should've put that note in the post below.

Jacqueline Howett said...

I think writers can never quit writing. I have had my moments in time, the moment I would say that it was the end of it, the flood gates open and it pours through. The pen will always find its way into my hand to jot something down.

Author of The Greek Seaman. http://jacquelinehowett.blogspot.com/

Madeleine said...

I find it's not just my expectations that I have to face but hubby's etc because often others don't understand why you want to quit something. Sometimes quitting can be a weight off your shoulders othertimes it feels like a failing :O)

Angelina Rain said...

You and I are so alike Maria. I gave publishing ten years and if I wasn’t going to publish a single story in those ten years, I planned on giving away all my story ideas to a select few authors (here on blogger) and see if they wanted to run with it. Luckily, I got published in the first year. I also gave my marriage only three years. As for quitting, I always feel guilty about it and I can’t let go. When I used to be younger and dating, I would start acting like a real b**** around my boyfriend at the time so he would dump me I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about ending it.

Maria Zannini said...

Broken Biro: We all have our addictions. :)

***
Cate: I forgot about this movie. I'll have to look for it.

***
Jacqueline: Actually, I know quite a few people who have given up writing. Sometimes it's due to circumstances, family problems, or just giving up because they couldn't get anywhere.

Sometimes, no matter how much we want something to be so, doesn't mean we'll get it. Life is funny that way. Those who have left the business are to be commended for their courage to walk away despite their love for writing.

***
Madeleine: Thank you for a brilliant observation. You bring up an excellent point. Sometimes it's not just what we want, but also how it affects our family. Writing is a very selfish endeavor.

And you're right that quitting can be both a relief and a humiliation. But that I think depends entirely on perspective. You're only a failure if you think you are.

***
Angelina: LOL! Does your husband ever get worried if you start being mean to him? ;-)

I find I work best under deadlines. If I know I have a certain time limit to accomplish something, I'm more inclined to work harder.

Stacy said...

I quit my last business after 7 years. Sold my portion to my two partners and walked away with people saying "you're crazy to walk away from a thriving business that you enjoy" and I wondered if they were right but I had this gut feeling that said it was time. Soon after I left, the economy tanked and the business went under. I was glad I listened to the feelings I had and I've been loving my new direction too.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: Ah! This is what I've been waiting to see.

Greg will testify that I've walked away from solid, thriving businesses or jobs before. When my gut tells me it's time to go, I walk. So far it's always worked to my benefit.

If you know you have good instincts, follow them.

I am so glad you said this, Stacy. It makes me feel better knowing I'm not alone.

Melissa McClone said...

I've quit things when they weren't good for me or my family. I've simply walked away and not looked back. I agree you have to follow your instincts. If you do you'll have no regrets.

But I think if it was something more major, life changing kind of stuff involving more than just me I would put a lot more thought into it before calling it quits.

I quit a toxic co-op situation around this time last year. I stuck around longer than I wanted because the kids liked it. But then they too agreed it wasn't good so we quit mid-year. Best decision ever!

I closed a business a few years ago because it was taking too much time away from family and interfering with writing. A hard decision, but again no regrets!

Shelley Munro said...

I'm very driven and, when I want to do something badly enough, I work at it until I find a way to make it happen. Having said that, there's been the odd time in the last couple of years when I've considered giving up writing. I don't think I could give up and that's the rub.

Lydia K said...

"And the older I get, the more selfish I am with how I want to spend my time."

Ex-act-ly.

And as long as I have a good idea in my head, I'll probably never give up writing.

Maria Zannini said...

Melissa: And therein you described what makes you decide to quit a situation. Family comes first (as it should, imo) and your decisions were always based on well-considered reasons.

Shelley: You give up writing?! Never going to happen. :-)


Lydia: True. True. As long as I'm percolating, I'll keep writing. But the day it becomes too much trouble is the day I'll walk away. There are way too many other things I could be doing. I want to enjoy my life, not curse it.

Marianne Arkins said...

First of all, I needed CPR for just a moment when I read your title. "Quitting! She's quitting .... what? Blogging? Writing? AHHHHHHHHHH!"

I'm relieved.

Maybe I'm odd, but I always assume I'll succeed at what I do, so seldom say, "In five years, if I haven't done that thing, I'm done trying."

RE: Marriage --- I think it's WAY harder than getting/being published. But that's partly because I'm incredibly selfish.

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: ROTFL!

You, selfish? Ha! You're anything but. My husband would kill for a nice wife. :)

Evidently, I'm an acquired taste.

Tia Nevitt said...

Hmm ... what are the things I've truly quit? I'm not playing my violin or piano at present, but my violin is still set up on my piano, and I know I'll play them again--when time is not so precious. I have not drawn anything in quite a while, but I still have all my pencils, my pens and ink, my calligraphy equipment. I'm happy setting it aside for now.

Dang ... I think I know what my problem is. I don't quit things! I keep adding to the things I like doing!

Ellie said...

Well, I do know where you're coming from about being more selfish with my time. I know that is happening with me, though I try to resist my writing dreams cutting in to my time with my other half. I don't want to wake up one morning and find he left because I just wasn't around any more.

As for quiting writing, that thought has never crossed my mind. It's been a part of me for longer than I can remember and it was also a part of me I denied and ignored for far too many years. What happens if I never get a book published? I'll still carry on writing! I love it too much.

Years ago I started teacher training college because my parents wanted me to do it. I hated it and leaving was the best thing I ever did. Parents weren't happy, obviously. But you only have one life to live. Spend it with people you love and hopefully, doing what you enjoy.

Maria Zannini said...

Tia: You keep adding things to your list, and you'll have to ask God for an extension. LOL.

Ellie:
Ref: I don't want to wake up one morning and find he left because I just wasn't around any more.

There's a scary thought. It's so important to balance what we love with WHO we love.

Good point.