Every Friday, when I visit one of my favorite Link-ups at The Bloggers Pit Stop, I am greeted with the words, “You have not failed until you quit trying.” This anonymous quote has become a favorite. It is a reminder to me that hard work in writing is normal, so don’t quit.
Another favorite quote comes from Randy Pauch, the author of The Last Lecture. Randy states, “Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” What makes these words exceptionally powerful is that they were written by someone familiar with hardship. College professors are sometimes invited to give a talk entitled, “The Last Lecture,” where they reflect on death and discuss the things that matter most. Randy’s lecture was different because he was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly after receiving his last lecture invitation. For Randy Pausch, “The Last Lecture” really was his final speech. Randy’s statement about brick walls is not an idealized theory. Randy knows just how frustrating life’s challenges can be and sincerely encourages his listeners to press forward anyway.
[Tweet “Most things worth doing require hard work and effort.”] This is even true for the professionals. The title “expert” isn’t just bestowed upon those who easily accomplish difficult tasks. More often than not, an expert is someone who is able to make a seemingly impossible task appear easy—but this doesn’t mean that the task actually is easy. Usually, hard work, long hours of practice, and a difficult journey are still there. These things are simple, less noticeable once the expert has honed his or her craft.
On a similar note, Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” So before giving up, here are five things to try instead:
Don’t Quit. Try This Instead
1) Sleep On It.
This strategy is too easy not to use. It’s amazing how much better the world looks after a good night’s rest. According to The National Sleep Foundation, the average adult requires between 7-9 hours of sleep for optimal functioning. They also report that by not getting enough rest, it is possible to build up a sleep-debt. This means that the minimum will not be enough. For many of us, there is plenty of debt repayment to do!
2) Phone A Friend.
Progress happens little by little. Often occurring so slowly that it goes unnoticed. This is why it’s important to get an outsider’s opinion. Sometimes, other people can see our progress when we cannot. Before throwing in the towel on your blog, get an honest assessment from a close confidant and from someone far removed from the situation. Even if you are not progressing as quickly as you would like, there is a good chance that you have grown more than you realize.
3) Pray About It.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Don’t quit writing without seeking God first. Patient persistence is indeed a virtue.
4) Remind Yourself That You Can Quit Tomorrow.
Sometimes one more day of performing a difficult task is all that is needed to rekindle one’s enthusiasm. Remind yourself that you can always quit blogging tomorrow. Do the difficult task one more time. The next day, repeat this process. Remind yourself that you can always quit the following day. [Tweet “Take one step at a time, and your enthusiasm will eventually return.”]
5) Press Forward Anyway.
Feelings come and go. This is normal. Make the decision to press through feelings of discouragement early on. Angela Duckworth refers to this type of persistent determination as grit. She states that “Grit is sticking with your future, day-in, day-out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Angela discovered that gritty students—and not the ones with the highest I.Q.s—excel the most in school. Similarly, it is the gritty writers and bloggers (the ones who get and stay motivated) who eventually achieve their goals.
Do you sometimes feel like giving up? Congratulations, you are normal. Now, go and do what all of the experts do, and keep going. Read a new book. Scour the internet for fresh ideas. Get on the waiting list for my upcoming book, Ten Great Ideas for Authors!
Then sit down and write, write, and write some more.
Do you ever feel like giving up? What strategies do you use to keep yourself going on the days that writing is difficult? I would love to hear from you and look forward to continuing the conversation in the comments below!
P.S. For more creative writing ideas, be sure to visit our writing resources page. I pull back the curtain and show you all of my favorite writing resources. You can also check out my book Ten Quick Wins for Writers, where you will discover creative writing prompts and strategies to jump-start your author journey. Finally, you’ll want to check out this post on Writing Consistently. It’s a deep dive into some of my favorite writing-success strategies. I truly believe you are only one great idea away from writing success!