Q is for Quit



Quit verb - to stop, cease, or discontinue: to depart from; leave (a place or person): to give up or resign; let go; relinquish: to release one's hold of (something grasped).

You know what’s interesting? It’s that nowhere in the above definition does the word failure appear, but for whatever reason that is what quitting has become associated with. A lot of us consider it a four letter word, especially when going after something we really want. But when it comes to chasing a dream, the word almost certainly disappears from our vocabulary. The negative connotation swirling around it is so strong that we’ll even try subterfuge to avoid using it. “I’m taking an extended break”; “I’m in a time-out”; or my favorite…“I’ve decided to go in another direction”.

I don’t think I’ve met an aspiring writer/blogger yet that hasn’t had to quit something related to their craft at some point or another. With what we do, it’s too easy to get overwhelmed and need to back away and regroup every now and again. I myself have “paused” several times during my four years of blogging, and I even QUIT once. That’s why I have the 2.0 at the end of Cruising Altitude. I grew tired of spinning my wheels, so upset with being unable to improve the quality of the material I was creating that I threw in the towel…vowing not to return until I had made significant progress. When I did return five months later, I rebooted my blog with the 2.0 suffix to remind myself where I had once been.

Yes…I quit, but I did not fail. My books will be published someday and you’ll read all about that here. But I will say this; the five months I was away did come at a steep price. There were numerous long-time followers and people I interacted with frequently before I quit, that never came back. That is something I will always regret, but I take solace in the realization that my writing improved so much during that time away.

Did you know I was holding a contest during the A-Z Challenge? You can read all about it HERE.

49 comments

  1. It takes a wise person to know when to step back.

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  2. I took a blog hiatus for four months last year. I also expected to loose tons of followers. I was surprised that most of them stuck around or came back.

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  3. I can relate to you I quit my first blog when I got some unwelcomed comments.
    The I re- started again by this time Chrome played me up .
    Well I'm back now like you had many followers who never came back, but I think it's a challenge
    in itself to make the second start even better.

    Yvonne.

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  4. Stepping back and regrouping is a part of life sometimes. I have to do that for my writing sometimes. If not I just get frustrated and will quit it for good. And that's not me.
    Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

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  5. I've thought about taking a blogging break many times.

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  6. It's not a bad thing to quit, in fact I think it's quite brave. Sometimes we take on too much and can't handle it; better to quit than burn out and fail completely.

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  7. I truly believe if you want something strongly enough, you'll do what it takes to get there.

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  8. Oh I've thought about quitting too. Many times. I think the trick is to know when to take a step back and put things on "pause" before it all gets overwhelming.

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  9. Very true. Quitting does not mean failure. Sometimes we need a break, sometimes we just want to try something else or realign our priorities. And that's ok.

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  10. Quitting is permanent though - you came back!

    Failure is when you quit completely - you give up on everything. Readjusting our goals and direction isn't really quitting because we're still moving forward.

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  11. I think there's a difference between choosing to step back, to take stock, to decide to stop doing something as opposed to stopping something purely out of fear or frustration. We're all human, and we all make choices and we all make mistakes, but as long as we keep learning and growing, then we aren't ever "quitters." :)

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  12. So glad to hear someone say out loud that quitting in NOT failure. An intelligent person knows when to cut their loses and flat out quit. Sometimes you can come back (as in your case) and sometimes not, but I actually think it's a form of success to know when it's time to quit something.

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  13. It sounds to me like you just took a break and it was disguised as quitting. Every writer needs a break now and then. I'm glad those five months were so good for!

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  14. I could do a group therapy session using this! :-) It is amazing how language acquires nuances. You pick apart a word's meaning and yet there are still these unspoken layers attached to it. It shows how tricky language can be.

    I do feel that we sometimes forget that "quitting" can be a healthy, good thing - quitting smoking, quitting drinking, quitting an abusive relationship. It's those moments where quitting becomes the polar opposite of the unspoken idea that quitting equates with failure.

    Great post today! I find it reassuring that even the strongest of bloggers have points where they need to step back. Makes it less overwhelming for us newbies.

    Lyre @ <a href="amy-lyre.blogspot.com>Lyre's Musings</a> #atozchallenge

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  15. Quitting is neither good or bad, what happens after is what counts. Quitting a horrible job to take something better for example, would be a good thing. If quitting something can bring you greater happiness and reward then it's a positive thing in my book.

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  16. That's why if I don't write any more books, I won't call it quitting as I'll still be pursuing something creative with my music.

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  17. It's their loss for leaving and not coming back after you quit and returned. I know I don't post all that frequently, and when I made that change, I lost lots of commenters, but then I just had to realize that I was doing what was best for me, and I didn't think agents would really care how many comments I got.

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  18. Quitting is a choice and failure is a result. While in my mind, failure is not an option. The choice to quit something that becomes a determent to you is a sound choice... rhis self preservation 101

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  19. i am stepping back, i am not stopping... just to look at it all.

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  20. Everyone needs a break now and then and if it allowed you to improve your writing, than can only be a good thing.

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  21. I agree...'quitting' doesn't mean 'failing'.

    Failing is never having tried at all...

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  22. Sounds like the break was good for you. Quitting tends to have a negative connotation, but if quitting something is better for your physical and/or mental health, then it only makes sense.

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  23. I think you took a breather. That's always a good idea, kind of a vacation to get a different perspective and revitalize. Of course, "taking a breather" wouldn't fit today's letter, so I'll interpret Quit the way I think it should be. :-)

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  24. So much of the time I hear people trying to avoid saying they have quit something because of the negative connotations. We have become a society that likes to change language to make it have a positive spin. But sometimes the spin is the appropriate way to look at things.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

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  25. I agree, quitting is not the same as failing. Sometimes we need to pause and see if all the things we are doing are the things that will get us where to where we are trying to go.Simply Sarah

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  26. Many times, quitting one thing opens us up to something even better.

    TaMara
    Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

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  27. It's part of life. We need to walk away and regroup at times.... Believe me I've wanted to QUIT many times. Like you, I felt/feel like I'm spinning my wheels and going nowhere.

    BUT, i see the road ahead, It may be a LONG journey, but I have good friends to keep me company. So it's never boring. The encouragement form writers I respect is enough to keep me stumbling along. With each step come improvement. All "your" comments keep me writing and improving. WIth each new word comes a new beginning and another step closer.

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  28. At the end of the work day, they used to call it quitting time. To me quitting is simply stopping doing something either to rest or to prepare to go on to the next thing.

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  29. Sometimes one has to retreat a few steps to be able to appreciate the whole painting. Sometimes one has to quit on something to win something else even greater. This is dragon wisdom.

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  30. "Weren't you banished to Foodcourtia? Shouldn't you be...frying something?"
    "Oh, I quit when I found out about this."
    "You quit being banished?"

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  31. One of my biggest problems is knowing when to quit writing. I often just want to add one more thing.

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  32. I agree with Al's wise words. I've had to give up a few things to focus on one. Have a great weekend!

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  33. I guess on a personal level, when I quit I see it as I've failed because I'd tried all different angles and could not complete whatever it was. But what you said makes sense. Maybe I need to just change my way of thinking.

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  34. I think we could all use a 2.0 somewhere - maybe I'll just add it to my name legally...

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  35. I've never quite thought of the word "quit" in this way before. You're right that people usually associate it with failure, when really quitting can sometimes be the healthy thing to do. And maybe quitting one thing opens the door for something far better. Interesting post!

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  36. I think it's healthy to take breaks. I understand that my fellow bloggers have duties outside of their blog, such as working on their WIP or other things, so while I'll miss someone who disappears for awhile, I certainly won't hold it against them.

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  37. I agree with the people who said that quitting and taking a hiatus are not the same. You did come back and you were refreshed when you resumed. If you had never come back, you would have quit and it might have seemed like a failure to you then. But I think you made the right decision to come back because you're gifted and you feel fulfilled when you're writing. I do believe you'll be rewarded for perseverance.

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  38. Quitting is not in my vocabulary and it's not in yours. This means, with realistic commitment, working towards your goal, your aspiration will be a dream that became a reality.

    Be well and keep going.

    Gary

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  39. Goodness, I know what you mean. When I first started blogging it was to post a serial story. Once it ended, I stopped posting. I realize now that had I kept going, I would have retained and built a strong readership -- comprised mostly of my target market. Well, we can do many things, but we can't go back in time. (Nor would I want to--don't know about you.)
    I'm grateful for the lesson I learner though, and will not make that mistake again.

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  40. Failure is a state of mind. You are only a failure if you tell yourself so!

    Writer In Transit

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  41. I've never officially "quit" my blog, but there have been times in my four years of blogging where it sat silent for a while. My first Challenge, which was the second one, really re-booted my blog and my attitude and there's been no looking back since then. There have been numerous medical issues that have kept me from blogging regularly for weeks at a time, but not enough of a pause to really make anyone leave.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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  42. An excellent reminder, DL! You quit but you didn't fail. Yes, your books WILL be published one day.

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  43. I look at "quitting" like a bit of a learning curve. Sometimes we need to step back, move away and regroup. It's sort of like the saying, "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours to keep forever. If it doesn't, it never was." Holding on too tight can be as much of an obstacle to our growth as "quitting." Failing on the other hand, is never an option, unless we just don't care at all.

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  44. Sometimes you just know in your gut when it's time to quit, at least for awhile. You probably gain much more than what you lose in the long run.

    My quitting moment was when I quit my job as a software engineer once I made enough money writing articles. That was about a year ago. I still haven't finished my novel, which is my ultimate goal, but I love my new job! The old job was just getting so boring. I was tired of it.

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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  45. I think quitting makes you more appreciative when you re-engage in whatever you tried to set out to sea.

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  46. I may need to step back to get more writing done.
    I think we all understand that.

    Heather

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  47. Hi Don .. the balance is challenging and now you have an added very important dimension. I haven't ever thought of quitting blogging - but I'm not writing either .. so I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. The new life starts after the A-Z .. with ideas for me to follow - the blog will be a part of it .. but not all ... I'd hate to lose my friends ... cheers Hilary

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  48. Thank you for this, DL! I'm really tough on myself and there are some things that I gave up in the past that I count as failures. I think that's why I'm holding onto blogging and writing. But if I ever do decide to step away from them, I will not see it as a failure. :)

    Sending lots of healing wishes to your wife and will be sure to keep her in my prayers. <3

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  49. I also did my post today on "I Quit." Fabulous take and you're right, there is a huge difference between quitting and failing. And eventually if you want to write full time you're going to have to 'quit' that day job. Won't that be fun!?

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