Friday, April 5, 2013

Life Lessons—I Quit! And Other Daily Utterances

by Reba J. Hoffman


Hollywood paints a beautiful—if not glamorous—picture of the life of a writer… Well, at least until the James Caan Movie, Misery. Think about it. Castle shadows a beautiful police detective who plays poker with New York Times Best Sellers.

What it doesn’t show is Blank Screen Syndrome, voices in our heads that do NOT behave themselves, or the boxes of rejection letters we don’t know why we’re keeping.

Never do we see the thousands of times writers say, “I Quit!” or the awful things we say about the editor who just insists that we rewrite the same scene we rewrote seventeen times already. And, just to pour salt in your wound, the editor wants you to return it to its original version!


How many times a day does a writer utter, I QUIT!? Probably hundreds, even thousands of times. Yet, we find ourselves right back at the computer typing away. It’s like a contagious disease. Once we get it, it spreads to every fiber of our being.

We quit, we whine, we stand and twirl around three times, and even stick our tongues out at the protagonist for doing what you just wrote (tell me I’m not the only one).

It’s entirely normal for a writer to do these things. It’s cleansing, empowering and provides comic relief. So, stand up, kick your chair back, shake your finger at your monitor and shout, “I QUIT!”

Ahhhh… feels good doesn’t it? So does saying “I’m finished” while typing “The End” at the end of a manuscript, and saying, “My pleasure” to an adoring fan who asks you to autograph fifty-two copies of your latest book.

It’s perfectly all right to say, “I quit”… as long as you don’t do it. I mean, after all, what would this world be like without your book in print? We’d all have to line up with candles at dusk singing There’s a Hole in the World Tonight.

Say it to your heart’s content but just don’t do it! The voices are going to bother you either way, so why not create a great book from it. Laugh at yourself for all those disparaging looks you give your computer, and how your hair sticks out when you grab it while screaming.

Okay, enough of this. I QUIT!

Have you uttered that term? Or maybe something else? Share it here!


Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching (www.magellanlifecoaching.com). She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at reba@magellanlifecoaching.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.

11 comments:

  1. Yes, Reba! I've done that! Thank you so much for helping me realize I'm not the only one, and for giving me the inspiration to persevere! Yes, writing is like a contagious disease that I just can't shake. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments Julia. It always helps to know what we're experiencing is...ummm...normal.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for this,Reba. As always, your posts make me smile. I often utter "shut up" to myself when doubts fill my head.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You tell 'em Elaine! Those Doubting Thomas Voices in our heads always try to make us think they're telling the truth.

      Delete
  3. I feel this way almost daily. And sometimes for a week or two, I really do quit. Well, sort of. That's until guilt and being lonely for my writing and feeling like I'm not fulfilling my purpose set in. It's like running away when I was four (I didn't get far) and then running back home.

    I figured I wasn't the only fickle writer in the world. Thanks, Reba.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Kim! I thought I was the only one who ran away from home at the age of 4. For me, I was running to the wild, wild west. I just didn't realize that, 1) it was so far away and 2) they didn't ride horses down the middle of Main Street. haha

      Isn't it wonderful that when we quit writing, we pine for it? We might run away but we always come back. Thanks for taking time to comment.

      Delete
    2. Reba, if we had been childhood neighbors, we probably would have made it around the block. Lol. Thanks for encouraging us as women and as writers.

      Delete
  4. Yes Reba, I've said those words more times than I care to admit! And yes, Edie has heard me say it and has also been the one to tell me "don't you dare quit!"

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good for Edie Jamie! That's exactly why we need each other on this writing journey.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I say I can't do this! when I'm writing my first draft. Then I tell myself I can't rewrite what I haven't written. So I keep going. Great post, Reba!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This really doesn't have anything to do with quitting writing, but it's funny anyway. One day, I was trying to print one of my several revisions when my laptop decided it couldn't find my printer, even though it seemed to know where it was 2 hours earlier. After some grumbling (at least that's how I'll describe it) I picked up the stupid thing, carried it over to the printer and sternly said, "See, there it is you idiot!" Needless to say, that didn't work. My wonderful husband fixed it that night. He's lucky it was in one piece :(

    ReplyDelete