You’re tired of hearing people say that writing is a dream job.
Yes, writing can be a fulfilling career, but you haven’t made it yet.
Maybe you’ve spent a lot of time working for content mills or submitting poems to literary magazines that don’t even have the decency to get back to you.
Maybe you only get praised by your immediate family or you’ve never dared to show anyone your novel draft.
It’s already hard enough to convince yourself time and time again that you’re good enough when faced with rejection, uncertainty, or even too many small victories. Where can you find the energy and conviction to keep writing?
Pitfalls within the writing world are so pervasive, it’s easy to understand why so many writers quit.
You can get sick of the writing life, the broke life, the writing-for-an-industry-you-don’t-believe-in life.
But if you find that any of these four reasons apply to you, then you should definitely keep writing:
1. You’ve been doing this for a really long time
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” – Confucius
I don’t know if it’s true that people tend to “give up right before they’re about to make it,” but it doesn’t change the fact that a lot of hard work has to go into something before it reaches its full potential.
If you’ve been at the writing game for years, it could very well be that you’re just starting to reach the point where the dots start connecting.
Give yourself a little more time. Is it worth interrupting all the momentum you’ve been building up until this point?
2. You’ve had successes, even if you don’t actively think about them
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dalí
The human brain is like that. It tends to forget all the good things that happen to us (especially in our professional lives).
Maybe you first got published at a really young age or your poetry was featured in a magazine you love, even though it doesn’t pay.
Perhaps your teacher used your writing as an example for the class, or you won a writing award.
Whatever it was proves, not only that you have what it takes to be a good writer, but that you probably already are.
If things aren’t working out just yet, don’t get discouraged: talent is one thing, but learning how to write for your desired medium is another.
Be open to learning a little more about your niche and to practice writing for it before you throw in the towel.
3. You actually haven’t failed that hard
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
We’ve all made mistakes, but nothing you or your writing have done has been truly devastating.
Sure, it amplified itself when you mixed it with your insecurities, impatience, and misconstrued expectations.
But think about it frankly: does your writing truly underperform, or is it just not at the level you’d want it to be?
If it’s the latter, I’ve got news for you: you’ll always feel that way, even when you’re a published New York Times bestseller.
Malcolm Gladwell says you need to put in ten thousand hours of work into something until you become a pro at it. Maybe that isn’t an exact figure, but rest assured that nobody started their first novel, poem, or post after they became pros.
They became pros while doing it.
4. You genuinely love writing
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou
I’m a firm believer that if you love what you do you’ll put in the time and effort to be amazing at it. Sacrificing yourself to a career you don’t love doesn’t automatically grant you the ability or even the right to succeed at it.
If you can’t picture yourself doing anything but writing, then buckle up and fully sell your soul to your craft. No more “getting your feet wet.” Cannonball straight into it.