Ten Things to Quit Right Now

Many writers—especially (but not exclusively) when they’re starting out on this long, uphill journey of writing for publication—are often tempted to quit. Some face that temptation even after they’ve published, and some even after much success. Because it’s hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it (nod to Jimmy Doogan in A League of Their Own).

Still, sometimes the hard can get so hard—and continue being hard for so long—that it can tempt even the most battle-toughened warrior to want to say, “No mas!”  

So, while I’ve never encouraged any writer to quit entirely, I’m writing today to say: go ahead, quit. But not everything. Quit selectively. Quit wisely. Quit strategically. With that in mind, let me prescribe ten things you can—and should—quit right now. Here they are. Quit:

  1. Trying to write something for “everyone”
  2. Trying to write like someone else
  3. Comparing yourself to other writers
  4. Putting yourself down
  5. Writing only when you’re “inspired”
  6. Hurrying
  7. Procrastinating
  8. Avoiding critique
  9. Avoiding submitting your work for publication
  10. Giving up

Got it? Quit it. Each one. All ten. Right now. And stay quit.

Are you with me? If so, let me know in the comments.

52 Responses to Ten Things to Quit Right Now

  1. Molly Jo Realy May 6, 2021 at 4:11 am #

    I’m with ya! Very encouraging post. Very motivating. I promise I’ll quit. Everything except the actual writing for me.

  2. Matt Christopher White May 6, 2021 at 5:16 am #

    Nice! Thanks, Bob! I printed this for a visual reminder at my desk.

    • Bob Hostetler May 6, 2021 at 9:27 am #

      Matt, you know you have to send me royalties every time you look at it, right?

  3. Gerardine Pang May 6, 2021 at 5:27 am #

    Thank you for the reminder. I WILL quit all ten.

  4. Jessica Hurlbut May 6, 2021 at 5:35 am #

    I’m with you. I want to add one more thing:

    11. I quit allowing other people’s opinions to persuade me to do anything else other than what God has called me to do.

  5. Tom Scott May 6, 2021 at 5:38 am #

    Your words hit home! Great post; thank you for sharing.

  6. Kristen Joy Wilks May 6, 2021 at 6:25 am #

    Yes! Especially trying to write like someone else. I eventually found out that I am not set up with the skills to write like Cornelia Funke … but I have other writing skills and I need to use them for God’s glory!

    • Bob Hostetler May 6, 2021 at 9:35 am #

      I used to want to write like William Faulkner but page-long paragraphs and stream-of-consciousness and words like backlooking and mansmelling and swolebellied just weren’t doing it for the people who had to read my longlasting, rabbittrailtaking pages, one after the other, sometimes hitting sometimes missing and sometimes forgetting what I was say9ing by the time I got to the end of the page until oneaftertheother readers said what are you on about and besides I couldn’t hardly write with a southern accent shoot I can’t even understand what southerners are saying half the time so I gave up on that and decided instead to write like myself. Or at least try to.

      • Susan Brehmer May 6, 2021 at 5:42 pm #

        This made me laugh. Thanks for that.

      • Carol R Nicolet Loewen May 7, 2021 at 12:34 pm #

        Your comment made me laugh too Bob. I sometimes feel I’m just not as creative as other writers, and yet, God has given me my own voice and areas of interest/expertise, and so I need to stop comparing myself and putting myself down.

        Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Loretta Eidson May 6, 2021 at 6:31 am #

    I’m printing this out and posting it at my desk as a constant reminder that I don’t have to do it all. Thanks.

    • Bob Hostetler May 6, 2021 at 9:36 am #

      Loretta, you know you have to send me royalties every time you look at it, right? Of course right.

  8. Micky Wolf May 6, 2021 at 6:35 am #

    Great post, Bob! I read this blog regularly and appreciate all the good insight. This one, however, was exactly what I needed to ponder–and put into action today. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Jennifer Chastain May 6, 2021 at 6:43 am #

    Thank you so much for the reminders! Very encouraging

  10. Tim Shoemaker May 6, 2021 at 6:50 am #

    Great job, Bob! I loved the approach . . . encouraging readers to quit the very things that hold them back!

  11. Stacy Simmons May 6, 2021 at 6:52 am #

    What a great post, thank you. I’ll have to bookmark this post and refer back to it from time to time. It’s a great reminder that we can’t imitate someone else’s writing, or listen to naysayers. We need to follow our own writer’s path and remain firm in it.

    • Kelly May 6, 2021 at 10:50 am #

      Call me a quitter. I’m printing this to keep at my desk for future reference. (I’m sure I’ll need a peek in a day or so)

  12. gramcapo@comcast.net May 6, 2021 at 6:55 am #

    I agree, great reminder to be true to ourselves even if it means you can just write for yourself. Sometimes that just seems right!

  13. Susan Sage May 6, 2021 at 6:59 am #

    Great thoughts this morning, Bob. Very timely. Just because something we’ve written doesn’t meet the needs of one agent doesn’t mean it will never meet any agent’s needs.

  14. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser May 6, 2021 at 7:02 am #

    My words appeal to everyone,
    I’m better than the rest,
    and when all is said and done
    it’s Shakespeare that I’ve harnessed.,
    but I never reach the place
    where I’m pleased with what pen’s wrought,
    and write only from inspired place,
    and when the muse flees, naught.
    In haste I put off writing tasks,
    and will not suffer critics,
    but won’t submit without good facts
    from Google Analytics…
    though I may quit, for I am itching
    to try my hand at pro bass fishing.

  15. Carla M Zwahlen May 6, 2021 at 7:11 am #

    Good morning, Bob Hostetler,

    The Ten Things To Quit Right Now are exactly the ten things I needed to hear this morning.

    Thank you!

  16. Shirlee Abbott May 6, 2021 at 7:14 am #

    All good till I got to #7. You´re right, Bob. I gotta stop procrastinating. Starting tomorrow!

    • Bob Hostetler May 6, 2021 at 9:38 am #

      Well, don’t hurry, Shirlee. Maybe day AFTER tomorrow.

  17. Frank May 6, 2021 at 7:31 am #

    You have told me no before, but i didn’t listen. Still writing, tweaking, and learning.

  18. Susan Gregory May 6, 2021 at 7:39 am #

    Fine! I quit!!

  19. Hannarich Asiedu May 6, 2021 at 8:07 am #

    This is so inspiring. Thank you for this.

    I wrote an entire manuscript, then wanted to re-edit it to make it sound like an author whose work I loved.

    Of course, I couldn’t. I realized I could only write like me. Only write what the Holy Spirit inspires.

    God bless you for this

  20. Jeannie Waters May 6, 2021 at 8:46 am #

    Thank you for wise words with keeping.

  21. Debra Celovsky May 6, 2021 at 9:40 am #

    Encouraged, Bob. Thank you.

  22. pilgrim4230@yahoo.co May 6, 2021 at 9:48 am #

    Regarding #10. My daughter graduated with a Masters in Creative Writing and proceeded to starve (in the artistic sense) for 10 years. She then received an email from an agent, who a year earlier told her that her writing was excellent but not marketable. The agent asked for a sample of what she was currently working on ~ she sent the sample to him and the next day he signed her. Three months later the book went to the London Book fair and the country and translation rights were purchased by 18 different countries. The book is currently in about 30 countries and 28 different languages. Number 10 served Affinity Konar and “Mischling” very well. However, I think, published or not, it would be very difficult and heartbreaking for a real writer to ever give up.

  23. Jane Reid May 6, 2021 at 10:54 am #

    Thank you for the timely reminder. You make me smile, besides.

  24. Chanin Gates May 6, 2021 at 12:03 pm #

    Thanks, Bob. After nearly seven months, I’m officially quitting #10 right now.

  25. Jeanetta May 6, 2021 at 2:20 pm #

    Oh yes, I’ve been coping with feeling overwhelmed with the ramping up of caregiving concerns by procrastinating and writing only when inspired. Time to QUIT IT. Thanks!

  26. Linda McKain May 6, 2021 at 4:05 pm #

    Well, now, thank you Bob I so needed to see this. I plan to write like me, & do it over & over everyday.

    Always in Christ
    Linda McKain

  27. Susan Brehmer May 6, 2021 at 5:44 pm #

    Love this! I recently recorded a podcast episode then doubted my decision on the content. I have since learned how what I shared confirmed and affirmed other’s experiences around the same topic.

  28. Nikki Hertzler May 6, 2021 at 10:31 pm #

    Thank you for this! Your workshop at the WCCW conference opened my eyes to so many more possibilities to write which has helped to break me out of my procrastination, so thanks for that too!

  29. OLUSOLA SOPHIA ANYANWU May 7, 2021 at 1:03 am #

    Thanks for this Bob!
    I’m guilty of 1,4,5 and 6!! God help me. But this consciousness your post has provided will enable me to quit those issues in my writing career. Thanks so much and God bless you! Amen.

  30. Lynda Irons May 7, 2021 at 6:02 am #

    Thank you for the encouragement. It has been my dream to write a book since i could hold a stubby pencil. In my latter years, i simply want to leave my spiritual footprint behind. Since i cannot afford some avenues for publication, my dear husband learned how to do self-publishing and create covers. Recently, he’s become disabled with myasthenia gravis. However, that has not stopped him, even when he’s had to use floppy fingers to hit one key at a time. My prayer is that each of us will hear those longed-for words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

  31. Bruce Blizard May 7, 2021 at 9:05 am #

    Yes. And applicable to more than just writing. This list mirrors closely the advice I gave to athletes when I was coaching.

  32. Janet Pierce May 7, 2021 at 11:05 am #

    Thanks, I needed this. Had a hard critique session last night and was doubting if I had ANY ability to write. Despite being published in nonfiction. My historical inspirational novel I am working on is a new genre and the one historical romance writer in my critique group hates what I write. Others in the group are not as harsh, but it all had me doubting my ability to write anything. So thanks again. I will try to quit being discouraged by what one person says.

  33. Carol R Nicolet Loewen May 7, 2021 at 12:36 pm #

    Your comment made me laugh too Bob. I sometimes feel I’m just not as creative as other writers, and yet, God has given me my own voice and areas of interest/expertise, and so I need to stop comparing myself and putting myself down.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  34. Kathy May 7, 2021 at 1:50 pm #

    Great things to give up , and especially # 10–a reminder to give up on giving up!!

  35. Libby Taylor-Worden May 8, 2021 at 9:34 am #

    This list is insightful. Thanks for this list…I hate rejections (pretty common I suppose) but it makes me want to quit, or at least procrastinate about sending out my proposal again. I try to look at my feedback as a learning experience and make all the changes suggested, but then I’m stimmed…I sit on it before resubmitting. Thank you for the encouragement to get unstuck and keep going.

  36. Ann L Coker May 8, 2021 at 12:53 pm #

    My southern ears and eyes “couldn’t hardly” keep up with that one response from you, Bob. In our writing group meetings I get it that I’m only one of two who write non-fiction, and they say my style is different. Glad they don’t put me down for that; we accept each other’s work. Oh, and on your list, I like that “hurrying” and “procrastinating” are next to each other.

  37. Darla Grieco June 8, 2021 at 4:38 am #

    Thank you! I’m reading this post late as I’m behind in my emails. Or perhaps it’s not late, but in God’s perfect timing. I will quit!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get New Posts by Email

Get New Posts by Email

Each article is packed with helpful info and encouragement for writers. You can unsubscribe at any time with one click. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!