The Writer’s Alphabet vol. 17; “Q” is for Quitting


For two months earlier this year, I thought I had quit writing. I hadn’t written anything of significance and I couldn’t feel any ideas. I say feel ideas because if the writing doesn’t give me creative and literal goosebumps, I know I am not inspired to write it. I repeatedly read the adage commonly attributed to Picasso (“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.) Reading it was as far as I got. So I thought I had quit. I was wrong.

After a period of reflection, I realized the subsequent feelings of helplessness and hopelessness sprinting through me meant I was as far from quitting as I had or have ever been. Feeling lost but unfulfilled told me – as Pressfield puts it in The War of Art – I was letting resistance win. My resistance to physically writing was the killer. Helplessness and hopelessness were fueling resistance. The part of me that feels fulfilled by writing was empty, and I was resistant to filling the tank. Instead of working on any idea, I would run away from doing anything that was productive. This led to a negative cycle of emotions and behavior that not only affected me, but those closest to me. The cycle broke only when I broke. I’m not happy with the process and I can see now how the reality I experienced at the time was not reality. Granted, it was my reality, but my perspective was so skewed about what it was I was actually feeling, that I needed a correction.

I know now I can never consciously, unconsciously, or subconsciously quit writing. The emotional reaction is so visceral that it manifests in terribly self-destructive ways. I might not always be inspired but I learned it comes down to making a plan and even if I fail – which I did with my summer writing project – it is still a step in the right direction. I need to let those beautiful, creative demons dance in the fire and then let them lose on the page. I need to express the most important part of my existence, my creative side. I have stared the Mr. Hyde aspect of that side in the face and been dragged down by letting it lie dormant. I learned never to do that again no matter what gets in my way psychologically, emotionally, or physically.

Knowing I can never quit writing, that I am tied to it for the rest of my life, doesn’t feel like the life-sentence it might sound like. It feels freeing to be able to acknowledge it. I will always have this relationship with words. Whether they come out jumbled and terrible, or crisp and spectacular, I know that I always have the words.


About jtkwriting

Writer living in Toronto. "Sneak out of your window darling, let's live like outlaws honey." View all posts by jtkwriting

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