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Quitters

"Don't give up," people say. "Stick it out. Don't quit. Quitters never win and winners never quit."

Sorry, I do disagree. I admire the quitters. I envy them. Yes, I'm guilty of quitting envy. See, I can't quit.

I can put things on hold, stop working on it, come back to it later, but I can't quit. That keeps me in eternal emotional turmoil.

Why can't I quit? Part of it is my need to be liked and admired. I believe, without having a foundation in it, that people who don't quit are more liked or admired. I want to be liked and admired. Like I said, there's absolutely no evidence on my part. It's something that parents and teachers drilled into me. 

I believe there is always a solution so I don't give up, I get more information. Work harder, try harder, try another angle, give it a break and try again. Rethink it. I exhaust myself exhausting every means. 

But there's been some great quitters in the world - but did they quit? Like Ronald Reagan. Before he became a right wing rock star (here's to you, Chris) in late 70s and was elected POTUS, he quit a number of times, bowing out because he failed to win his party's nomination.

He failed; also words I hate to hear. He failed.

Yet, I love failing. I believe in the concept you can't succeed without taking risks and failing. You learn from failing. 

Yes, there have been quitters. I've read of racing drivers who thought themselves the greatest and then ran up against someone better than themselves and realized, "I'll never beat them." They said it changed their self-image. Several of them quit. They went on to other careers.

Some racing drivers aged and could no longer find the speed. They quit. They also lived healthy, happy lives after quitting. 

The same story about racing drivers can be told about boxers. I once read a great essay by John Bond, then publisher of Road & Track magazine. I'll paraphrase what I remember. A young man, an Army soldier, was an up and coming boxer. He left the military and turned pro. He moved up the ranks and ended up fighting Sugar Ray Robinson. In this man's words, he was outclassed in that fight. Toe to toe and slugging it out? Sugar Ray beat him there. If he tried to jab and dance, Sugar Ray was faster and quicker. He tried tying Sugar Ray up on the ropes and Sugar Ray fed him his shoelaces. That was the day he realized he would never beat Sugar Ray Robinson. By extension, he could not be world champion. That was his goal. So he quit. As I remember it, John Bond said that this was a man at peace with himself. 

I admire that, that ability to be practical and strong, to recognize, quitting does not define me. I admire those people so secure about who they are that they can look into this abyss, nod and say, this is the way out, and say, "I quit," and walk away. They understand that they reach some point where there's no value left in what they do, so they cut their losses and walk away.

It is not in me. I don't have the emotional fortitude to write, speak, or shout, "I quit," and walk away. 

Others know that about me. They take pity and offer to help or recommend that we have someone else do X, and help me rationalize why this is a good idea so I don't need to say, "I quit." 

If I were stronger, maybe I would say, "I'm not a very good writer, and that's why I'm not published more," and I would quit. If I were stronge, I would say, "I hate this job," and I would quit. 

But it is not in me, so I'll go on, trying new ways so I'm not crazy, working, pecking away, trying and trying and trying. Maybe someday I'll succeed. Or maybe someday I'll find the strength to say, "I quit."

I hope that those of you who do and do not quit all understand.

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Good one, Michael! Writers

Good one, Michael! Writers are a stubborn group and getting  any rejection slips just spurs us on more. I do quit when something doesn't work one way--that's when I change my direction and try again. I think it's also a faith thing--when you know you've got something and just keep plugging away!    J

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Faith and Other Matters

Hi Judee,

 

After posting this, and even while writing it, I thought about quitting and how it's often an arena of events and directions. It's much different from areanas where there can be only one, as in auto racing, where only one can win a race or the championship, and the arena of writing, where, despite economics and individual preferences, there's room for many more than one writer and their books.  The advent of e-publishing, print on demand, and self-publishing have given us greater tools for being published. And let's face it, many of us write simply to write, and it's a gift from the universe when we discover someone who tells us how much they have enjoyed our writing. 

Thanks for reading and commenting.