5 Terrible Reasons to Stop Writing
If you’re like me, you’ll talk yourself into a self-deprecating hole before you believe you’re an adequate writer. Despite all the evidence to the contrary.
You can be told “reasons why you shouldn’t give up,” but that won’t address the underlying insecurity that comes with your brain’s persuasive argument on why you should stop.
1. You’re too Old
This is the obvious that should be on all of these lists. Because it’s never true. I don’t care if you are 104 and on your deathbed. It is never too late to write something. Even if it is just a poem or a few stories, don’t talk yourself out of creating.
2. You Don’t Have a Creative Writing Degree
I have one, and I think it really helped my writing skills in the end. I did apply to several MFA programs after graduation and couldn’t afford the cost.
I’m going to tell you a secret.
I’m grateful that I never went to grad school. Here’s why:
You don’t learn how to write in MFA programs. They assume you already know how to write. Instead, you learn how to go into academic creative writing. Most MFA programs are dinosaurs.
By this I mean they reject popular fiction and snort literary fiction. They’re notoriously exploitative of minority writers and tend to glorify trauma in the name of art. They’re stuck in the Modernist movement. Does that mean they’re bad? No. They have their merits. And not all are like this, of course.
But MFA programs are not for most writers. And you shouldn’t feel inadequate if you can’t get one. Honestly, unless you want to teach creative writing in an academic setting, forget getting an MFA.
But you also don’t need an MFA to teach creative writing. I’m a fiction consultant and editor. And I write articles like this. I don’t need an MFA.
Consider what you want to do with your writing carefully. Don’t get into a program just for the title. You’ll only waste time.
3. You’re Disabled and Can’t Write Every Day
This is on the list because I’m disabled and stopped writing for years. I thought I’d lose the ability to write. I actually don’t write every day. I write most days, but some days, I can’t.
Most writing advice doesn’t take disabled writers into consideration, and that can feel devastating.
But not all writers are the same. And they shouldn’t be.
If you really want to write, you should do whatever it takes to write. Just take care of yourself while doing it.
4. You Can’t Keep Up with the E-Publishing Industry
There are authors writing one book a month, and I am not sure what witchcraft they’re using. But I can’t do that.
The truth is many of these writers use ghostwriters to keep up the pace. It’s not realistic for most people. A few, maybe. But it’s not worth kicking yourself over.
Some people are slower writers, and can’t finish a book even in a year. It’s okay! Some of us need more time and we like to thoroughly think things through. Again, not all writers are built the same, and unfortunately, the industry is currently geared towards a very specific type of writer.
Your chances of hitting a bestseller may be lower, and you may not get a following as quickly. But some who publish a book a month never get anywhere.
When you look in awe at the people who pop out books on a regular basis, you’re only seeing a tiny percentage of those who pop out books on a regular basis.
And also, no one said you needed to publish anything.
5. You’re a Terrible Writer
You’re at least 10% better than you think you are. (A totally peer-reviewed statistic I didn’t make up a second ago.)
Really terrible writers tend to think they’re amazing and won’t take criticism from anyone.
If you’re improving and staying humble, you’re going to get better. But the only way you’ll get better is by writing.
There are two reasons you should stop writing:
- You don’t want to write, and in that case, I’m really not sure why you’re still reading this.
- You’re under an unbreakable curse that will summon a killer duck if you so much as write a sentence. (My condolences)
If you want to write, there’s no other reason you shouldn’t. Write what you want. Your standards are your own.
I’ve said this several times, but not all writers are the same. In fact, none are the same. We can all talk ourselves into never writing again, but plugging up creative energy is just going to harm you long-term.
Write fanfiction. Write poems. Write whatever your heart wants to. You don’t need to publish or write for anyone but yourself.