About Me, Meaningless Drivel, My Thoughts, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

I Quit. Again.

There is a tiny flame that burns deep within a writer. A pilot light. In moments – some lingering, some fleeting – that pilot light sparks to life and becomes a furnace of ideas. Great books have been stitched together from such moments.

These are not sweet and beautiful moments. There are no butterflies whispering perfect words into your ears. There are no fairies singing songs of your literary brilliance. These are pain-filled moments where orcs threaten you with bodily harm and the flame itself threatens to incinerate your soul.

Your fingers fly across the keyboard not in delight, but chasing fire. You fear the unpredictable flame, as well you should, but the end of it more.

So you type and type and type and type and type like a rocking horse winner, praying that it will be a refining fire that melts away everything except the truth and not a conflagration that burns your city of ideas to the ground.

Without warning, it fades. It recedes. It dims. Your fingers slow. So too, your body, your brain, your belief in yourself.

Your hope.

The once-febrile world inside your head grows cold. Doubt thrives in the cold.

“You can’t heat a room with a pilot light,” it says.

“Just test the words in your mouth,” it tempts. “You know the ones.”

I quit.

(The words taste like ashes and rust. And oddly, like candy.)

Some have said that what defines a writer is an unavoidable compulsion to write. “I can’t not write,” they proclaim. But what if that’s a lie? What if you can quit?

What if you could close the laptop, put down the pen, and walk away. Go back to living in the moment instead of filing every observation away for future consideration by firelight.

It should be easy. Just say these two words. Recite this incantation. This promise.

I quit.

It would be so easy, but for the problem of sparks. They’re everywhere.

In a song

In a laugh

In a vacant look from the stranger who is watching you write a blogpost from across a crowded coffee shop

If you are a writer, your pilot light can not be extinguished. It will continue to burn, faint and blue. Waiting.

In a vacant look from the stranger…SPARK!

Damn. I was hoping it would stick this time.

I think I just un-quit.

“There are two kinds of ache in a writer’s life – the ache of writing and the ache of not writing. Pick one and live with it.” – Me

6 thoughts on “I Quit. Again.

  1. Who are you? How do you do this? How do you take a noose and turn it into a tool? How do you take despair, and transform it into hope? And without any rainbows or flowers or any of the bright and good-smelling things we’ve all learned rely on to make reality more palatable?

    More importantly, how do you do this, and such a precious few seem to notice? It’s all very baffling to me.

  2. I can’t tell you who I am. But I can tell you I come from an alternate universe where despair is usually just hope on a bad hair day, and impossibility is the most efficient fuel for the possible. It’s also a place where the worth of a thing isn’t determined by how many people experience it, but specifically who experiences it. Or whom? (I haven’t yet visited a universe where they get that right 100 percent of the time.)

    Okay, fine. I’ll tell you who I am. I’m the doctor. No, not that one. A different one.

    Carry on.

  3. Yes! This!
    I quit writing in 2011 shortly after my marriage of 10+ years ended. No motivation, no ideas, no nothing. Now I’m back and I can’t write fast enough! “A writer writes” and all that, ya, know? Thank you for this, it’s pretty great 🙂

  4. This sums up preciously how my life goes. I start writing, plenty of ideas, work really hard, then it just peters out and stops. Not this time. I am not quitting this time. I am going to keep working, I’m going to keep finding reasons to work. To write. This is going to lead to the life I want.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Funny how easy it is to crave something I hate so much. I love writing, but I hate gazing back at the work that I’ve done.

    I’ve been writing in little spurts. Been writing a lot this year. But I always crave something more. Something to help kick me in the right direction. I think this post helped a lot in that regard.

    I know this is an old post. But I felt the urge to post a comment. Which is unusual, because I never post on the blogs I lurk through.

    Hmm. Anyways, happy writing.

    ~ Fire Fancy

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