Friday, September 3, 2010

The When to Give up in Writing

Ha! You thought I was going to tell you to quit writing, right? No! I would never be so presumptuous to tell someone to stop following their dreams. That’s not my place. Ever. No, really what I was thinking in the shower (I get all my best ideas in the shower) was what I’ve had to give up to take writing seriously.

There are the obvious things like:

~ Writing when I could be sleeping the same time the rest of the world is.
~ Trading in my biology PhD so I could write those fiction stories that wouldn’t let me be.
~ Still working and earning that unnecessary but ever-so-helpful second income.
~ Getting to bed at a decent hour, when I’m tired the first time.
~ Watching TV, actually enjoying the unproductive mindlessness of the activity.
~ Did I list sleep yet as some thing I miss?!

But really, I’m thinking of other things—every day things—that I give up so I can write:

~ A house as clean as I would like it to be.
~ Exercising enough to be that toned 125 lbs again.
~ Daily/weekly playgroups where I sit and visit with moms while our kids play without thinking how I should be writing rather than chatting away.
~ Always having permanent shadows under my eyes because often the stories at night won’t let me be.

Then I thought of all the things I get out of writing and the list far, far exceeded these lists combined. Writing makes me happy and in return I’m a better person (especially a mother!) when I can write. It invigorates me more than anything else, even when the writing becomes frustrating. I’m creating something only I can create. Only I can tell the stories in me. Either I have chosen a writing life or it has chosen me. Which ever way it is, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Q4U: What things have you had to give up for writing (or another passion, if you’re not a writer)? What rewards have come from writing or following that passion?


  1. I've thought about "giving up" recently...then I got a comment, an email, and a vote of confidence of from an unexpected friend. It made me think about why I wanted to write in the first place. When I started it was because I loved teaching reading and writing to CHILDREN.

    What have I given up? A full time paying job...scrapbooking...a clean house...a housekeeper... sleep, for sure...a sense of fashion (that might be because I only go to the gym and stay at home and write?)

    What have I gained? A sense of pleasure...

    Great post! Have a safe weekend!

  2. I gave up being normal to try and be a story writer! LOL!!!

    I guess what I still find hard to live with are the incredible lows with rejections and failures.

    Similarly the incredible but very short lived highs with slivers of success - because it never seems enough and I want more!

    I love that you get your best ideas while in the shower - I get mine when I'm concentrating on something manual - like baking or gardening and then ideas will sort of pop up.

    Have a lovely day!

    take care


  3. Great post!!! You pretty much said it all.

  4. Sleep and spare time for sure. I don't ever 'watch' tv any more - although I do listen to it with half a brain while I'm blogging and less so when I'm writing.

    But you're right - there are so many positives as well :)

  5. A cleaner house is high on my list!!
    Also the part where I used to not drive people nuts talking about it:)

  6. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I have a friend who lets everything come before he writing. It makes me sad.

    I'd spend more time with my children, cook gourmet meals all the time, and have a cleaner house. And read even more.

    Cooking is a passion of mine, but the more complicated the recipe, the less time to write.

  7. What have I had to give up? I thought I was loopy before, but now, when people ask me about what I do, their blank stare response and polite nod confirm that I indeed have no hope of ever being normal. ;) Haha!

  8. I've definitely given up some sleep and TV (I still watch but only select shows). All worth it.
    My house wasn't as clean but I have extra time on my hands now that school has started so my house is cleaner than it has ever been (I'm not the greatest housekeeper, so it's still not sparkling...)

  9. Happy weekend!

    Oh. I've had to give up so much for writing. Financial security - and with that, buying new clothes, shoes, coffee... and the list goes on!

    But it's worth it. It SO is.

  10. I've given up having money for extras or going places. But that's okay because I go places in my mind and have a great feeling of satisfaction when someone says they enjoyed something I wrote. For now, that's gold.

  11. Well, my house is definitely not spotless and the bags are getting more permanent. But I've thought about it for too long to stop trying now. It's such an amazing creative venture. I love making up stories far more than cleaning the toilet anyway :)

  12. I've had to give up reading time; I don't read as often as I used to. But it's entirely worth it when I get to write my own stories, and the hope that they can one day impact someone else keeps me going.

  13. I agree with the reading time! The more I write, the less time I have to read. That's why I love school and more reading time!

    Although I am quite glad to be back at it, because the everyday connection with kids is THE BEST.

    (I think I also give up any knowledge about anything that is going on in the world when I am writing.)


  14. I'm so glad I met you through KarenG's BBQ. Your blog looks like it's filled with wonderful information. (It's also stunning; I love the blue.) And I'm so interested in the books you've written and the one you're writing. It's late, I'm "winded" from a long day, but I'll be back to read more and get to know you better. Thanks for commenting on my blog, which is what brought me here!

  15. Thank you for the comment! :) And I definitely agree with you...writing is so worth all the things we have to give up. I've noticed that I feel so much happier and lighter when I have had a productive writing day.

    Thanks again for stopping by my blog, and have an excellent day!

  16. Sleeping and reading time and my house is messier than it should be - nothing terribly original.

  17. Great lists, Jackee. I've given up many of the things you have. And I agree that I've gained much more than I've given up. Blessings...

  18. Nice post. My house isn't as clean as I used to keep it, but it's clean enough. I chat less, watch less TV, etc., but I'm living a full life with family and friends to keep me balanced, so I'm totally okay with that. Since there's only so much time in a day, we do sacrifice some things, but I agree with you: it's so worth it. :)