Quitting Is For Quitters

via Unsplash
via Unsplash

I’ve been having that “maybe I should quit writing” talk with myself again. It’s an internal monologue. I’m lying awake in bed at 3am thinking You know what? I gave it my best shot. It’s been five years. FIVE. And I’m not seeing any major results. So maybe it’s time to go back to school for something I can physically handle and give up this ghost.

I’m supposed to be creating a takeover schedule for tonight or at least putting together a Crockpot full of sauce, but all I can think about is how tired I am. How overwhelmed I feel. We’re behind on all of our bills. I’ve racked up over $2,000 in credit card debt to afford covers and advertising and swag. And while part of this journey has been a blessing in disguise, giving me something to focus on while tackling my health issues, I have to wonder if maybe I’m just kidding myself.

The last two months have been amazing. I was cut loose from my publisher, who in fact did not help advance my career. All throughout May and June, I surged forward. I put together a new business plan for recouping from my publisher tanking. I set a release date for a new book and wrote up an eight-page marketing plan for it. And now, a little more than a month away, I find myself frustrated by my finances. I can’t afford the last piece, the cover design I need. The book is otherwise done, but I’ll probably have to postpone its release. I don’t know when to even reschedule.

And that kind of makes me feel like a failure.

There’s nothing glamorous about this job—not in a financial sense of the word, anyway. It’s grueling, hard work. I’m not in it for the paycheck, though; I do it because I love it. I also do it because I have a debilitating illness that prevents me from working a normal job for more than two months.

I’ve been writing and submitting articles like crazy to various magazines. Usually I get crickets, which means “Sorry, we’re not publishing it,” and just re-submit elsewhere. This morning I got a brutal rejection letter that basically said “Your article sucks.”

Honestly, that fucking stings.

I’ve received rough 1- and 3-star reviews on my fiction, but that skin has long since thickened. Usually I ignore them or even laugh them off. This rejection caught me completely off guard. It’s sort of the last nail in the coffin.

Maybe I should just walk away.

But the truth is, I’m always on the run. Like the Lenny Kravitz song. When things get hard and I lose self-confidence, I’m out. Nine times out of ten, I don’t follow through on things because I get nervous and tell myself, “You know, never mind. This is not a good idea and you aren’t capable of carrying it out anyway.”

I’m brutally hard on myself.

A lot of that has to do with being bullied throughout elementary and middle school. Some of it has to do with being a sensitive kid who certain family members weren’t exactly gentle with.

And yet in the last five years, I kept coming back. Maybe it’s stupidity or insanity. But there’s a rumbling fire inside of me that argues with the internal “I should quit” monologue. I love writing. Actually, I fucking love writing. It’s the only language I really speak. Through writing, I am really, truly me.

Which is why it’s so devastatingly heartbreaking when I start to think I should quit. Quitting writing is like permanently muting myself.

I can’t bring myself to walk away from the page.

So I dry my tears and blow my nose and, while I calm down, consider another option. A middle way. I don’t have to quit—but I also don’t have to beat my head against a deadline that I set for myself. I’m the boss, after all.

Though I absolutely cannot wait to share What Happens On Tour with the world, I don’t want to just toss it out there with a DIY cover just for the sake of being on time. So I’ll wait. Which is incredibly hard to do, considering how impatient I am. Just ask my husband.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to release this book, but I do know that when I do, it’ll be right, not rushed. Besides, the summer is a terrible time to release a new book anyway.

Published by

Elizabeth Barone

Elizabeth Barone is an American novelist who writes contemporary romance and suspense starring strong belles who chose a different path. Her debut novel Sade on the Wall was a quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. She is the author of the South of Forever series and several other books. When not writing, Elizabeth is very busy getting her latest fix of Yankee Candle, spicy Doritos chips, or whatever TV show she’s currently binging. Elizabeth lives in northwestern Connecticut with her husband, a feisty little cat, and too many books.

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