I’ve been caught up in writing for the past couple of weeks. Not here (obviously), but on my novel. I wrote 27,000 words in about 10 days.
And then I quit.
Even though I was writing fast and furious, I kept thinking: this isn’t the story I want to tell. This isn’t the TYPE of story I want to tell. These aren’t the aspects of storytelling that I enjoy, that I’m drawn to.
But I don’t know. Did I quit? Did I just get scared? Should I have pushed through?
I didn’t quit writing altogether, oh no. I started a new story. A smaller one, a more personal one, one that had a beating heart I could see and feel. The other story was too big, too unwieldy.
Maybe the grass is just always greener? I have started many stories, and always around 10-15000 words I give up. I think it’s the wrong story. The idea, that seemed so perfect in my head, has become damaged goods. It’s been sullied by my clumsy hand, by my excessively bleeding heart, by my bad metaphors. It’s always around that time that something new will come to me. Suddenly I’ll have another idea, one that’s still and bright and shiny and fresh and undamaged.
I don’t know, maybe that’s a sign that I’m quitting out of fear. Maybe it means I should push through to the other side, see where I end up.
But then I think about Shaun. I used to be what you would call ‘commitment-phobic.’ I got to my mid (cough, late) twenties without ever having a serious relationship. As soon as a guy became interested in me, I panicked. I bailed. The only relationships I was interested in pursuing were with boys who weren’t interested in being pursued, or at least not by me.
And I analyzed this to death. I’m afraid of commitment, I concluded. I’m afraid of relationships, of opening myself up to people, of what that would mean.
And then I met Shaun. And there was no hesitation. None. Suddenly, everything I wanted was right there in front of me and I wasn’t afraid, not even a little. I leapt, and I never looked back.
So then I think maybe the fear is good. Or it isn't even fear at all, just the innate knowledge that those other things weren’t right for me. Those people weren’t right for me. My gut was telling me to move along, and I misread it as fear
Maybe it’s the same with stories as with people. Maybe, if you know yourself well enough, it’s okay to quit anything you want.
I've been quitting a lot of things, lately, since I realized that. I've unsubscribed to so many blogs I used to read. Last week I got part way through a book and decided I wouldn't finish it. (There have been plenty of books I've started and not finished in my life, but I always tell myself I'll come back to them and finish them eventually. This time I just said, "I don't like this book and it isn't worth my time to finish it." How freeing.) I'll keep writing my story, for as long as it feels like the right thing to do, and when it stops, I'll reevaluate..
Quitting isn't a bad word. Quitting can mean freeing yourself from things that aren't right for you. Quitting can mean coming closer to the person you were actually supposed to be, all along.