How To Know Its Time To Quit Writing

By on May 6, 2016
How To Know Its Time To Quit Writing - Writer's

The hard truth of the matter is - not everyone is cut out to be a writer.

Now far be it from me to squash anyone’s hopes and dreams, but whether you have got what it takes to be a writer or not, actually being a successful one is not solely linked to how talented you are. There are, in fact, thousands of people all over the world who at one point or another have thought 'Let’s give this writing malarky a try', only to realise that, actually, it is not for them after all.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

Giving up on your dreams is seriously underrated. We find it hard to believe that the person that says ‘yeah I really wanted to do so and so but then I gave up and, you know what? Actually I am really happy.’

We eye them suspiciously, treat them with mistrust. How can anyone really be happy if they are not doing what they always wanted to do?

The truth is that sometimes it is OK to say enough is enough, and doing so can lead to a much happier and healthier life. It’s great to be determined, it’s great to work hard at your goals, but endless hours of frustration, rejection, self-loathing, self-pity, and stress isn’t much fun - and if that is all you are getting out of writing then surely there has to be a point when you ask yourself, can it really be worth it?

Remarkable accomplishments of course do take place, and we’ve heard many rags to riches stories, or of people finding success in writing later on in life. But these are far from the norm. If your dream of being a writer involves being a famous one then you have to be willing to accept that this might not happen - it might, but realistically only a fraction of writers land a big publishing deal that sets them on the path to fame and fortune - most barely get a look in.

If you have invested more time and money than you care to remember in your craft, perhaps it is time to reevaluate what you are doing.

Here are some signs that now is the time to give up writing:

You don’t find any joy in it anymore - when you sit down to write it feels like a struggle,  you have no motivation, and even when you do manage to get words out, you don’t get that rush of satisfaction like you used to.

You aren’t really making any effort. You used to be constantly thinking about writing, making notes, reading, researching and pitching your ideas. Now that all seems a bit pointless.

You realise that you have other goals which are far more important. Writing used to be all you cared about, and all your drive, passion and energy was taken up by making that happen. Now however, your goals have shifted, your priorities are different, your life has moved on.

You resent the time you have to spend doing it.

You are so sick of being rejected it has put you off sending your manuscripts to publishers or agents anymore.

If the above sounds like you, then perhaps it is time to change the way you look at writing, you might just need a different perspective, or to shift your writing goals.

But if you do decide that it’s time to give up writing altogether then make sure you are at peace with that. It’s not giving up on your dreams, it’s simply having different ones to follow.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

About Ty Cohen


  1. Marvin Greenberg

    May 11, 2016 at 10:56 am

    This will be a test of my discipline to set aside the time to write & perhaps I will find that I cannot be what I want to be (imagined).

  2. Anthony Cabrera

    February 22, 2017 at 10:38 am

    I love this article. I look at it often. I may never be a huge sucess, may never quit my regular job. But I feel best when am writing, jotting down notes, reading, etc… Yesterday my first self published novel came out! Couldn’t be more excited

  3. Lady Adellandra Dratianos

    February 22, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    I’ve been writing since I was a young child. Must be cut out to be a writer. Yipee!

  4. Jeff Mauser

    October 14, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    If I would have read this 20 years ago I might have given up. It has taken me that long to learn how to research properly; how to collect notes from the world around me & put the results down on paper (computer screen). Will I ever be famous & be able to make a living? Don’t know, don’t care. I just know that when I’m writing I’m happy & I know I wouldn’t be enjoying life as much as I am without it.

  5. David M Maswary

    October 15, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    The only point I disagree with is that other things become priorities and you begin to think about other things. There is no passion, obsession or human endeavor in which life doesn’t get in the way and start to impose it’s demands.

    No matter if the obsession is writing or origami, life demands time for many things. Maturity is when you can nurture your obsession and polish it even when life is getting in the way and you can still find the spark.

    I’m a writer.

    I’ve never been concerned with being a famou writer either, so long as I have lots of readers and fans who cares what the media is talking about. They’re all amnesiacs waiting for the news cycle to spin one more time anyhow

  6. Alex

    June 15, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for being honest enough to share this side of writing. Writers conferences and blogs and workshops won’t usually share things like this. There is a time to quit, enjoy the simple things in life, and just focus on being present. Dreams are good and drive us forward, but hang on too tightly and we may lose sight of the true blessings all around us.

  7. Antoinette

    June 29, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Ah boy! Someone said it! A relief my thoughts expressed by that other person… I am laughing and saying “yeah I know that feeling!” My private joke. It is a bitter sweet moment like a refreshing glass of mauby. When I have finished drinking it I sigh now I am refreshed. Ahh but I so still want to write! Got to write. I cannot imagine life without writing and scribbling ideas of that poem or that short story character. I take a break from time to time but for those, who like me, who carry writing in our DNA the only decision is to share what we write or just write never mind the sharing. A question akin to what is the point of loving without being loved in return and realising that come what may, loving is the point not the “being loved in return”. Titillating!!! I am writing till the day I die! There is always a story to tell and a point to reflect on. A writer cannot resist telling and reflecting.

    Just sharing that yes we can quit putting in serious effort but writing calls you and can tease you until you hit the keyboard again.

  8. Wendy Owen

    August 18, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    I’m actually in the opposite position. I’m a self-published author who’s been moderately successful. My books have been earning royalties since 2013, but I’ve decided to quit. Why? One simple reason, marketing.
    You either love marketing or you hate it. I’m one of the latter crowd and unfortunately, marketing a book is a necessity these days.
    However I’m still writing, just not publishing. I’m writing for other people and I love it. I’ve taken one of your courses and the work has started coming in. It’s such a relief to hand over a project and get paid for it. No more worrying about royalty reports or Amazon algorithm changes. I’ve been set free!

    • Bethany Cadman

      September 11, 2019 at 4:43 am

      Thanks for your comments Wendy. Marketing can be very tough!

  9. Jeff Flaig

    August 19, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    I think everyone but me should give up writing..
    I can’t stop because I like my own stories. I like where they take me.
    If no one else will read them, I will.

    Also,if I am the only writer, then I will be the only one to satisfy your reading addiction.
    That will either cure your addiction, if you don’t like my stories, or it will feed it and make it worse. I don’t care either way.

    People pay to overcome addictions, right?

  10. Mike Gutowski

    August 19, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    created story notes and story outlines for years while working many other jobs to support me and family. before i started a family, sent out submissions and rejected several times. later in my work life, the same result. now retired, 110 percent of my time is dedicated to my lifelong dream. self-published 2 novels. loving every minute of it. the only disappointment is i don’t have 25 more years to go, but i will get out there as much of my craft as possible.

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