The nuclear option

It seems that saying "Screw it, I'm done with this writing thing" is part of the usual drama and angst that many writers go through. This is usually followed at some point by a return to the page and the world of words.

But under what circumstances would you actually make it stick?

An addict desperate to get clean will gather up all the drugs and flush them down the toilet, gather up all the paraphernalia and throw it into a dumpster, pack a bag and leave town to get away from the peer group of users, dealers, pimps and prostitutes that encircle a life of addiction. Sometimes, they get clean; other times, they only recreate their former life in a new place.

I've heard of would-be writers admitting defeat and taking steps to burn the bridges behind them. Take down the blog, recycle the notebooks, delete the files from the hard drive, pull the books from Amazon, cancel the accounts on twitter and goodreads.

Get clear. Get clean.

What would make you do it?

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Help keep the words flowing.


  1. If my health declined to the point where I had a very short period to live in, I'd likely contact certain people to take over projects for me and then give up most writing. I might still do some short stuff, but it'd be an easy way to get me to give up on all those lofty goals. Got to enjoy my final months and whatnot.

    I don't foresee many other cases, though. If every novel I write is rejected by big publishers, sniffed at by prestige small presses, and doesn't break three digits on self-pub e-stores, I can still write short stories for markets and return to daily writing on my blog. I have ideas that I know at least a few people enjoy. I've eaten dozens and dozens of rejections and they're far from the worst stuff in my life. Then again, perhaps learning to walk again and repeatedly being bedridden by this syndrome has toughened me up a little.

    1. Thanks, John. Issac Asimov said something like if he knew he had only days to live, he'd write faster.

    2. Yeah, Asimov was more driven than I am. I'd want to invest more of the time in friends and family.

  2. What if you lost your memory and forgot you were a writer?

    1. Hard to say. We're all products of our life experiences, aren't we? I've always written, both for myself and for public consumption. Must be millions of words by now. If I forgot that I'd ever written anything, would I stumble onto writing and embrace it?

      There's an episode of Star Trek where everyone loses their memories. With no information on which job they did on board, they follow their instincts. Data ends up as a bartender. Maybe I would as well.

  3. I'm pretty sure I'm a writer, but, at heart, I'm a storyteller.

    Someone once said of/to me, "Kevin, everything with you is a story." (As an aside, I'm pretty sure this wasn't intended as a compliment.)

    But it is true. So, were I not to write, and I can't really come up with a scenario where I'd hang up the writing entirely (possibly Icy's could work and I simply forget,) even were I not to write, the storyteller would still be there. And he'd tell stories. It's almost how I interact with the world.

    For good or ill.

  4. I can't imagine not wanting to write (sorry if this comes through twice. Blogger doesn't like me.) Even now, when I'm going through a tough time personally, I have ideas and I'm writing even though nothing is hitting the paper. Being creative is part of who I am. I do wonder how I would react to not knowing who I was ... I'm not sure that would cause me not to write, but it might change what I do write ...

  5. I've often felt like packing it in but now somewhat disillusioned with being published I have returned to just writing flash stories - if I was to give up completely forever I probably would take down my writing blog just as I did my tarot reading blog..... but that's me, a clean break person.


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