Monday, February 11, 2008

The Power of Quitting

It is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich." - Henry Ward Beecher

You don't have to go far to run into a plattitude about the power of NOT quitting. And while I agree there are many times when you feel like giving up that you shouldn't. However...there are times when quitting is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself. I say to you that sometimes failure is an option. And a good one. Stay with me now.

1. When the inner critic cripples you - quit listening. Your inner critic is always going to fight your success. It's human nature. Apply your bad listening skills here and move on.

2. When you keep dating/marrying Mr. Okay For Right Now - quit settling. If the man's not worth marrying, then he's not worth one Friday night.
3. When you've edited the book 1400 times - just stop already, would you? You've got to know when to quit editing and when to start a new project. My opinion is that some people edit endlessly out of fear - fear of submitting and getting rejected. This is what writers do. We write, submit and get rejected. Sometimes we even sell. But you can't sell until you quit.

4. Smoking - Just quit already, will you? You know it's bad for you, you know it's making you look like an old hag, you know nobody wants to kiss an ashtray. Just man up and quit.

5. Perpetual whining - For the sake of your remaining friends, keep your whining over the latest rejection, bad review, poor sales figures to a two-day maximum. If your friends are writers, they understood you perfectly well after the first five minutes. If your friends aren't writers, they're going to have a hard time supporting your dreams when you don't even seem to like them yourself. Thicken that skin and quit whining after a reasonable amount of time.
Some other things to quit: feeling sorry for yourself, filling your life with negativity, that job/relationship that doesn't bring you happiness, saying yes to every request for a piece of your time.

Think you can't quit? Try this: next time you have an itch, refuse to scratch it. Practice quitting. If you can do that small thing, you can tackle the next big thing. So...what will you be quitting?


  1. Very interesting topic. What should I quit? Checking my email? As if. Cream scones? Not. Soup? Bite your tongue!

    I know. I'll quit counting the hours until the exclusive is over.Especially since I have about 322 hours to go. Darn! I did it again!;-)

  2. I love this post Kristen. Perfect things to quit. Right now I'm quitting diet coke, man it's tough. I also recently quit a manuscript that wasn't working and I'm surprisingly ok with that.

  3. I know what I will quit! I will quit constantly how people would say, think of me or think about me. I will just do my thing without trying to get another person's approval in order to become likeable and popular.