Reasons Not to Quit

Agent Rachelle Gardner posed the question “As a writer or a publishing profesional (sic), how do YOU keep yourself motivated when you feel like quitting?”

I’d like to split the answer into two persona – myself as a writer and myself as a teacher of writing.

Myself as a writer:

1. I can’t imagine not calling myself a writer.  It’s such a part of my self identity that I’ll continue to write in order to keep that title.  It’s just what I do.

2. I read.  A lot.  Reading motivates me to write something better, if it’s a bad novel.  If it’s good, it gives me a level to aspire to.  I rarely think, “I could never write like that.”  I think, “I want to write like that.”

3. I think about the alternatives.  Do I really want to have a regular 9-5 job?  I love being at home, having the freedom to move around my own space.  I like being able to stay in pajamas.

Myself as a teacher of writing:

1. Reading the papers of my students motivates me more than anything else.  If you could read through a sample of some of the writing I come across on a daily basis, you would realize how important it truly is to focus on writing in schools.  These teenagers have the writing capacity of someone half their age.  It’s heartbreaking.

2. I fit right in the education environment.  I like learning and talking about learning.  I feel enriched by an environment that never stops thinking.  Some people hate every minute they have to spend in a classroom, but I thrive.  I’m not saying I was always the best student; studying, in particular, was not my thing – writing suited my personality much more.

3. Not having a 9-5 job.  Even if I taught full time, I’d still have much more freedom than having to stay in one place for a long period.  I want to be able to keep my future children out of daycare as much as possible, and teaching would certainly help with that ideal.


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