Q is for Quitting

Q is for Quitting

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with writing most of my life and I have explored the process of quitting several (many) times. It’s curious to note the etymology of the word http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=quit in that it encompasses meanings that are deep within the word, but the origin that touches me most is that it comes from quietus (Latin quietus “free” (in Medieval Latin “free from war, debts, etc.”), also “calm, resting” ) from which we also derive our word quiet.

In my struggles, on many occasions, people have said, “Oh just take a break. Write for fun! Give the whole publishing side a rest. Don’t worry about it.” It’s well-meaning advice, but it won’t do. I cannot write for fun, because writing is not fun for me. It’s many things, but it’s very seldom fun. The whole shebang has been tied up with a wider picture since almost before I could read and though I have tried, I cannot disentangle it.

At the weekend, a friend told me a very interesting fact about tortoises that I had not known. Their shell is part of their skeleton, linked to their spine. You cannot remove a tortoise from its shell without killing it. http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=17+1797&aid=2700 . It’s the perfect analogy. Writing is my shell. It is not an outfit I can change at whim, or at need. It is part of me, grown from my core being from my inception. I cannot quit being a writer, or I will die. Yet the whole mess of the world of books is destroying me too.

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4 thoughts on “Q is for Quitting

  1. This is an interesting fact – and, yes, writing is my shell, part of my bodily and moral spine, too. When we assume this is so with all writers, those forbidden to write for political reasons are actually killed …

  2. Really didn’t know that about “quit”:: how very interesting. So, saying you’re not a quitter actually means you’re a stresshead…. because you don’t do calm, quiet, rest.

    Pause for thought. x

  3. Snap and ditto and all that. My problem is that writing ( and sometimes speaking) is how I discover what I think. I do not know until the words reflect me. So without shaping words I do not exist to register life in any other dimension. The flat earth society probably consists of writers who HAVE quit!

  4. Yes: writing is not fun. Nor done for fun. Nor done by following ‘writing prompts’ or what the market is at any given time, wanting. That is how it is for me, which may be different for you, but not that different. It is work, it is not fun. And it says serious, heartfelt, things, or it is not done! We are a strange subset – or maybe we are the real thing – whatever, good to meet up with those for whom writing is not a hobby, diversion, piece of cake, or jolly fun! Thank you! Oh,and of course, for us, writing is communication. So the idea of not bothering to at least attempt to publish is also out …

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