December 05, 2023

Should You Keep Writing or Stop?


Reasons Why You Should Keep Writing:

- Writing is your purpose. You don’t know what you’d do if you weren’t writing, it’s the only thing you want to do, and you hate not being able to write every day, or at least a few times a week.

- Writing is your passion. It makes you happy, it’s your main creative outlet, or your favorite hobby.

- You enjoy it. You love crafting characters, imagining worlds, and concocting stories.

- The only way you can express yourself is through writing. You use it to heal from your past, to understand your emotions, and to share parts of yourself otherwise hidden or kept secret.

- Writing is your escape. You use it to get out of your head, away from your struggles, and to leave your life temporarily.

- You’ve been writing for years—maybe ever since you were a child—and you sincerely feel that writing is in your blood. In other words, it’s who you are.

- You have stories inside you begging to be written and that you want to write.

- There are characters in your head that you love and can’t wait to write about.

- You have aspirations of being published, and you don’t want to give up on that dream.

- In your low moments, you say you want to quit, but you simply can’t. You have writing bones, muscles, blood, tears, and spit. You can’t stop being who and what you are, just as you can’t stop being human.

You may be able to come up with other reasons to keep writing. All of them are valid.

Now, I don’t like telling someone not to write, but…

Reasons Why You Should Stop Writing:

- Writing makes you utterly miserable. If you have never enjoyed it, then, yeah, you shouldn’t be doing it. Sure, writing is difficult at times, but misery is not a part of the creative process. You have to enjoy it to some extent. Otherwise, why are you writing? If it’s truly your passion, it would not make you miserable.

- You’re not serious about writing. You started writing because you had an idea you thought would be a good book and you saw other people writing and publishing and thought “How hard could it be?” but you never had the desire to write before then. People in the industry call these individuals “wannabe writers.” Usually, when they hit their first roadblock in writing that story, they don’t know what to do and give up because the drive and love is not there.

(Don’t mistake this for someone who writes leisurely, as a hobby, for fun, or without aspirations to publish. All of that is fine and acceptable. If this is you, keep writing! And if you work hard on developing your skills and fall in love with storytelling [when you hadn’t considered writing before getting an idea for a story], this doesn’t apply to you, either. You are a surprise writer, keep writing!)

- You don’t want to learn to write well or put in the effort necessary to write a good book and be a legit writer, because it’s too hard, but you view publishing as a “get rich fast” scheme, so you use unethical and illegal tactics to publish your book and get sales and reviews on Amazon. If this is what you want to do or are currently doing, this is not being a writer, this is being a scammer.

This list is short because I believe anything else that may pop up can be defeated over time, if you have the desire to defeat them, which I believe you do.

Problems with plot and character can be tackled.

Revising/editing issues can be fixed.

Writer’s block can be knocked down.

Depression, no matter how difficult, can be squashed.

Writer’s burnout can be reversed.

When you go through any one of these hardships, or any not mentioned here, and you still have writing passion burning deep inside you (as I did and I bet you do, too), even if you can’t access that passion to actually write, don’t give up on being a writer. Don’t give up on your stories or your characters. They will be there when you’re better—mind, body, and soul.

Six Months Left to Live

I once read a blog post that asked fellow writers one of those “if you had six months left to live” questions. The blogger wanted to know if other writers would spend their last six months of life feverishly writing to finish their books. They said they wouldn’t because it’s not their top priority, and others commented saying no, that they’d spend time with their family and having fun, but for me, I would keep writing because it’s a part of me. I fear dying with a bunch of stories left unwritten. I honestly want to bring them to life before my life ends. If I were to finish the book I am currently working on, knowing I have a time limit like this, I would instruct a loved one to publish it for me. I would also self-publish my "Secret Book Baby Series," since it’s my biggest dream to see those books in print. It’s not my plan to self-publish those now, but in that scenario I would.

Writing brings me joy, and we should do the things that bring us joy in this situation. And, yes, I would still spend time with my loved ones. Who wouldn’t? You can write as much as you want and also find moments to cherish time with the people you love the most. I would write and live each day to the fullest my way.

I don’t believe this is a reason to stop writing, but this is one that is completely up to the writer.

No one should tell someone what to do with their life or the time they have left. It’s a personal decision only the individual has the right to answer for themselves. Not wanting to write if you know you have six months left to live doesn’t make you any less of a writer, or me any more of a writer because I would. If you ever find yourself in this situation—and I pray you don’t—and you find yourself wanting to write during those six months, especially if at this moment you say you wouldn’t, do it. Write. Write a short story. Write a chapter in your book. Write a children’s book. Write poetry. Writing may be what you need to cope while actually going through this unthinkable situation.

Losing the Love

If you lose the love of writing (if for some reason it no longer makes you happy) and you stop writing, that doesn’t necessarily mean you lost the love of writing forever. That’s important to know and understand. I agree that it could be best for you to put your book aside and hit the pause on writing. That pause button may last years, but one day, you may get an idea for a story that fills you with excitement like never before and that love you once had could bloom again. When that happens, write. Capture that spark and write with all the love you have inside you.


  1. The world can defeat people even when it shouldn't. Of course one should write if one wants to write. Sometimes, though, we listen to those voices outside of us that tell us we are lesser than. I think that's one of life's lessons to us--not to listen to those outside voices.

  2. I think I'm writing as a hobby, and I'm struggling to tell myself that's okay. Thanks for saying it is. I haven't been writing regularly for awhile and know I need to get back into it again because I enjoy it. But I also think about quitting sometimes.

  3. Well, every time I think I'm not going to write anymore, I seem to end up writing more, so I think that means I'm just going to keep doing. Perhaps not particularly fast or well, but maybe I'll keep plodding along anyway.

  4. A well thought out essay. Thanks.

  5. I like those lists. I nodded agreement at almost all those reasons to keep writing--as in, those are my reasons (I have decided I no longer care about being traditionally published, though I like selling short stories to competitive markets). I guess if I stopped getting any responses to my books I might feel differently, but maybe not--the creation of them is my joy.

  6. I'm definitely one who keeps writing because it makes me happy.

    I think I'd panic if I only had 6 months left. It's taken me decades to get the two books I have. I don't think I could finish the remaining 3 books in the series plus the companion novel in only 6 months. :'(

  7. Hi Chrys - I don't think a writer could easily give up - it certainly wouldn't last long. I only blog - but can't even give that up for long ... even if I'm moving! Writing stimulates us - giving us thoughts and new ideas ... essential to live - cheers Hilary