For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to write books.
As I watched my mother tap out her ideas on her gray Smith-Corona typewriter, I thought being a writer was the most fascinating thing a person could do. Now more than forty years later, I still believe it's true. Yet I long to quit all the time.
I want to quit because good writing requires something. It's not simply words on a page, but it's part of your heart on paper that you've nurtured, coaxed, trimmed, pressed, and loved into being. On a recent string of days where I felt like I didn't have anything good to say, I decided to quit a longtime book idea I'd been working on for more than a year. In truth, it's much easier to quit on something than to keep agonizing through it on a day-to-day basis.
On that particular "quitting my book" day, I decided to go to a yoga class and forget about my book that would never be. Here's what happened next:
The yoga instructor gave us all the usual words of encouragement, with one addition. She said, "Before we begin, I wanted to share that the class music playlist is called, 'Maybe You Want to Write a Book.' I created it as a theme to remind you that dreams of the heart are still worth having. Use today as your chance to be reminded of their goodness and to keep going."
I wish I was making that up, but I'm not. I decided that day was not the quitting day, but instead the keep going day.
At the place I work out, the fitness trainers encourage us to do one rep more when we want to quit. Apparently that is where the growth happens, in that single rep more. They say, "don't think about it, just do one more rep. Then take a quick shake out and get right back to it." Perhaps the best wisdom for life can be found in the Bible and fitness classes.
Since then, I've decided that when I feel like quitting anything, I'll give it a bit more. Whether that's five minutes or 5 days or whatever I want. But when the quitting thoughts come, my encouragement is to do what the fitness people say - take a deep breath and keep going in the smallest way you can.
Wherever you are at with that dream inside of you -- whether like me you feel like quitting or you are cruising - keep going. If you feel like today's quitting day, remember my trainer's tip -- do one bit more, shake out your tiredness, and then get right back to it.
We all have to do stuff with our time. I'd much rather waste my time pursuing a long-held dream, no matter how awkwardly. In truth, if I wasn't pursuing writing in my messy, undisciplined, and amateur way, I'd probably be watching TV or scrolling on social media. I might as well do something authentic and get after my dreams.
What about you? Where do you want to quit?
Instead of focusing on how hard it is, can you do one bit more, take a rest, then get right back to it? You were made to honor the dreams inside of you, no matter how ridiculous, outlandish or awkward.