the high price of giving up

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen


Have you ever wanted to quit on a dream? I have. I suspect we all have. Dreams are easy to carry when they are fresh and so are we. But they can feel burdensome once the real work begins. Little wonder we want to say “enough”!

Recently, at least two of my writing friends wondered if they should loosen their grip on their dreams and let go. Can you relate? Before you make that decision, may I offer some things to think about?

Will your life be better for giving up–will you feel free to pursue other things–or will you miss having a dream to chase?

Can you live with the wonderings and the what ifs–I wonder what would have happened if I’d stuck with it just one more year . . . sigh.

How will others be influenced by your decision to let go? Now, typically, when I’ve asked myself that question, my mind has automatically gone to the many, many friends who have been my cheerleaders, mentors and shoulders to cry on . . . what would it do to them if I said enough is enough? For certain, they would still love me. They’d understand too. Some might even envy me for taking such a bold step. But mostly, I would feel like I’d let them down. The same goes for writers I’ve tried to encourage along the way. If I quit, would it make them question?

But only last week, I realized I’d be letting down more than my writing friends. My teenage daughter told me, out of the blue, how much she admired me for having a dream and for sticking with it and having perseverance. Wow. I had no idea the ripples of my dream went out that far.

And so, for me anyway, quitting isn’t an option. I’m too far out in the ocean, too deep in the jungle or too far out in space (choose your metaphor!) to turn back now. And I’m glad to know you will be sticking with it with me.

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

24 responses »

  1. I was there a few years ago. Seemed like NOTHING was EVER going to be published. Fortunately, I let it slip to a dear friend that I was considering throwing in the towel. He gave me a serious talking to and let me know in no uncertain terms that my dream was not ready to die. Thank goodness he did. I started getting really serious, which led to meeting the right people at the right time. Keep the dream alive!


  2. I’m at the edge of the cliff Vicky—wondering if perhaps I jump into the abyss of quitting or if I should jump into the thrill of free fall? I have jumped out of a plane before so, believe me, there are moments of terror and moments of unbelievable exhilaration. My hope is that, when winter comes, and I’m stuck indoors, that I’ll put my toes closer to the edge and leap with joyful abandon! Wheeeee!


  3. I needed to read something like this right now, thank you. As of late the same question has crossed my mind, is this just the proverbial golden ring that I keep trying to catch but my reach isn’t long enough? But then I ask myself who would I be if I threw in the towel…my dream is such a large part of me that I know I wouldn’t be the same without it. It’s just not in me to give up, even if the thought has crossed my mind.


  4. This is SO true! Three years ago I was right there. My towel was in “throwing in” position. Then a writer friend sat me down and told me I was not even ALLOWED to quit. That I was doing the work, and when it was supposed to happen, it WOULD happen. (Apparently “it” was not paying attention to MY time schedule.) Within six months: BAM! Four books under contract.
    Everyone is on their own journey. And guess what! Publication is not the end of that journey, even though it seems like it would be. There are more goals after that. So enjoy just being on the journey (*spoiler alert!* THE JOURNEY is the goal!), put in the work, help others who are also on the journey, and when it’s supposed to happen, it will.


  5. Thank you for expressing what many of us have been thinking at various times. I had the same realization as you about my daughter – she’s old enough now to know that I’ve been working on this dream, and I need to show her it’s possible.


  6. Awesome how supportive your daughter is. I can relate to both sides of this. I do think like your friends sometimes. But I keep coming back to my writing just for the enjoyment of it. Now if I could have time to do it.


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