Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Sometimes Giving Up is the Right Thing To Do IWSG Nov 2016

Yeah, interesting story about my post title. Over the course of the last month I threw in the towel. Not permanently, but I decided it was time to choose my family over my writing dreams. Here's how that happened, followed by surprises for me.

I was sitting in the women's class at church on the second Sunday of October listening to a lesson on commitment. The words and questions the teacher asked have already faded from my memory. However, the discussion I had with myself during that hour is still very clear. I asked myself what I was truly committed to. What was I willing to live and die for? I took a deep look inside and didn't like what I found.

I wasn't committed to my writing. There hasn't been much of it for a long time in spite of the fact I still crave the release of moving the stories crowding my brain to the page. I can't say I'm committed if I've been trying so hard to forget my need to write in favor of something else--my family.

I wasn't 100% committed to my family either though. Over the last few years I've grown to resent them for not understanding the need to chase my dreams, for requiring so much of my attention. In fact, a lot of the soul sucking death pains I feel connected to substitute teaching are simply because my family needs me to do it. For 17 years I was a stay at home mom. I was in charge of my daily schedule and able to take care of my home and family and still find the time to write. My world wasn't perfect, but I felt happy and looked forward to finding a way to make it all work. Adding a "real" job smashed all that to smithereens.

Sitting in that room, fighting tears, I realized I wasn't committed to anything really. Not even myself. I finally understood that was probably the part of me that I was missing. I used to feel committed to lots of things. So, I made a decision. Life is hard right now. It's a bit on the crazy side, actually, so I decided to commit myself to just one thing. My family.

I would take all the jobs that came my way and stop avoiding the call center calls. I would do it gladly knowing I was helping my family in a way that they needed me to. Even if it meant not going to the writer's retreat. Even if it meant putting away the writer side of myself.

Well, I did that and the strangest thing happened. That next week I didn't get any calls, but I still missed the retreat. Instead, I stayed home and cleaned my house. Something that I haven't done in months! It felt good. My husband noticed and it helped him feel better about things. We felt like we were in this together again. I liked that feeling a lot. It was good, but even better things were in store.

The next week I worked a couple of days at the high school. I took my computer with me. Just in case. And you know what? The last two weeks of the month I've been able to write a little. I don't force it, but it's like all the weight has lifted and I can write for me again.

Here's the weirdest, and maybe coolest thing. Last Friday I was on one of my apps and got into a conversation with someone who loves dragons. I wasn't trying to sell books, but they came up and that person bought 3 of mine! Monday, they contacted me and we had a fun discussion.

Who knew that letting go was exactly what I needed?

So, if you are stuck, ask yourself if it's time to quit. For the moment I don't feel like I'm fighting against who I want to be and who my family needs me to be and I'm getting a bit of both.

Well, this post got rather long, so I won't answer this month's question, but here it is in case you want to answer it in the comments!

QUESTION: What's your favorite aspect of being a writer?


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

20 comments:

  1. I gave up recently too. I've started a Mary kay business oo I can be home with my daughter again soon. And I'm not worried about writing. I've gotten further in one week with mk than 7 years of writing

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    1. Good for you! I'm glad you've found a way to help with income and get to be home.

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  2. The only thing you gave up was trying to control your own life - and you gave that up to God. That's when the miraculous can happen! Glad you've found peace.

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    1. That's true. I don't guess I put it in those words even in my head, but you're right and that's why its working out.

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    2. Alex, thanks for this. If you saw my comment above, I've recently given up too and your words make me feel better about it.

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  3. I love what Beth and Alex both have said and I agree: sometimes "giving up" really isn't giving up at all! It's a letting go of a desperate attempt to control your life. That causes so much stress in every area because we can't ever really be in total control. That has a been a very hard lesson for me to learn ever since I "acquired" an auto-immune disease. Sometimes I have to say no, I have to go back and say no even after I've said yes. You have to take care of YOU because without you, there isn't your writing but your family needs YOU to be YOU!

    I'm glad you've found peace with your decision. I let go of my writing over the summer and I experienced the most wonderful thing: I found my voice AND wrote a rough draft of a novel during September. It has a long way to go, but it's the first real writing I've done in a long time. When we let go and give control back to the One who really has control so many wonderful things happen. To paraphrase Paulo Cohelo in "The Alchemist": "When we let our dreams go out into the Universe, the Universe will do everything in its power to help us achieve them."

    Cheers! (Sorry for the long comment :))
    Jen

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    1. This is so true! And extra hard for me since this is how my OCD manifests. I really am a control freak. Planning, scheduling, micromanaging. That's all me because I like to feel like I'm in control. For years I've been able to manage those impulses on my own, however the last move broke me I think. It's taking some work, and I still have moments, days even, when I can't let it go, but I'm getting better at it.

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  4. Like the song "Let it Go." Couldn't resit. :P Sometimes, letting things go can actually make things go right.

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  5. Sounds like you were stressing yourself out and once you let that go things fell into place. I've found with myself that life in general moves smoother if I don't let stress get to me. Things happen and you have to roll with it. Otherwise you just make yourself miserable trying to be a control freak.

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    1. True. I used to be better at rolling with things on a small scale. I am a control freak though. Part of the move last year made things harder simply because with all the renovations nothing is ever "in its place" with also irritates my OCD.

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  6. Several years ago, I gave up writing for family. I couldn't handle the stress of a full-time job (in a difficult atmosphere), 2 mothers who needed us, and trying to write. Something had to go and it was the writing. After the moms passed away and I retired from the job, I still couldn't write. So I wrote for fun, for me. Eventually, my enthusiasm for writing returned. It took a few years, though. So do what's best for you and your family. Sending hugs and good wishes.

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  7. Ah, you let it go. Worry and stress beget more worry and stress. Glad things are starting to work out for you. I hope there's more easing up coming for you.

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  8. Yes, sometimes we have to let go.
    Glad that things are looking up!

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  9. Trying to everything for everyone only leads to burnout. Sometimes it's when we release our death grip on our wants that we have open hands to receive the good we truly need.

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  10. What an exceptional story, thank you so much for sharing that. I love the phrase 'Let go, and Let God.' Something I seriously struggle with from time to time. I do believe our families are or at least should be the most important aspect of our lives, but sometimes it's hard to feel completely committed to them and the other things that make us happy. Your example of letting go/giving up and making that one aspect the most important sheds light on the beautiful way our Father in Heaven helps us to 'have it all. Getting our priorities in order is something every one of us needs to do on a daily basis.

    I am so glad I cam by today. Thanks again.

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  11. I'm so glad you were able to find peace with letting go and letting Jesus take the wheel. Just remember Jeremiah 29:11 when you're feeling down and don't know what's in store for you next. Family is definitely important so take the time to cuddle on the couch when you can or have dinner together. You'll be happy you did.

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