Skip to content
Book Writing > Fiction Writing > 11 Signs It’s Time to Give Up on Your Dream of Getting Published

11 Signs It’s Time to Give Up on Your Dream of Getting Published

How do you know if it’s time to give up your dream of being a published author – especially in this economy and era? These signs it’ s time to give up your dream of being a writer will help you shake off unachievable goals and set new, better ones.

Sometimes, giving up on your writing dreams is the smartest, healthiest thing to do…but the trick is know if it’s time to change your strategy and set different writing goals, or to give up on your dream of being a writer.

Here’s one of my favorite quips, from W.C. Fields: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”

Are you being a damn fool about writing – or are you simply paying your dues and putting in your time, as all long-lasting successful writers and bloggers must do? These signs it’s time to give up may help you re-evaluate your goals, or chuck them and set new ones altogether.

For more tips on achieving goals, read Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time (one of my husband’s favorite books).

Why Giving Up on Your Dreams Gets a Bad Rap

Persistence is admirable – especially when you think of first-time novelists whose first book win a prestigious literary award or bloggers who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year doing what they love (and even getting book contracts!). Some writers beat all odds to achieve their writing goals.

And yet, research shows that dogged determination can lead to depression, helplessness, and a weakened immune system.

Giving up on your goals is often associated with failure and weakness. We hear the clichés “Nobody likes a quitter”, “Winners never quit” and “Quitting is not the answer,” time and time again – even if quitting is the only answer. The stigma attached to quitting goes beyond quips about quitters. For example, we see people accomplish superhuman tasks – such as running a marathon after doctors say they’ll never walk again – and we think those achievements are possible for everyone.

dream of being a writer
Dream of Getting Published

Remarkable accomplishments do happen, but they’re not the norm, says Dana S. Dunn, Professor of Social Psychology at the Moravian College in Pennsylvania and author of Research Methods for Social Psychology. “We tend to overgeneralize from a handful of instances in which people do amazing things,” he says. “The danger of looking at people who succeeded against all odds is that we don’t know how they got there. We don’t necessarily know the steps they took, their background, or the support they had.”

The notions of persistence and accomplishment are embedded in many of our communities, workplaces, and families. “We’re socialized that we must always succeed, but we don’t always recognize that we’re limited by resources such as time, circumstance, and ability,” says Dunn. “Motivation isn’t the problem. Our own infrastructure can hold us back. We don’t always have the right education, technical expertise, or resources.”

By the way, I’m not talking about writing for the sake of writing, or writing for your own pleasure. I’m talking about writing to get published regularly, or earning a full-time living as a freelance writer or blogger.

If you’re determined not to give up on your dream of writing for a living, read 4 Signs You Need to Reevaluate Your Writing or Publication Goals. But if you’re seriously struggling to make your dreams come true, then you might find these “signs it’s time to give up” interesting…

11 Signs It’s Time to Give Up on Your Dream of Getting Published

Aspiring writers – or successful freelance writers who are ready to move on – know it’s time to pursue different goals when they:

  1. Have lost their joy and passion for writing their novel or pitching their magazine article ideas
  2. Aren’t making as much of an effort
  3. Are “talking the talk” but not “walking the walk”
  4. Can’t overcome fear of failure, or fear of success
  5. Spend more time surfing the internet and reading forum comments than writing or blogging
  6. Are pursuing goals that aren’t in line with their beliefs, values, personality, and future plans
  7. Realize that their writing goals – and the process of achieving their writing goals – doesn’t resonate with who they are
  8. Dread the thought of pursuing or achieving the goal
  9. Have lost their creativity
  10. Resent the time and energy the goal takes
  11. Can’t overcome their laziness or lack of motivation. Can’t fire up the muse!

Setting and achieving your goals to be a freelance writer or novelist is challenging (to say the least!!), but if you’re motivated and dedicated, the obstacles to getting published will be balanced by the joy of pushing through and getting results. But, if the negative parts of being an aspiring published writer overshadow the positives, then writing for publication may not be right for you.

If you’re ready to give up on your dream of getting published, read How to Stay Motivated When You’re Starting a Blog. You can still be a blogger – and make money doing it.

What do you think, fellow scribes – are you tempted to give up on your dream of earning a living as a freelance writer or being a published author? I welcome your comments below…


Need encouragement? Get my weekly update!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 thoughts on “11 Signs It’s Time to Give Up on Your Dream of Getting Published”

  1. I love this article. It’s such a wake up call.
    After trying to be an author for years, I’ve decided to pull the plug on my dream. I have depression and short attention span; both of which makes it hard to stay motivated and focused. Plus I work a full time job now so I can hardly find the time.
    It makes me sick to think of the time I wasted on my writing. I had silly dreams of being able to live anywhere in the world. I also loved the idea of working at home and not having to deal with co-workers and horrible bosses.
    The headache of how to do my taxes was always in the back of my mind as well. The idea of all that confusing paperwork terrified me, even if I got H&R Block to do my taxes I’m not the best record keeper.
    I think the worst part about giving up my dream is the scoffing my family will give me when they find out. The old: “I told you so” routine.
    Their smirks and rude comments will be harder than giving up my dream, but I’m afraid it’s time.

  2. What do you do when your family make it impossible to pursue your passion?
    My children have special needs and behavior issues. My spouse has a ton of hobbies which include many Freemasonry clubs, and it takes up alot of his time on weekends, plus he can hardly handle the kids on his own, which makes it impossible for me to even hang out with a writer friend, promote my book at library events once in awhile on the weekends, or anything else.When I complained, he puts me on speaker phone for all his friends to hear.
    Seriousl,y writing novels is my passion and I’ve done it all my life and at times it’s been my only escape. But I’m realizing it’s just not compatible with my life anymore, and I feel devastated my family has ruined the one thing I love. I’ve sacrificed everything for them and gotten nothing in return.

  3. I read “how to get published” books all the time, even though I no longer aspire to be a published author. I’d rather blog! But last night, one of my writing books taught me the difference between being an author and a writer.

    Anyone can be a published author – a movie star, an accountant, a truck driver, a waitress, a surgeon.

    Not everyone can be a writer – someone who who writes every day.

    Which are you? I am a writer.