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.

Writer's Market 2020: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published
Writer's Market 2020: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published - Yes, you CAN get published! It's not impossible - but only if you're willing to do the work. Writer's Market 2020 offers thousands of opportunities for writers, including listings for book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards and literary agents — and even new playwriting and screenwriting sections.

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…


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