Motivational Quitter

I’ve never had a moment in my life where I stared down at the empty page, threw my hands up in disgust, and declared that I was done writing forever.

Now, having said that, I have to be honest. Nearly every day or, at the very least, several times a week, I quit.

Pressure tends to build up slowly with me. I take on too many projects, or several projects converge at once, unplanned, and I end up in the middle of it all overwhelmed. Up until that moment, I walk around telling myself “I’ve got this. No problem.” Until it all goes bad, and the number one priority in my life becomes whether or not it’s time to harvest my crops in a Facebook game.

I become evasive. I put things off. I wander around the house, skirting piles of dirty laundry, thinking about ordering pizza for dinner because there’s no food and all the dishes are dirty, and singing Disney songs to the cats. Line edits are due, my word count is behind, two Confabulator posts and a short story are overdue, and several e-mails need attention.

So, I quit.

Simple as that. A light bulb goes off in my head that I’ve overcommitted myself. I don’t have to be part of the Confabulator Café. I quit. Sorted. I won’t write those posts or that short story. I’ll just tell them I’m taking a few weeks off.

The relief from that decision is incredible. The pressure is off.

And then I write the posts and turn them in.

Line edits for my editor? Recently, I spent the day before they were due mentally composing the e-mail to let her know I needed more time. Once I decided to do that, well, I finished them the next day and turned them in on time.

I know, it sounds like I’m tricking myself into getting my job done. Maybe it’s a little game I play with myself, but really, I don’t think it is. I’m like John Locke from Lost. Don’t tell me what I can’t do. But it’s me I’m talking to, not someone else. If somebody else told me I couldn’t do something, I’d shrug it off. But the minute I tell myself I can’t do it? It pisses me off.  And I do it anyway. There’s no trick. I truly believe I can’t do it.

So. No, I’ve never quit. And yes. I quit every day.

It’s the only way I can get things done.

Rachel is the author of the urban fantasy Monster Haven series from Carina Press. She believes in magic, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks, and putting things off until stress gets them done faster at the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas.

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