Give up or press on?

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I think everyone in the creative world struggles with this question at times. Every time I do, I always come down on the side of PRESS ON.

But that's obviously not the case for everyone. I see this as an instructor for ICL. Students unexpectedly drop out of the course. Is their writing hopeless? No. Do they need to learn more? Yes. But they often aren't the worst of my students. If they have trauma going on in their lives, they don't communicate that. They don't take the leave of absent option the Institute offers. They quit. I have many other students who don't officially drop, but don't turn in their next assignment either. Perhaps they need a reminder that anything worth doing is going to be work.

Those who don't see that fact may be those who give up, drop out, fade out. I'm guessing if you're reading this, you aren't in that group. You know learning to play scales on the piano doesn't make you a concert pianist. You know you have to work at craft. You know you have to persevere.

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When answering a student's question about her typical workday, Harper Lee said:
"To be a serious writer requires discipline that is iron fisted. It's sitting down and doing it whether you think you have it in you or not. Everyday. Alone. Without interruption. Contrary to what most people think, there is no glamour to writing. In fact, it's heartbreak most of the time."

Ouch. That's reality. But we also need encouragement now and then. So here are some quotes from other writers I've come across recently. I hope they encourage you as they do me.

If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again. - Flavia Weedn

I would go to sleep at night feeling that I'd never be published. But I'd wake up in the morning convinced I would be. - Judy Blume

Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely essential. - Jessamyn West

Finish what you're writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it. - Neil Gaiman

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. - C.S. Lewis

"Now" is the operative word. . . . You don't need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating. - Barbara Sher

So I'm lifting my cup to finishing, never too old, and never give up.

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