This post came about after seeing Orna Ross and Joanna Penn on their podcast When to Quit Writing and Publishing over on the Self Publishing Advice website. Click here for the transcript, podcast and video.
It made me think a lot about what I’ve been doing these last two years, and that’s how this blog post came about.
Joanna also mentions a book called Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away, which I’ve read and is quite interesting.
Now, onto my thoughts and process over the last two years about quitting and knowing when to walk away.
A lot of people believe the word quit is negative, or has negative connotations. But quit isn’t negative and means several things. To stop, discontinue, give up, leave, depart, set free, cease.
Whether you call it letting go, clearing out, spring cleaning, doing inventory, or hitting delete, it’s all the same thing. Stopping. Quitting. Deleting.
Whether it’s your wardrobe, job, interests, or online presence. Sometimes, it’s a good thing to let go of something, or, to quit it.
I know it’s been mentioned in a romantic movie somewhere, or from some expert on some show talking about knowing when to quit a relationship.
We see the ads online, on the TV, in magazines and newspapers about quitting smoking.
We quit jobs, school, hobbies, social media platforms. Even book outlines and ideas. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, or using the word quit.
In the last few years, as I mentioned in my last post, I figured out I had burnout and started dealing with it. I took a break from the gym to sort things out, and during my thought purging process I came to the conclusion I needed to hit delete. I went through my internet planner and marked off everything I could get rid of. I deleted Disqus and Tumblr accounts, and smaller accounts that had to do with god knows what. I quit and deleted quite a few things. Because there comes a time when you realize it’s not going to happen, because it’s not coming together, not gelling, not working, or just not needed and wanted anymore. And I didn’t want these social media and online sites anymore.
It wasn’t the first time I’d purged. I did it years ago with email addresses, and was in the process of doing it with BlogSpot blogs, so this was nothing new to me.
But it was bigger.
I sat on other ideas. Do I delete Twitter and Pinterest? Do I keep Facebook and Instagram? Do I close down my business? Which social sites do I want to keep? Which social sites do I want to delete?
From September to December 2021, after the initial purge of deletion, I sat on the rest of my thoughts, letting them percolate and bubble away, and then, in December, without much thought, I made the choice to close my jewellery business and delete all four social media accounts associated with it. I sat with that thought and felt pretty damn good about it.
How it came about was a weird thing. I buy RSL Art Union house tickets from Queensland. As a process, I think about moving into these houses and where I’d put the writing room, the library, the office, etc. I was doing it about the Christmas apartment building, and how I’d lay out my jewellery findings, charms, work pieces, etc., and realised that if I had jewellery parties to sell it all off, I wouldn’t make anymore. I thought about that idea and was pretty okay with it.
Clearly, the time had come to quit the idea of ever having that business make it big. Of ever having a website for it again, of ever having the time and energy to get it back up and going. And that was okay. So was closing it.
In January 2022, I announced to social media that the social accounts would close on January 31st. To keep a door open, I kept my Madeit store to sell off any jewellery in the future if or when I get around to it. I also announced that the Twitter and Pinterest accounts for my two author names would be going. I was okay with that decision too. They closed on January 31st. I went silent on the Facebook and Instagram accounts.
By April 2023, I not only decided to close the Instagram accounts, and turned the Facebook author pages into book pages, but close the two author websites as well. Another big decision I’d sat on and thought through. Closing two websites that had been around for eight and fifteen years and contained a lot of pages and blog posts. But it was a decision I was perfectly okay with and quite happy about, and did the work to make it happen.
I had quit the socials and websites of two author names and a jewellery business. And it was okay. The world was still spinning, life was still moving forward, and I felt so much lighter, as if a great burden had been lifted off me and I knew it was a giant step towards where I needed to be. At the other end of burnout.
Another thing I’d been wanting to do but had only gone so far as doing a contents layout, was updating my book on publishing. It always came at publishing from the actual uploading process. You sign up here, hit that button, add this here, this number goes here, type of thing. But I knew there were hundreds of books on publishing. And while all but one came close to the exact thing I wanted to do, I just really could not be bothered being the one to do it anymore.
I made the decision to quit the book, and just concentrate on releasing novels under my adult author name. I’m not even going to release it under mine. Too many things change at lightning speed in publishing, and these days, compared to 2013 when I wrote it and 2014 when I released it, there is enough information now to find out how to do it. Enough Facebook groups, enough free documents to download from Amazon and Smashwords, enough free videos on YouTube.
I no longer need to be the one to tell Australians how to do this. They have information at their fingertips. They just need to stop being lazy and find it themselves.
There’s a mental and emotional attachment we form with the things we own, the things we do. When you invest blood and sweat and tears into it, and realise it’s just not working, or it might be time to give it up, letting it go becomes the hardest thing to do. That’s why sitting on ideas and decisions can be a good thing. If there is no rush to quit, then think about it.
Ask yourself every question you can think of, even if it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what you’re trying to quit. It doesn’t matter, you never know what answers you’ll get, and you never know, those answers might lead you in a completely different direction.
Many people deleted their Twitter account when Elon Musk bought it. Many have deleted their account since. And many more when he changed it to X. It’s not the first time people deleted social accounts in droves. Anyone remember MySpace?
So, the next time you come to the realisation that something isn’t working anymore, whether it’s not working for you, your life, or the situation, it’s okay to consider quitting it. To stop it. To delete it. The world won’t end, it’ll keep spinning, and you’ll be just fine if you bring something to its natural end.