Every few months I hit a wall in my writing. In my dreaming. I just want to quit. I want to quit bad.
I don’t want to get up early or stay up late. I don’t want to prop up my laptop on my lap and pound out the thoughts, whatever they are.
I don’t want to keep telling you to hang on to hope with might and courage because I can’t even do it myself.
I grow discouraged and angry and tired and bored, and I start looking for other work. Something, anything to break up the monotony.
It’s a fog, a haze, and I can’t tell what starts it, or what will get me out. It seems like a lack of momentum mixed with disappointment. It’s the result of my Circumstance Assessment, looking about and surveying my life. And the cranky life Surveyors come back with the diagnosis: Your Life Sucks.
Then it elaborates: Something is not enough, you are not enough, there is not enough room out here for you. People are not waiting to hear from you. You could quit, and it wouldn’t matter that much. Just because no one is paying attention.
And I do feel like I could quit, and my not-quite-200 blog subscribers and a handful of Twitter followers would blink and miss me, but there would be someone new coming along, someone else with the verve and bits of wisdom I’ve accumulated. And maybe they wouldn’t get as burned out as I do as often as I do. So they will be the next thing.
But I can’t give up. I can’t stay given-up for long, anyway. I always get back on this stupid horse that I sort of hate today because I can’t do anything else. I was made for this.
If no one read, I would still write. This messages, these letters making words making ideas making change, they are all trapped up in my body. And like the old prophet, Jeremiah, felt, “These words are burning a hole in my chest. I cannot keep them in.”
And like the old prophet, Jeremiah, felt, “These words are burning a hole in my chest. I cannot keep them in.”
Yup, that’s what it’s like Jeremiah. Carrying the hot, intense words of my life message around in my gut, spinning a storm in my head. And they must come out.
But also, I don’t quit because we always quit too soon. And I know that.
I remember when I labored for hours and hours – and it felt days and years – for my first son. And toward the end, I didn’t know it was the end, and as I groaned and ached, I remember thinking to myself these words, “If I am not making progress, they are going to have to cut this child out of me or sedate me until Wednesday.” It was Sunday.
But the pain, the agony, the I-can’t-keep-going-like-this-anymore feeling is the feeling we get before breakthrough. It’s the moment we hit the wall. But breakthrough isn’t breakthrough unless we first hit something we have to break through. Right? So hitting a wall is actually a sign of progress.
I know this now, and I don’t give up so easy anymore. Even today. Even when it’s hard. Even when I’m discouraged and bored and all the things, I’m going to keep going because I was made for this, and because I know breakthrough of some kind is on it’s way. I can tell by the wall I’m hitting here.
What keeps you going when you’re hitting a wall? What keeps you from giving up? Share your tricks with me. I need all the help I can get.