I just read Seth Godin’s book called “The Dip.” It’s all about knowing when to stick with a project, job, course of action–and when to quit. I think I’m pretty good at this, although quitting some things have been painful. For example, I had a contract on my dissertation with a good press but readers were going to require such extensive rewrites and so much time had passed that I was going to have to go back and do more research that I just said–“enough! I quit!” I just couldn’t see any advantage in spending that much time and energy on a project that I didn’t care about anymore. Can’t a dissertation just get you a Ph.D.? I’m no longer trying to find a tenure-track teaching job so what advantage could there be for me to keep working at publishing the dissertation? I’d already gotten a published article out of it and a spin-off-book (Sacred Memories), so that is enough. I quit!
That’s what Godin would call “strategic quitting” and it’s something that we all need to do far more of in our lives to clear the path for the things that we really want to pursue.
I think more quitting is in my future–but I’m going to do it carefully and with a plan in place! After all, my goal is to write full-time. All these stories in my head need the space to come out and onto paper.