1) Hold yourself to an impossible standard. Man, nothing sucks the fun out of something like expecting to be perfect at it. And once the fun is gone, you’re just slogging away at yet another thing that eats your time. You might as well be breaking rocks into smaller rocks with a third, slightly larger, rock.
So if you want to give up, I suggest trying really hard to do the impossible. Set a goal to write a novel in a weekend and not have it suck! Make it non-negotiable that every word you write will be as pristine as the unused toilet paper of the gods! Write a multi-part epic with thousands of characters by randomly smashing your face down on the keyboard once a day! I guarantee you’ll be giving up in no time.
2) Expect that you’ll find the time somewhere. Don’t bother making time for writing. Just fit it in whenever there’s nothing worth watching on TV.* Or there’s no kids to take care of, or work shit to do. It’s always easier to not do something than to do it, right? So take the easy way out.
The best part about this one is that you don’t even have to actually quit. You can just keep saying, “I’ll get to it someday” until the stars go dark.
3) Accept absolutely no criticism. Okay, this one won’t make you give up. But after the third time you throw a hissy fit when someone dares to tell you to stop using the shotgun approach to punctuation**, the inevitable death from blunt force trauma caused by repeatedly being hit with a chair will take the decision out of your hands.
4) Listen to haters. All those people who ask ‘why are you wasting time on that?’ or ‘shouldn’t you be doing something more productive with your time?’ can really help you give up. Let yourself be sucked into the poisonous vortex of their combination of negativity and envy. Stop struggling. It will all be over soon.
5) Burn out. Instead of giving yourself time to recharge, work until you fucking hate the sight of your computer. Really bash your head against the wall on this one. No days off, no side projects, no taking a break for your uncle’s funeral. No taking care of yourself, either. Eat shit food, get no exercise, have no social activities to make you into a well rounded human being. By god, you have to sacrifice for your art and you’re going to do just that until the only release is quitting or death.
And, if circumstances conspire to keep you away, really beat yourself unmercifully about it. How else will you learn?
6) Talk yourself out of it. You didn’t really want to write that book anyway. You’re not sure if you have the talent, and it’s really hard. In fact, it’s better if you don’t write, because it leaves you with more time to catch up on Deadliest Toddlers and The Real Housewives Wars. So just sit back, relax, and give up.
*Defined in this case as ‘nothing that you’d rather sit on your ass and watch rather than actually do something productive’. It’s a surprisingly broad category.
** “It doesn’t matter where it goes, as long as it’s in there somewhere.”