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don’t give up (writing pep talk)

(2 mins) Don’t give up.

If you’re writing and you don’t love what’s on the page, don’t give up.

(If you feel like you might, read this writing pep talk instead.)

Keep going until you love what you’ve made. Writing is a process. Sometimes it sucks. Don’t give up halfway. If you keep going, eventually you’ll get closer to writing something you love. Get closer and closer until you’re honestly close enough.

Your writing only sucks if you give up before it is done.

So don’t give up. It might take one draft or thirty. Sometimes things are harder. Other times they’re so easy it feels suspicious. That’s what it’s like to be a writer.

Don’t give up.

Words come like water. Words melt like butter. Words freeze like headlight-terrorized deer. Words start to look like abstract art that’s just a series of lines and curves, and the word “over” over and over and over again loses its meaning and its spelling and its mind.

Don’t give up.

If you give up, start over.

Ideas seem good then fall apart on the emergency gurney when you rush them to the page. Ideas seem good and when you plant them in language they take root in the laptop and sprout new branches and become massive and thrive and drop fruit so plentiful that their cores contain the seeds of dozens of other stories that you can’t wait to begin to tell. Ideas seem bad but turn out to be beautiful and leave you weeping.

Don’t give up.

When you give up (and you will, if only for a quick scream and a rage-scrub in the shower, or maybe for a nice dinner with a pretty friend whose beautiful light eyes make everything else seem wildly unimportant), don’t stay down. When you really give up, and you will (if only for six months because the rest of your life won’t mend itself, or maybe for two years because your rewards and opportunities vanished into the volcano of the pandemic which just keeps hurting people you love over and over and over and…), well, you know. When you give up like that for more than five full moons you’ll need to do something really extreme to fix it. You’ll need to start over.

If you give up, start over.

Become the beginner that you’ve always been. Even when you tried to hide it with all your vocabulary and technique. Even when you threw your CV over it like a suffocating blanket meant to choke the life out of the honesty of admitting you’ve no idea what you’re truly doing at all. Even in the middle of walking to the stage to get your applause at the award ceremony, you knew that the next morning you’d return to the page and begin again. The only thing you get better at is beginning again.

Start over.

If you want to be a writer, be a writer.

Don’t give up.

Starting again, and again and again, and again and again and again, even when you think you’ve failed, is what makes you a writer instead of just a dreamer who wishes they were writing.

Read this writing pep talk when you feel like you need it. Or give yourself a writing pep talk anytime. Just take a breath, close your eyes for a second and tell yourself… DON’T GIVE UP.

xo, megan

Thanks for giving this a few minutes. I hope it felt supportive.


Writing coach Megan Cohen is a white cis woman with soft femme hair. She wears black but stands in front of a wall covered in brightly colored brainstorming post-it notes. She smiles with closed lips and warm eyes. Her skin is amazing even though she's middle-aged.

I’m a f*ckin’ friendly writing coach.

Let’s see what an hour with me can do for you. Get treated with honesty and respect. Bring your work-in-progress, your goals, or your frustrated blank page. Sliding scale; no ongoing commitment; just an hour to work on your writing. See me in a private zoom to put my 20 years of experience on your side.

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