Don’t Quit

“It’s very easy to quit during the first 10 years. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” –Andre Dubus

Don't Quit –

Eight and a half years. That’s how long I’ve been working on my memoir, from living the story, to learning how to best write it, to editing, to pitching, to self-publishing, to getting picked up by publishers, to becoming a published author.

Eight and a half years. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve spent that long on a single storyline.

Society values speedy production lines, assets, qualifications, awards, escalating graphs, exploding pie charts, quantity, turnover, more, faster, better, hurry up, you’re getting old, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU’RE FALLING BEHIND!

Do you have enough to show for this time?

When you’re working on something unconventional, something creative and uncertain, it can be disheartening to feel like you’re not producing enough, not getting the numbers, not earning the money. And where is this thing that you’ve been spending all your time on, hmm? It doesn’t exist yet. Will anything tangible come of it?

Perhaps you’re wasting your time?

Art that’s a true expression of your soul comes from a quiet space within that exists in another realm to stats, sales, dates, publishing deals, accolades, or whatever anyone else thinks. It comes from the opposite place to your ego: that nasty little voice of insecurity and comparison; that nasty little voice of arrogance. When your ego is quiet, your honest, vulnerable self will be there in the stillness. And from that place, with heart and integrity, you create slowly over time, building it up brick by brick.

Is it any good? How will you know for sure?

It doesn’t matter.

The wealth, the awards, the assets—all of those things you might have if you’d refocused your efforts? They’re meaningless. But so is your art. It is nothing, it’s unimportant. You will live, you will die, and you’ll be forgotten. Nobody cares. If you do earn big money, it will come and it will go too. You may become popular, but then fans will move on to the next thing. Perhaps your art will change the world, but will it really matter? Or will it simply shift the way things are—good and bad—into a slightly remodelled form?

Does that worry you? Then you’re missing the point.

If your art changed nothing, would you still do it? If not, then why are you doing it to begin with? If the answer is yes, then don’t quit.

Forget the stats, the numbers, the wealth, the prestige, the popularity, the things you imagine to be waiting for you on the other side of ‘success.’ They’re not there, and if they are, they won’t stay long. Instead, work tirelessly to make your soul happy. Keep going until you’re standing before a big, glorious creation made by you, for you. Your baby—made of cells, or paper, or clay, or words. That’s yours.

Be proud. You did it for the simple joy of creating. There is nothing more to life than that.

So don’t quit.

After eight and a half years, my book launches today in the US and Canada. Here it is.

Love with a Chance of Drowning – A Memoir by Torre DeRoche

Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.

Leave a Comment

  • Daynne@TravelnLass May 14, 2013, 11:50 am

    Brava, my dear, brava!

  • Tasha Hacker May 14, 2013, 1:07 pm

    It’s pure inspiration, what you’ve accomplished. I can’t even imagine what you’re feeling right now. When we started our sailing journey in October 2012, I started a blog, which I hoped would give me a platform to branch out as a writer. And, you’re right…if no one reads it, does it exist? Sometimes it’s incredibly hard to stay motivated when you have no idea if what you’re doing is any good, mediocre or utterly useless.

    But the joy of doing it is worth something, for sure.

    I’m incredibly proud of you for getting to this stage. Your book really IS good and you’ll see soon that the world agrees!

    Good luck with the launch today!


  • Christine May 14, 2013, 1:51 pm

    So thrilled I got a first peek at the book in 2011 and can’t wait to recommend it to all of my friends in the States–and see it on bookshelves! Congratulations, Torre–success is well-deserved!

  • Melissa May 14, 2013, 2:22 pm

    Congratulations!!! Such an amazing accomplishment… and fabulous motivation. Celebrate and enjoy the launch!

  • sarah corbett morgan May 14, 2013, 3:00 pm

    Congratulations, Torre. And thank you very much for that inspirational post today. Giving back to writers is a sure sign of a true writer. Brava!

  • Shona Patel May 14, 2013, 4:31 pm

    A big CONGRATS to you. What a journey! I can’t wait to read your book!

  • Patricia Sands May 14, 2013, 6:27 pm

    Bring on the brass band! Pop those champagne corks! Yay, Torre! Your book is wonderful and you deserve all the success around it!

    I’m proud of you and thrilled to feature you on my blog today!

    Thanks for this message. It’s good to hear it yet again as we writers need constant reminders to keep doing what we do for the love of it. Onward!

  • Sarah Somewhere May 14, 2013, 8:42 pm

    Torre, thank you for your wonderful words, and the powerful message behind them which I needed to hear today. I am currently moving through (not past) the fear and doubt while working on my first memoir,and even writing that ‘out loud’ is scary! (Its not my fearful adventure though btw!). So your words are really encouraging and hold a lot of truth and wisdom. You are already a huge success and a writing mentor to me (even if there was no book) so all the best with the US launch and enjoy the ride!

  • Katie May 14, 2013, 10:41 pm

    Reading this post made me very happy, both for your success and for the fact that, yes, writing takes AGES and it’s nice when someone lets the whole world know this. Sometimes I wish it were easier to write a first draft, at least, but maybe writing wouldn’t mean so much to us if it didn’t take time and effort.

    Congratulations on your US and Canada launch!

  • Shivya May 15, 2013, 10:08 am

    Congratulations! And thanks for that inspiring note. Can’t wait to read the book.

  • Charlie May 15, 2013, 8:30 pm

    Congrats! And thank you for such an inspiring post and message! Can’t wait to read your book.

  • Gigi May 17, 2013, 4:29 pm

    Lovely sentiments and a perfect reminder. My first book took about that long as well – and that was without the getting picked up by a publisher part. 🙂

  • Caz Makepeace May 21, 2013, 5:48 am

    Congratulations Torre! I’m so excited that your baby has been born! It’s a fabulous book and worthy of all the hard work and praise. I am excited for you.

    I really get this post. I’m embarrassed by how long it’s taken us to be where we are now and what we have gone through— I’m still not anywhere even finished what I really want to work on (Your memoir idea you mentioned to me is playing on my mind a lot!!)

    As long as you don’t quit, you’ll get there and I guess however long it takes is how ever long you really needed to get learn all the lessons to perfect it.

    That’s what comforts me in those moments of distress anyway!!
    Enjoy the ride Torre, it’s well deserved

  • Frankie (Bird) May 21, 2013, 2:29 pm

    I didn’t read this post because I’m having a good day today ploughing through the editing one of my short stories

    But my paranoia and self-doubt have scheduled a get together some time next week, around lunchtime on Wednesday, so I’ve bookmarked this and I’ll come back to read it then through a furrowed frown and tear-blurred vision.

    Thank you for sharing, for encouraging and for inspiring.

    • Nathalie Salas October 30, 2014, 3:41 pm

      Frankie – Hopefully I’ll be able to help reduce your paranoia and self-doubt in any way I can next week!

  • Jess @ Sparrow + Sea May 22, 2013, 11:25 pm

    Oh how I needed to read this today!

    Along these lines, I am also having to consciously work at writing for no one but me. Because I keep getting freaked out when I think ‘but my Mum/best friend/neighbour might read this’ (…and judge me, and think I’m crap, and wonder why on earth I am doing this).

    So ‘don’t quit’. And write for you.

    • Torre DeRoche May 23, 2013, 5:28 am

      Yes, that’s important. And hard! As a writer, I think you always have to put the story above your own reputation. The story is more important than your ego. No matter what you put out there, no matter how insulting or incriminating, people get used to it eventually. 🙂

  • Sarah Cox May 23, 2013, 12:31 pm

    I’ve just finished your book today. I had it on my iphone on ibooks so I couldn’t see how many pages I actually had left. I kept scrolling and scrolling hoping the story wasn’t over yet! It was amazing! I nearly hung on your every word, I was even reading your book over my lunch breaks at work (and I am NOT a reader). It was great! Thank you so much for taking the time to make it the peice of art it is. Everything you wrote was so real it made me feel like I got to experience it as well. My partner and I are hoping to sail the pacific one day ourselves, its been my boyfriends big dream for ages but after reading your book I think its become a little bit of my dream as well. If you made it through I must be able to too! And btw- I don’t think the bravest thing you ever did was sail, I think it must have been the moment you left Ivan to be true to yourself hoping that he would chase after you, which he did. (I’m so glad, because I was nervous!) 🙂
    Thank you for your book and the inspiration you have given me! Xx

  • Britany May 24, 2013, 9:21 pm

    Congrats Torre! My six months in South America in which I’ve been chasing the travel writer dream is wrapping up and your book is waiting for me at home. Thank you for the inspiring words and I can’t wait to read more of them in your “baby” as I continue to work on mine. 🙂

  • Bernadette May 30, 2013, 10:38 pm

    Congrats on your book and your journey to bring it into the world! Beautiful blog, I wholeheartedly agree on the message of not quitting and following your passion, and of doing it for the joy of creating, rather than striving for a ‘success’ model that we are often conditioned to believe must be part of the reason or equation. I wish for everyone to give their unique gifts into the world just for the joy of doing so! You’re an inspiration for everyone who has ever wanted to do that. So stoked to find your website.
    I jumped boots and all into a massive life change 3 years ago, quit my 13 year corporate career, published my first Mind Body Spirit book, then dove straight into writing a 2nd one without even stopping to see if the first one ‘succeeded’… because I knew my heart was telling me to do it. And, even if no one had read my books, I would still have done it because it gave me joy to do so! As it turns out, when you infuse love, joy and passion into whatever you do, it will absolutely fly and absolutely touch lives because passionate energy can’t help but flow in miraculous ways! I’ve experienced doubts all the way along, with my old self (the former worrier, the analyser, the conservative) questioning what the heck I was thinking walking away from a career, from a stable income, starting my own business writing and coaching while nomadically travelling the world. But whenever I felt those doubts rise up, I would just close my eyes and ask myself “What would I do if money were no object? What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?”. The answer was always clear, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing because I love it, and that passion fuels my faith in this path being right for me (and most importantly now that faith is louder than fear). Best wishes for all that you create. Looking forward to following your blogs! Bernadette 🙂

  • Gina May 31, 2013, 7:19 pm

    Thank you.
    Seriously, thank you. It’s exactly what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it. In the end, the money won’t matter.
    I just wish that came with less bills.

  • Kirsten June 6, 2013, 5:43 am

    It was still one of my favourite books in 2011. I loved it. The rest of the world will too.

  • Claire June 13, 2013, 5:32 pm

    I just discovered your blog through Nomadic Matt. Your journey is amazing! Yes, never quit. I also have a dream, a passion. And I kept on pushing it in a forgotten corner, because my mother did not believe in me. But friends did. Thanks to their encouragement over the years, I have finally made the step to making recycle design my profession. I am not there yet. But I am on my way! Yes, I focus on my dreams, my passions, and I don’t listen to the naysayers anymore. Congratulations on your book launch! It inspires me to never stop believing.

  • Escalator India June 18, 2013, 6:30 am

    In any kind of condition don’t quit just try and succeed.

  • Briana Morrison June 25, 2013, 7:46 pm

    I followed a random link last Friday, looking for something good to listen to while I drive towards my dreams in Portland, OR. After reading a wee bit about your book I took a leap and purchased the audio version. I am SO glad I did! Your story is both beautiful and inspiring… I finished it yesterday and I’ve already recommended it to two friends. I’m looking forward to following along with your story here. Congratulations on the book launch! 8.5 years is a lot of hard work, and a long time to wait.

    • Torre DeRoche June 26, 2013, 4:53 am

      Thanks so much for stopping by to tell me that, Briana.

  • Sarah @ The Woks of Life June 29, 2013, 8:25 pm

    I just stumbled on your blog for the first time today, and this post was exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks so much for writing it.

  • Helen July 13, 2013, 11:10 pm

    Little bit late to the party, but here goes.

    I was having one of those ‘what am I doing, I’m no good at this’ days today. I’m not a quitter so I began looking round for a bit of inspiration and turned very rapidly to your blog!

    This has given me the boost I needed. Thank you!

  • Clara July 14, 2013, 10:41 pm

    just finished Love With A Chance Of Drowning and I LOVED it…..all i want to do is jump on a boat and sail away.

  • Mary July 20, 2013, 5:00 pm

    Fantastic! Thank you so much for writing this and I am LOVING your book!

  • Annie @ Oranje Explorers July 23, 2013, 9:51 pm

    Torre, this is such a great post and such a refreshing perspective. It feels like there is such a push for posts like “How to get more done.” “How to accomplish more.” “How to make money blogging.” And somewhere in there, the beauty of the simply act of creating gets lost. If you are passionate about what you are doing the creation takes on a life of its own and the reward is for that creation simply to exist.

  • Michelle Elle August 19, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Congratulations on your book! And thank you for such inspirational posts, especially when all we seem to hear is how to do more in less time, and how faster is always better. There is so much more to the creative process! So glad you didn’t quit, I’m very much looking forward to reading your book!

  • Janet November 5, 2013, 10:39 am

    It’s been two years since I finished writing my memoir recounting travels in Switzerland over a thirty year period. And many more years in the penning. This book refuses to be titled. How can you publish a book that has no title? There must be a reason for the delay. But it is a mystery. Except that I’m now consumed by writing a series of children’s books as my passion for intergenerational travel explodes. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I feel my siblings will be birthed before my firstborn. But when that title comes, I’m ready.

  • jay dawes November 18, 2013, 10:40 am

    This must be the week I am hauled up by my bootstraps, mainly because I have been succumbing to moments of ‘why am I doing this when nothing much is happening?’
    You are the second person to tell me that it just doesn’t matter. If you are doing something you love, it should never matter.(and I do know this, truly I do) so thank you Torre.

  • Aniko December 19, 2013, 7:41 pm

    “Work tirelessly to make your soul happy”
    Thank you Roche. Gracias 🙂

  • Georgia Burns March 10, 2014, 8:52 pm

    Awesome article and congrats! You brought tears to my eyes. I’m adding your book to my list. Thank you for the encouragement.

  • Mackenzie Lucas March 10, 2014, 9:16 pm

    Loved your post. Very inspirational! Good luck with your book sales! ;0)

  • Marie-Therese March 10, 2014, 10:42 pm

    Congratulations on the publication of your book, and thank you for the inspiring post.

  • Marg March 10, 2014, 10:59 pm

    Oh Torre. You’re a woman after my own heart. How I love your fresh splash of honesty. I too have been writing my one book for over 10 years, so I understand exactly what you’re saying. And through all the nay saying and the external measures, I’m still here, and will continue no matter what. Thank you. X.

  • michele March 10, 2014, 11:20 pm

    Thank you for the encouragement. I have been accumulating years in my pursuit of finishing my novel. I decided that even if it does not get published or becomes a best seller, I didn’t quit!

  • Helen Scheuerer March 10, 2014, 11:31 pm

    Congratulations! This is truly inspirational. It really is wonderful reading about another writer’s success.

    I love the quote you included at the beginning! And this: “Keep going until you’re standing before a big, glorious creation made by you, for you. Your baby—made of cells, or paper, or clay, or words. That’s yours.”

    I’ll be sharing this with the Writer’s Edit readers!

    – Helen

  • Jbertolus March 10, 2014, 11:50 pm

    So inspiring! Congratulations Torre!

  • Chris March 10, 2014, 11:54 pm

    Thank you Torre!

  • Darcie March 11, 2014, 12:13 am

    You did it!! I am so inspired. I hope you sell a bazillion of them.

  • Irene Enriquez March 11, 2014, 12:41 am

    I stumbled upon this post because Elizabeth Gilbert recommends I read it. I have no idea who Torre is. But after reading this post, I think I’m now a fan. I’m definitely considering buying the book. <3

  • Frederic Bye March 11, 2014, 12:41 am

    My Gosh, what a wonderful blog! Youir words touched me and really inspired me.
    Thank you so much Torre!!

  • siddhesh sawant March 11, 2014, 1:10 am

    awesum inspiration for aspires

  • Michelle Tom March 11, 2014, 2:30 am

    Congratulations! You are an inspiration. I went to see Elizabeth Gilbert speak last week and now reading your blog, it feels like the universe is telling me to write again. Thank you for making that seem not such a bad idea. all the best for your book!

  • Katie Andraski March 11, 2014, 3:08 am

    Yeah, I know this well. I had to learn very deeply that writing was worth doing for the writing itself and the healing it brought. I worked for over twenty years on my novel and had lost all hope for its being published. Then last summer, when my hope was dead, a small publisher acquired the book. Until now, when I started to build my website, it felt more like disruption than joy. Things do have a way of working out don’t they? And at the right time. I’m very glad that now is the time and not five, ten or twenty years ago. Bless you.

  • Shelley Hawkins @theselfconnection March 11, 2014, 4:10 am

    So artfully expressed. Thank you for your words to all of us.

  • Tammy Kennon March 11, 2014, 4:31 am

    Hi Torre, You wrote this 10 months ago, but I didn’t read it until now. That’s because NOW is when I needed to hear it. Thanks so much for telling the backstory of slogging, slogging, slogging away, like I am doing on my book about lessons learned from sailing away at 50. I’m SO happy, delighted, thrilled for your success. I read the first self-published version and have been applauding from afar! YAY, YOU! –Tammy

  • Tanya Monteiro March 11, 2014, 7:57 am

    “work tirelessly to make your soul happy” I need this statement in front of my face every single day. Thank you, such a great post to read!

  • KimK March 11, 2014, 1:13 pm

    Hi Torre,

    Firstly I love your post and I especially love your blog’s title.
    I was brought here by a mention from Elizabeth Gilbert posted on her facebook page.

    If your art changed nothing, would you still do it? If not, then why are you doing it to begin with? If the answer is yes, then don’t quit.

    This post is what I neede to read today, this week, this month and this year.
    I have been holding back because I was letting fear get in my way and I was letting myself get in my way.

    These following words – your closing words – are what I needed to read. It echoes what I just had written in my journal.

    “Forget the stats, the numbers, the wealth, the prestige, the popularity, the things you imagine to be waiting for you on the other side of ‘success.’ They’re not there, and if they are, they won’t stay long. Instead, work tirelessly to make your soul happy. Keep going until you’re standing before a big, glorious creation made by you, for you. Your baby—made of cells, or paper, or clay, or words. That’s yours.

    Be proud. You did it for the simple joy of creating. There is nothing more to life than that.”

    Thank you for sharing your journey!
    Thank you for reminding me why I am doing this. I write because it makes my soul happy. Everything else is just noise.

    Thank you

  • Lisa March 11, 2014, 7:27 pm

    Brilliant post. Even though it’s a bit older, I stumbled on it today. The intention gods must have drawn me to it! 😉 You have such a way with words and seem to clearly articulate exactly what I’m feeling. Thank you!

  • Kylah (@Zest e-Biz) March 12, 2014, 5:59 am

    Wow! Amazing article. Exactly what I needed to hear thank you.

    This goes well beyond the concept of ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ which is what I thought I needed to hear this morning. In reality, your words touched my soul and re-energised it, thank you.

  • Susan Charest March 12, 2014, 6:09 pm

    Your timing is perfect. Thank you. Thank you. 10 years and I’m still wresting and slaying doubtful dragons. First 5,000 words flowed – it has taken me weeks to contribute another 500 words – I think I need to turn off the word count and just let the music play 🙂 I can’t wait to read your book. I’ll leave the light on – if you have a moment to pop over to my blog. It’s a mindful mess of words falling into font.
    Wishing you the best.

  • Beth Jessup March 20, 2014, 9:44 am

    Hi Torre,

    Mine took seven years with two big breaks. It’s with Pan Mac now, after my contract with UWAP was dropped. I’m in with a chance as their Comm Ed Fiction liked it and has passed it on to the NF Ed.

    You’re right though, to many it’s quite insignificant the time, the anguish, the sheer tenacity of staying with it but if it’s there and it’s worthy it may prick the mind of a few and may even help someone.

    Good on you for staying with your creation. I will read it.

    All the best,
    Beth 🙂

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  • Nathalie Salas October 30, 2014, 3:39 pm

    I always feels so inspired and happy to read of success story such as your’s Torrre. By reading all the comments here, it seems your positive aura has helped many of us never to give up about what whatever we truly believe in. I wish you all the success with your newly published book and look forward to reading it myself.

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    Thank you so much for this post. It is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you Thank you Thank you. From the bottom of my heart!

  • Kris Thomas February 8, 2016, 12:45 am


    I just finished your book and absolutely loved it! I recently returned home after a 13 month solo journey traveling around the world and have become lost trying to write a book I’ve always known I was meant to write. Your book and this post has given me the assurance and perseverance to keep writing.

    Thank you so much,