Never give up. Never surrender…except maybe this once

I’ve made a decision that embarrasses me.

A while back, I decided to try voiceover acting and embarked on a training program that ends in a demo recording. So far, the training has been fun, and my confidence in both my ability and my prospects has grown.

But it’s become clear that making even a little money requires considerable time—to complete training, identify demo scripts and practice daily. That just gets me to the demo. Then I need to create marketing materials, promote myself and continue to practice, practice, practice.

None of this is surprising, but fitting it all in has been more of a challenge than I expected. This is what happens when I make a commitment during the summer, when my afternoons aren’t gobbled up by my kids’ sports practices.

But the time constraint wouldn’t be enough to make me quit. This is: when I find myself with the rare extra hour, I’d rather spend it on other projects, including this blog and other writing projects that are percolating.

Voiceover work would be fun but not nearly as much fun as this blog has been. Not nearly
as much fun as being published in a magazine I actually want to read would be. Voiceover
gives me a little charge of happy, but the daily work of it feels like drudgery. Writing never feels like that, even when it’s a struggle.

So where’s the brave in quitting? Well, get out your microscopes and you might see the smidge of gumption it takes to change course when the course you’re on isn’t working, despite having already spent money on it. Despite the air of defeat surrounding any decision to quit.

A friend of the splendid Desi Valentine recently dubbed her considerable array of commitments “impossible.” Desi was having none of that. If you read Desi’s blog, you know that she is kickass in many ways.

Continuing with voiceover isn’t impossible, but my gut tells me that the stress of continuing outweighs the happy. So in this case, I’m ok with being a quitter.

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36 Responses to Never give up. Never surrender…except maybe this once

  1. I think you are absolutely right. It does take a brave person to recognize that something isn’t working, and to stop beating his or her head against the wall. Good for you!

  2. k8edid says:

    I am in the middle of trimming back some of the “commitments” I have going on – in part because blogging is filling a good part of my free time, and I’m okay with that. I am surprised at the joy writing brings me, and the blogging community has been very welcoming, supportive, and it is good to hang out with like-minded folks. I think we sometimes need to say – “This may be the course I wanted but it is sucking the joy out of my life”. I still need to trim a few more things away, but I’m working on it.

  3. speaker7 says:

    I think saying no to something is sometimes braver than yes.

  4. Wow! Thanks for the shout out 😀
    There is bravery in quitting, for sure. I quit my desk job, quit saying yes to everything, quit a bunch of little and not-so-little things that weren’t contributing to anyone’s happiness. It sure felt brave, at the time. (And by “brave”, I mean “terrifying”) “Impossible” is never a reason to quit, in my opinion. But quitting something because it’s not working for you is commendable, I think. Especially when there are so many external opinions on what we’re supposed to be doing. Good for you! You always inspire me 🙂

  5. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Getting off a path that doesn’t make sense for you isn’t quitting. It’s very wise. After 3 years of law school and 3 years of practicing law, I walked away with a lot of guilt, but I was miserable. In retrospect, I wish I had walked away sooner.

  6. if the road isn’t work for you get off it fast! Life is too short to do something you do not enjoy 🙂

  7. It’s as powerful to walk away from certain things as it is to walk toward others.

  8. There are not a lot of things in life we have the luxury to make choices about doing. If you have a choice to do something that makes you happy, do it.

  9. midsummerdreamsandwintertales says:

    I agree with Belle. You only get so many hours to enjoy. If you can find away to make living that you actually enjoy, then that’s what you should do.

  10. notquiteold says:

    Good for You! Saying, “I just don’t want to” is very brave.

  11. Elyse says:

    Everyone’s comments are correct. And perhaps you have simply postponed, rather than quit. Maybe at some future point, you will have more time, more desire. Just because you’re not working on it today doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it in a year or ten.

  12. thehonestone says:

    Hi, I work in the sound recording and performance industry. I think you dodged a bullet (my opinion). Blogging is more expressive and personal (and yes it does not necessarily always make you money).
    But the things I have heard people have to say and repeat because they were “paid for it”. Ha ha ha I think you better off

  13. Virginia says:

    The times I tend to get in trouble the most are when I DON’T listen to my instincts. Keep listening to yours, ’cause I bet they’re leading you down the right path.

  14. gojulesgo says:

    You’re so right! Quitting after you’ve invested time and money is a really difficult decision, but can be the brave one! This was really interesting to read about – I’ve never known anyone who’s done voiceover work!

  15. At least you gave it a try, and you can always go back to it if you have more time. Maybe your blog will someday even turn into a podcast. Voiceover talent just reads the words, but it takes someone really clever to create the words worth reading. That’s a gift you have, and most people never learn that well enough to be a success.

  16. Muff says:

    Time and place, baby! It’s not right for now, and that is totally cool. Committing to something doesn’t have to mean IMMEDIATELY! You know when you are going to be stellar at voice over? When you write your first book, and they make it into an audio book. Do your own narration!

    OR

    write a play or sitcom (which I think is something to really consider. There is something special about your comedic vernacular…)! Then you can be the narrator.

    Do the background narrating at the kids school play!

  17. Gilly says:

    I think the tricky part is in the word “quit.” To me, quitting is something you do when the going gets tough and you give up. It doesn’t sound like you are giving up; you just aren’t that into voiceover work anymore. Sounds to me like you are changing directions and changing your mind about pursuing voiceover work. And that is OK. Changing directions does take bravery. It is scary — it goes against others’ expectations and perhaps even your initial expectations. But life is too short and too long to continue down a path if it is no longer fulfilling, in my humble opinion.

  18. Doc says:

    W.C. Fields is quoted as saying: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again. Then give up. There’s no use being a damned fool about it.” I agree with him but would add that if you’re not enjoying something, then being able to quit does not signify failure but a greater success.

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