The Biggest Fight of My Life

Why I Keep Thinking That I Should Quit Writing

Mo Issa
4 min readFeb 8, 2024
Oil painting of a man and woman dancing

“There’s a guy in my head, and all he wants to do is lay in bed all day long, smoke pot, and watch old movies and cartoons. My life is a series of stratagems, to avoid, and outwit that guy.” — Anthony Bourdain

I’ve been thinking of quitting writing altogether. I can feel relief even when I type these words.

For the past six months, I’ve written very little.

After finishing the manuscript for my memoir, The Midlife Shift, in June of last year, I haven’t been able to stick to a writing routine.

The guy in my head has been hyperactive for many reasons. I’ve had to travel so much. My company is proving challenging and demanding a lot of my thinking time. The non-writing aspect of writing has proven nasty.

I’ve never been someone who can write anywhere. Unlike many writers who can write on demand in beautiful cafes worldwide, I have to be at my desk, my space, preferably early in the morning — in my element.

As soon as the morning passes and I haven’t written, I carry guilt and a sense of dread throughout the day. The closer I get to Thursdays, the day I release my newsletter, and I still haven’t written my post, the more anxious, overwhelmed and defeated I feel.

It hasn’t helped me that over the last six months, the first publishers of my memoir went bankrupt, and the second ones are making me wish they would. Also, there’s the trepidation I feel when I know I must do a lot of marketing during prelaunch, book release and post-launch.

I’ve never been a good self-promoter, quite the opposite, actually. I feel dishonest, almost hypocritical, when I treat my writing as a capitalistic venture — writing to me should be pure. (Yes, I know I’m being naive.)

Perhaps I see my writing as an escape that takes me out of the ugliness of real life and connects me to my soul when everything around me is just ego.

However, as Kahlil Gibran said, “There is no deeper desire than the desire of being revealed.”

Like all human beings, we writers yearn to reveal our true inner selves to the outside world. We want our madness to be seen. To be accepted. To be understood.

So market I must.

Perhaps I’ve romanticised writing too much for my own good, and I need to be conscious that it’s easy for me to fall out of love with writing, especially when life happens, and the unsexy parts of the writing come up.

Moreover, I’m from the business world, a world of ego that slowly drains the energy out of any well-meaning soul. My life is mired in materialism that often sucks me into a bottomless soul-less pit that is hard to get out of.

My writing means my inner world. My soul. My higher self. My connection to God.

That’s why keeping my writing persona will be the biggest fight of my life.

Probably, within the next twelve months, I’ll contemplate quitting again and perhaps write about it again. (Please bear with me.)

In Rachel Cusk’s Outline Trilogy, she recalls a conversation with her ex-boyfriend, Gerard, who’d given up playing the violin as a teenager, though he was exceptional. However, a boy in his class, who was inferior to Gerard and had idolised him, took up the clarinet.

The boy’s lack of talent was a joke between Gerard and his music friends. While the boy grafted, Gerard, with all his instinctive ability, abandoned the orchestra to his parent’s despair. In the last term of school, the boy was the soloist at the school performance of Mozart’s concerto for clarinet. A few years later, Gerard saw the boy’s name on a flyer for a concert at Wigmore Hall. Today, the boy is a famous musician.

The moral of the story, Gerard told Cusk, was that we must pay attention not to what comes most naturally to us but to what we find most difficult.

At present, the greatest minds are working to distract us, pacify us, and make us more conventional. They want to relieve us from doing the HARD THINGS.

Writing doesn’t come easy to me. I envy those who write anywhere and at any time.

To keep my writing hat, and my sanity, I keep reminding myself of these maxims below:

  • If it’s easy, don’t do it.
  • If it’s hard, then go for it.
  • If the voice in my head comes up with an excuse, just tell it to shut the Fuck up.
  • Recall the joy I feel when writing constantly.
  • Read great writers like Cusk. 1
  • Write early in the morning. At that time, my soul is still reachable.

And most of all to remind myself that I’m fighting the biggest fight of my life

Rachel Cusk’s writing is why I should not quit writing. To weave words in such a way while imprinting thoughts on our subconscious is wonderful. I strongly recommend reading the Trilogy: Outline, Transit and Kudos.



Mo Issa

I rise daily at 5 am, meditate, read and journal on my Self-awareness journey. Some of my reflections make it to my blog; others don’t. (