The Career Author Podcast: Episode 149 – Knowing When to Walk Away

Knowing When to Walk Away

Knowing When to Walk Away

As The Career Author podcast winds down, we’re reminded of how difficult it can be to avoid sunk cost fallacy and remove things that have been a big part of our lives for so long. Whether it’s a relationship, business deal, friendship, or podcast, walking away is never easy but sometimes necessary and inevitable.

In this candid conversation, J. and Zach discuss reasons why you might want to walk away from a project and suggestions on how to move through what can be an emotional and stressful transition.

The Career Author Podcast is a podcast where co-authors J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon share their struggles and successes as full-time authors, advice for improving your writing craft, and honest discussions of what it takes to build a successful career as an author.

Also, J. recommends a little book to help you know when to walk away.

Leave us a comment: How do you know when it’s time to walk away from a project?

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The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) – https://amzn.to/3lrvPzT 

The Horror Writers Podcast Episode #77 – https://thehorrorwriterspodcast.libsyn.com/the-horror-writers-podcast-77-crossroads 

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15 thoughts on “The Career Author Podcast: Episode 149 – Knowing When to Walk Away

  • I haven’t listened yet (but already excited about landmark episode 149), but wanted to just broach the subject.
    How do you know if you are quitting for the right reason? (maybe you cover it)

    I just read a great article by Paul Graham: http://www.paulgraham.com/early.html
    It is all about the fact that when you are in the beginning of your process your work sucks. You have taste about it and so you know it sucks. And he suggests that while you take a little bit of the disgust and pour it back into motivation that you don’t just give up.
    I am sure you break it down in the episode, but I need to sleep sometime. So I will hear your thoughts on it and get back to you. πŸ™‚

  • I am totally behind your decision to drop ‘The Career Author’. It’s easy for us listeners because it’s not a time gobbler as we can listen whilst doing other stuff. I often listen whilst preparing and eating breakfast. For me podcasting would be intrusive. I value being in complete control of my time and I value having lots of free time. Time is an important decision driver. It is a precious resource and like you I seriously value it (hint – as you get older, like gold, it’s value appreciates).
    However, I may give Seth et al serious consideration to be interviewed when I have written my bestseller and it has been made into a Hollywood blockbuster πŸ™‚.
    How do I know when to walk away? When she cheats on me… 😭. Sorry, old memories… But I rarely need to walk away because as previously mentioned I have a powerful defence mechanism; “Default No.” Years of experience has taught me rarely to agree to anything on the spur of the moment because in the cold frost of a winter’s morning it often doesn’t sound so good. Hint – always keep a file in brain RAM full of important prior commitments for use, usually after saying some like “When? Damn. I’d love to but… (insert prior commitment).
    Great show although you appear as uncomfortable as I would be talking about this kind of stuff. A bit like when you were a kid standing in the Head Teacher’s office trying to explain why you… You remember those days πŸ™‚.
    By the way, the bookies are offering 33 – 1 against J starting a new podcast in the New Year. Not a gambling man myself but at those odds it’s a steal. Now where are my life savings?

  • Thanks for the recommendations on books. It looks like I am going to go through the Cal Newport list.
    Definitely just going to leave the kids in the car while I join the last live session.
    The 6 min of you ending the horror writers podcast was interesting. It is a lot less polished. I think both of you were doing day jobs at that point. Crazy that you are quitting again…this might be a pattern.
    I am looking forward to J’s Hair and Beard podcast on Nov 1st.

    I agree with Zach about writing podcasts. I have trimmed them down to like 3 compared to 12 that I had earlier in the year.

    How do I know when to stop?
    I just check my priorities and what goals I had to get out of it and if I still value those goals. Usually when you decide to stop you have changed a yes to a no for some reason. So trying to start with a No up front will prevent the stopping later. Especially it means that you have to have a good amount of momentum and knowledge to get it to a Yes.

    Recently I stopped the short story for the The Author Success Mastermind Anthology. I had good momentum and good progress on it. But I took a step back and realized that I want to release book 1 rather than get a short story into the Anthology. It made me sad that I couldn’t contribute but at the same time I wanted to have my book released before NaNoWriMo so that I could focus on that for November.

  • Such a great episode! It inspired me to put the wheels back into motion for me to quit something major.

    How do I know when to stop? It’s usually when whatever it is becomes a burden and not a joy. I did aikido for sixteen years, but last year I realized I had to drag myself to class, that I *should* go, and when I was in class, I watched the clock. Quitting training wasn’t that hard. The hard part is getting myself out of the business side of it. I help run the dojo. I do *all* the computer related stuff (website, emails, social media, fliers, posting events online, etc.) and, pre-COVID, I taught a weekly teen class. Our dojo is small and the only two people who even remotely have the skills to do my work are already overloaded. These people are my friends and I don’t want to burden them! Listening to you guys has made it clear I need to let it go. I just don’t want to spent the time or energy in this space when I’m not even training.

    One thing I’ve learned is that I don’t do well with weekly commitments (unless it’s my day job), if they don’t have end dates. I don’t know if it’s my ADHD or what, but I get bored with those kinds of commitments quickly. Sometimes I regret doing them as soon as they start! By then, it’s too late and I’m committed. So…no starting a podcast for me!

    • Yes! I feel the same way. Something that goes regularly and indefinitely makes me cringe.

      Take care of yourself and gracefully hand those dojo duties to someone else.

  • Great episode, guys. This stuff is important. So many people hang on to things too long because it’s become part of their identity. When I was deep in the Fitness Industry, someone would periodically leave to get a ‘real job,’ and the rest of us would shake our collective heads. “How could someone leave this amazing world?” I get it now, though.

    On the other side, people are quick to jump into a business idea (or youtube channel, blog, podcast) because they love the subject. That’s cool for a hobby, but many kid themselves that having a writing podcast will sell fiction or that a channel about scifi movies will suck in a lot of space opera readers. Hardly, but both will sure suck a lot of time you could use to write more books or market the ones you have.

    • So true, Roland. The only constant is change and I’d be worried if I DIDN’T get antsy because that would mean I’m getting complacent, not growing.

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