To pivot or to persevere?  Or more bluntly – to give up or to not to give up?  This is a haunting question, a question that has ramifications far after an answer has been chosen and it’s also a question that almost everyone in our community has had to face at one time or another.  How do you know when to give up and when to keep trying?

Danielle Davis | Children’s Book Writer and Creative Writing Teacher

I feel like this is really THE question, especially if you’re someone who, like me and so many others, has faced “no’s” and hurdles in the universal experience of being an artist. It’s inevitable to ask: “Should I just give up?” I think the simple answer is no. I really believe that if you’re pursuing a dream, there’s some way to get there—even if it’s by shifting the dream. As long as you continue to take actions in line with what you care about, what’s meaningful to you, and your own identity, then I think you’re on the right track no matter how much you might feel like abandoning the endeavor. For me, as a writer, I started fairly late, hit a bunch of snafus along the path, and have had many moments, days, and seasons of truly considering giving up what with the uncertainty, doubt, and feeling like I didn’t have a tool large enough to clear away the brambles and get through. Read more>>

Andie K | Frontwoman for The Key of F

I think everyone has those loud, negative voices in their head that say the MOST horrible things. Those insidious voices make us doubt ourselves, make us feel worthless, unattractive and not good enough. But it’s that little voice that lives in your heart, the one that whispers quietly “Keep going” – THAT’S the voice we should be listening to. As long as the voice in my heart keeps telling me to ‘keep going’, then I’m not going to give up. Following what my heart is telling me is my internal gauge on whether to keep fighting or to hang it up. Read more>>

Ruby Gao | MBA

I believe a way to measure if something is worth pursuing is whether doing so makes “getting closer to the ideal self.” the process is meaningful to you, or it is hard for you but has a meaningful purpose for you. The original intention of persistence should not be becoming better than others, but to be better than our previous self, to grow as an individual, and improve one’s craft day by day. The subject is asked when to keep going or when to give up. I believe there is no answer because sometimes persistence does not have a reasonable reward, but it doesn’t mean you are not growing and improving.
What’s more, sticking to it often doesn’t work at first- like my first five years of learning piano. I always hated it during this learning period. Honestly, I did not have the slightest love for playing the piano. I participated in many competitions and did not win any outstanding awards. Read more>>

David Gulley | Producer/ DJ/ Label Owner/ Engineer

Easy…… you don’t quit. Read more>>

Sonja Midtune | Artist and Songwriting Lecturer

It’s impossible to know! Sometimes you need to give up and see how you feel. Do you feel more like your self? Do you feel a sense of relief and freedom? If yes, then it was a good idea. However, if you give up and don’t feel like yourself anymore, then get back on it!! I’ve done this a few times and I think it really made me realize that I’m an artist whether I choose to be or not. Read more>>

Qway Starchild | Hip-Hop Artist

Giving up should only be done once, you’ve accomplished so much that you’re tired. As for me, I am far from tired. I truly believe one should never give up. I pursued music, my career is music, and I know that it is a long shot that I’ll actually make it, but I have to try. I have to put all of my energy into it before I fold. If I never make it to the top, I want to at least said that I gave it my all and touched a few spirits along the way. Read more>>

April Walterscheid | Comedian

You have to decide for yourself if you want to keep going. I think about it CONSTANTLY. At this point in life, I’m 36-years-old and can’t keep a regular day job after like 15 years of having 3-4 day jobs. So I have nothing to fall back on and I keep going automatically. Read more>>

Tham Singpatanakul | Producer & Script Reader

I feel like making a decision is such a difficult thing. It requires a lot of factors to determine the choice. When I get older, the factors pile up and get more complicated. And that makes me feel uncomfortable sometimes when I have to finally choose something. Even though there are so many reasons that potentially distract me from the goal, I do believe that the only reason that will surely keep me going on is that I love to do it. It needs to step back for minutes, stay peaceful with myself, and ask myself loudly (yet internally) if I still enjoy doing it. There are times when I feel very discouraged with what I was doing, but once the answer is absolutely I still enjoy working on it, I keep going on with it. And yes I’m still keeping up with my goal to be a successful producer by working on film-related projects almost every day. I would recommend following your heart and you will know whether to keep going or give up. Read more>>

Ivotres Littles | Horror Influencer

It’s hard for me to know whether to keep going or to give up. I’ve been through some horrific things and somehow, I managed to never give up. We all want to do our best in everything we do but it’s not without consequence. I often find myself exhausted and fatigue, because I didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to acknowledge my failures. I know it’s interesting that I associated giving up to failure. But that’s how I’ve always seen it. So, I can never see giving up as an option. Read more>>

Chris Lewis | Actor & Standup

Passion has to met talent in someway or another. I think it’s a delicate balance between being talented enough but also being passionate enough. The work can’t feel like work; it should feel like a pastime. Failure can’t be deal breaker either because failure , for the people with the calling, is just redirection. I think Dave Chappelle said it best, and I’m paraphrasing, but that “being unique trumps talent”. In someway that has to be a factor in manifesting your dreams also. Read more>>`

Audrey Murty | Illustrator & Story Artist

As an illustrator, there have been a lot of moments in my process (and within my career) where I’ve had to ask myself that exact question. There are always so many things to consider (e.g. your time/energy/effort, if the circumstances are favourable, and so on). Most of the time, I’m inclined to keep pushing on because I’m slightly idealistic. Perseverance doesn’t always work out, though. If my gut feeling starts asking me if it’s worth it, I’m the type of person who’ll overthink their choices. I try to talk to other people about it! It’s a good way for me to step back from the situation and consider things I might’ve missed. Breaks can be a good time for me to rethink my goals and my commitment to them. Read more>>

Terrence Murphy | Comedy Legend in the making

That’s a tough question and I think a lot of what it takes when deciding whether to pursue a goal or not just varies from person to person. Honestly, I don’t think quitting is as bad as people make it seem. If you don’t like something that you’re doing, quit that $#@t. That goes for people too. I’ll never understand the amount of frustration or stress people put on themselves doing something they really care nothing about. Now that is much different from giving up on something that you are passionate about or you need to do. Many times I’ve felt the desire to quit from something that I have been passionate about (discouraging things happen) but when I’ve pushed through, I feel like that challenge made all the difference. But to answer the question, deep down I think everyone knows. Read more>>

Dennis Preston Jr. | Preston | Music Producer & Mental Health Advocate

The most important thing is to start. And you don’t have to wait for the “perfect” moment to start because that opportunity may never come. Once you start, keep going so you’ll learn more about the process and about yourself. Sometimes the journey is more valuable than the destination. Even if you fail, you’re able to take those lessons and apply it to the next thing. If you have to quit, make sure you gave your best effort first. If you have to sacrifice your mental or physical health, I believe it’s not worth it to keep going. Read more>>

Drew Talbert | Actor, Writer, Content Creator

I found my recent success at age 44 after over two decades of trying. There were many times I wanted to give up, threatened to give up or fantasized about a life free of the exhaustion of trying to make my dreams come true. Two reasons I never did: (1) As a teenager, I read a Reader’s Digest article about the singer, Jewel, who said she never had a “plan B,” and so there was no option to fail – even if it meant living in her car for a time. I took that advice to heart. And (2) my wife wouldn’t let me quit and continued to believe in me even when I no longer did. So, it’s partly a mindset of never giving up, and partly surrounding yourself with supportive people. I knew I had some talent. I had a few signposts along the way that encouraged me, such as earning a spot in the Groundlings Sunday Company. I felt deep in my heart I had a gift of entertaining people. But beyond that, it’s just simply never, ever giving up. Read more>>