Why Writers Should Never Quit: 3 Lessons from Aesop’s Fables

Face it, writing is hard. Some days are frustrating. Others, out right impossible. But those are the days when you need to hit the keyboard (hopefully to type, not smash it to bits) and keep trying anyway because someone out there is waiting for your story.

Every piece you write is like planting a tree. At first your orchard looks like just a few twigs in the ground. But one day, you’ll have a fruit-laden forest.

On those days (or weeks, or months) when writing looks impossible, remember these 3 age-worn Aesop’s Fables to help you keep writing.

The Crow and the Pitcher


Once upon a time on a blistering summer day, a parched crow found a pitcher with water at the bottom. However, despite his best effort, the crow couldn’t reach the water with his beak. The cunning crow then invented a plan.

The crow left in search of pebbles. He carried the pebbles, one by one, to the pitcher and dropped them into the pool of thirst-quenching water. With each splash, the pebbles raised the water–a bit here, a bit there.

After hours of work, the crow earned his reward. The water had risen high enough for his beak to reach. The parched crow took a long, satisfying drink.

For writers, “success”–whether that be publication, readership, income, etc.–can seem like unreachable water sitting at the bottom of the pitcher. Don’t despair. Every time you write, or read, or study, you drop another pebble into that pitcher.

Keep writing. Add just one more story to your pool. Write even on the days you don’t feel like writing.

With persistence, success will come.

The Tortoise and the Hare


Everyone knows the story of the tortoise and the hare–how the shell-laden, plodding tortoise won a race against the fastest creature in the forest. How? While the arrogant ┬áhare–certain of his own success–stopped to nap, the tortoise pressed onward.

The tortoise broke no world records, but he finished the race. He succeeded.

You’ve certainly heard this tale of patience and endurance, but do you believe it? Can something so slow yet steady really win a race?

Yes. Yes it can.

Just as a profession as a brain surgeon or Broadway dancer requires years of dedicated study and practice, becoming a professional writer takes time. Don’t give up when your first story or article gets rejected. Keep writing.

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

Ever looked at another writer and found yourself drooling with jealous at their success? A mouse dwelling in the countryside once felt the same.


When the country mouse’s city-folk cousin came to visit, the cousin scoffed at the country-dweller’s simple life. The cousin told of his own life in the city, which sound much more extravagant and exciting.

Enchanted by his cousin’s tale, the country mouse left to explore the city–only to discover city life wasn’t all it was chalked up to be. Angry dogs broke up the mice’s kingly meal and chased the frightened mice through the town.

Returning home, the country mouse at last recognized the happiness he had all along.

No matter how skilled or renowned a writer you become, there is always someone with “more success.” Stop comparing yourself to others. Instead, find gratitude in what you do have.

For me, I find fulfillment whenever a reader enjoys a story. Every individual counts.

Whatever your ranking on the bestsellers list, smile and keep writing.


Esther Davis writes family-friendly science fiction and fantasy. Her first book, A Dog, 3 Cats, and a Dragon, publishes August 1st. You can read her short stories on Kindle or her blog. Subscribe to this blog or follow her on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram.

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Filed under Writing Tips

2 responses to “Why Writers Should Never Quit: 3 Lessons from Aesop’s Fables

  1. Some really good comparisons and advice on this post, Esther. I personally think your town and city mouse comparison is the most valuable of the lot. Not necessarily in terms of writing technique, but in terms of lifestyle habits. Constant comparison to someone else or something else is an effective method for giving yourself a self esteem problem, and that will not only impair your writing but have a huge impact on life. Practicing writing and learning the craft isn’t about being as good as so and so. It is about being the best you can be. And the perseverance of the crow and the non-complacency of the tortoise are good analogies for getting there

  2. jmwwriting

    These are really great parables for the writing struggle. I especially like the first one. Writing is as much about experience as it is about talent or skill. The more you write, the better you’ll get. Plain and simple.

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