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I am proud to say that I am a quitter. Two years ago I made the decision to not buy another pack of cigarettes, a few months after that, I began to see an improvement in my breathing, and just recently I began to actually like that I made this decision.

I had my first cigarette when I was 13 and for the first several years I would only smoke intermittently, whenever a friend’s older brother would toss us a couple. But by the time I was 20, I was up to a pack a day, a habit I continued until I got pregnant. I quit cold-turkey for 18 months, and then the week after I quit nursing I bought a pack. Five years later I got pregnant with my daughter. Again I quit, and again I picked it back up. With two young children, smoking became my Me Time, my I-deserve-six-minutes-to-myself time. When so much of my day was spent participating in toddler-appropriate activities, smoking reminded me that I was still a grown-up, that I was still me.

I still love grungy clouds of second-hand smoke and the way 100’s look as they slowly burn down. I miss having an excuse to step away from awkward social situations. In all my happiest memories from college there’s a cigarette between my fingertips. Saying good-bye to smoking was saying good-bye to the halcyon days of my youth. But for the sake of Future Kate, it had to be done.

You, too, can and should be a quitter! We’ve all got something we’re struggling with, whether it’s a bad habit, a DIY house remodel, a toxic relationship, or maybe a story you’ve been working on for years that just isn’t going anywhere. It can be incredibly hard to say good-bye to a story or a character you’ve lived with for a long time, but sometimes you have to ask yourself, How beneficial is it for me to continue on with this, really? If you set aside your love for your story, and you stop thinking about what it could be, can you see it for what it actually is? Is hanging on to it helping you reach your literary goals? Or is it holding you back?

Tell me your vices at Kate@KateLanders.com.

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