Based on what former JW's say, making a clean decisive break from the Watchtower is liberating and feels wonderful except for the loss of family and friends who may shun you. If you know the Watchtower is a false religion and that you'll never go back, resigning from the organization might be the best option.
If you decide that trying to fade away gradually won't work for you, then it's far better to write a formal letter of resignation than it is to get disfellowshipped. The next article will explain why.
If you have a very large family that's exceptionally loyal to the Watchtower, this might be a good option, at least temporarily. Trying to fade for a few weeks gives you time to build a support network of new friends outside the organization before resigning. Just make sure you resign before you get disfellowshipped. Resignation is a far better option.
If you choose this option, your JW family, friends, and Elders especially will want to know why you're missing meetings, not going door to door, etc. Your loyalty to the organization will come into question. If you let anyone know about your doubts and disagree with Watchtower teachings even with your closest family or friends, they might betray confidence and report you to the Elders.
Not only will you need to hide from Elders, you'll need to hide your intention to leave the Watchtower from your closest relatives and friends. It won't be easy.
Once you stop going to meetings or miss several of them, the Elders will attempt to make 'shepherding' calls. They will want to meet with you and find out why you're not going to meetings anymore.
The Watchtower secret rule book says Elders are to act 'decisively' when they notice any signs of spiritual weakness.  They will ask you about your doubts or if you disagree with what the Watchtower teaches. They will ask if you believe the Watchtower is God's organization.
If you want to avoid getting disfellowshipped it's best to avoid talking with Elders at all costs, - without completely rejecting their invitations to talk! If you refuse to meet with them, you are rebelling against the organization. Obedience to Elders is required according to the secret rule book.  You can be disfellowshipped for not obeying them!
What can you do? Offer to meet with them 'later'. Make an appointment, then cancel last minute because an emergency came up. Offer to call them in a few days and then forget. Keep making believable excuses for not meeting with them. Tell them you're busy at work, going out of town for a few weeks, too depressed, etc. Change your phone number and address if you can. If they surprise you at your home, office, or in a public place, be glad to see them but appear to be in a rush. Tell them you'd love to spend some time catching up. Indicate that you miss the association, but continue to study the Watchtower in between appointments, etc. ... Most importantly always have something urgent to do that can't wait.
If they quickly ask you if you believe the Watchtower is God's organization, you can say something like, 'Why are you asking me a crazy question like that? I love the truth. Don't you know who you're talking to? I can't believe you asked that, ... etc.' Then make your exit ASAP. Have good excuses prepared. Ask them to call you to set up an appointment but now is not the right time. Avoid answering their calls. If you can use text or email to return their calls, it's better than talking to them on the phone.
If they think you're avoiding them, you're in big trouble. If you feel that fading isn't working, they're not buying your excuses, or they are likely to disfellowship you, it's better to resign first.
Going to a meeting or two to make them happy is risky. Don't do it. They might pull you aside afterwards and interrogate you. If they're trying to arrange a meeting with you, be hard to reach, yet it must appear that you are willing to meet with them soon.
If you can move out of town, preferably where there aren't many JW's that might be an excellent option. If you do that, change your phone number, don't tell any JW's your real street address, email address or whereabouts. You might tell everyone that you're moving to one city, but change your mind and move to another.
Lying to people is never a good thing, even though the Watchtower teaches that theocratic warfare (theocratic lying) does much good.  Fading away is not easy but if you think it will work, and you're not ready to resign right now, you could try it until you see you can't go any further with excuses not to meet with Elders.
If you're unemployed, retired, or are financially able to move from city to city for a while, this might be an idea. Of course you will need to isolate yourself from your JW family and friends while you're travelling. You will be essentially just as isolated as you would be if you resign, plus you'll be on the run.
Remember that Elders will be talking with your family and friends asking about you. If it's obvious you're hiding, you can get disfellowshipped and not even know it.
Leaving the Watchtower without being noticed is much harder today than it was thirty or more years ago. Since 1952 when disfellowshipping first began, Elders would always question your loyalty to the organization but in the early days they gave up easily. It was much easier to fade. Today the Watchtower is training Elders to aggressively pursue and take action against members who slow down even a little, - especially those you who stop being active all together.
If you decide to fade away, you will expend a lot of energy hiding. You will also need to avoid contact with family members and friends in the organization. Elders are very likely to be persistent about meeting with you and may not buy your excuses after a couple of times. In addition, JW's might see you with 'worldly' friends, or going into places JW's don't normally go. In the end, after all that effort to keep your family and relationships together, you may lose them anyway.
Even if you're able to fade away, how close of a relationship can you have with your family inside the organization? As long as you are no longer going to meetings, door to door, and supporting the organization 100%, all your relationships will be strained at best. You will find yourself spending less time with family members and friends because seeing them results in too much stress or conflict.
It takes a brave person to leave the Watchtower and never look back. Millions have done it. If your family and friends miss you enough, they can have a relationship with you by leaving the organization or rebelling against it. If they continue to shun you, then that says a lot about their priorities.
If you decide to formally resign before they disfellowship you, you can be proud of your strength, integrity, and honesty. If you love people, you will make many new friends outside the organization. Some of your new friendships will grow. With time, some of your new friends will become more supportive and loving than your own blood family.
God bless you in whatever path you choose to take.
1. Watchtower Secret Rule Book, Shepherd the Flock of God
2. Why does the Watchtower use the very negative term 'apostate' when referring to JW's who leave their religion? See Apostate Strategy
3. Getting reinstated is not easy. There are lots of hoops to jump through. You will need to sincerely repent of your 'wrong doing' even if you're only sin was disagreeing with the Watchtower.
4. Theocratic Lies. Spiritual warfare against non believers, apostates, and even JW's