Don’t Quit on a Bad Day

 

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A freckle-faced junior high student threw his glove in the dirt and stomped off the field. “I’m just not cut out for baseball. I quit.”

Danny had walked every player he’d pitched to the whole game. He had heard enough boo’s and seen more than his share of raised fists to last a lifetime. He was the victim of defeat.

His parents talked to him later that evening, telling him that they’d stand behind him in his decision, but he needed to think about it over the weekend and then talk with them one more time.

They were teaching him a very important lesson: never quit on a bad day.

Writers have days when our stories just don’t come together, when constant interruptions steal our momentum, or the well of creativity seems to have dried up.

A day or two later, we have a good day and are on a high because things just flow together. We swear there isn’t a more wonderful thing to be doing with our time than w.r.i.t.i.n.g.

If we had quit because of a bad day, we would never have experienced the success that was just around the corner.

So, if the agent doesn’t sign us, we don’t win a coveted award, or our sales for the month aren’t what we had hoped for, let’s not give up.

Because

success is waiting for us

just around the corner.

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Do You Have What It Takes?

I am looking forward to watching the summer Olympics. Just days away, I am already planning my evenings to free up a few hours to view the games.

The dedication, the hours of practice, the self-denial of other pleasurable activities—these are just the beginning of what it takes to be an Olympian.

These young athletes didn’t just wake up one day with all the skills necessary to perform at these high levels.

They didn’t read a magazine article, get inspired, and experience instant success.

Their roads have a common thread of self-denial, determination, and hard work…really hard work…for hours, months, years…

Anyone who has achieved a high level of success at anything will tell you it isn’t an easy road.

It isn’t all glamorous.

It often isn’t even fun.

Sounds hard?

Ah, but you said you want to be a writer!

The same rules apply. In fact, we can think of successful writers in much the same way as we do Olympic athletes.

Do you have what it takes?

Drive.

Determination.

Perseverance.                             9001587131_7cd4b8ed82

A thirst for knowledge.

A willing, teachable spirit.

An unstoppable desire to achieve.

Because it will take all that from each of us and more…

Do you possess that innate quality that keeps you going in spite of reading a negative review, hearing a hurtful comment, receiving a rejection letter— and dust yourself off and get back in front of the computer and keep on creating?

As the Olympics unfold, the sports commentators will doubtless refer to the resilience of the human spirit.

No doubt history will be made by those who were told it couldn’t be done.

We will watch as races are won and records are broken.

The events may serve as the basis of a magazine article or the theme for a book.

Writers are sure to be inspired. Energized. Challenged.

Who knows?

You may find your gold medal in a future book deal, a letter to the Editor, or as a guest blogger.

Whatever it is

Whenever you experience it

Be assured

You have the makings of a Champion.

Ten Things To Know Before You Become A Writer

A new acquaintance of mine was intrigued by why I wouldn’t just lay back and enjoy my retirement. “Shouldn’t you be going on a cruise, taking in Broadway plays, or some such leisurely activities?” I must admit that sometimes, when I’m up early to write before anyone else in my house is awake, vacations or just hanging out with some of the Red Hat Ladies does sound like a good idea. But my characters depend on me to give them life and a purpose. So, I grab a second cup of coffee and get on with it. Her followup question, however, is the real reason for my post today. What she asked was this: “What do you have to know to be a writer?” Where do I begin? Figuring she was not so much interested in specifics as she is in just making conversation at a barbecue, this is how I answered:

  1. First of all, you need a desire to write—to tell a story that’s been on your heart and mind for way too long. You need an overwhelming desire to get it down on paper.
  2. You need the desire to communicate. It is more than just writing, per se. It is thinking about the reader. Needing to connect with him/her on some deeper level. It’s that emotional connection that we both crave.
  3. You need to be fairly good in your use of spelling and grammar. (I say “fairly” because of there are so many online helps, such as Spell Check, that make that part of writing easy).
  4. But even those online helps are no substitute for a thorough knowledge of sentence structure and a myriad of other writing skills that go along with that. However, writing skills can be learned. I’m learning every day.
  5. You must be a self-starter, disciplined and persevering. Someone who truly does believe that the only way out of the tangled writing jungle is through writing, writing, and more writing.
  6. When your story calls, you must answer. Whether it is 3 a.m. or midnight, when an idea surfaces, you need to be there to develop it 24/7. This may require you to function, occasionally, on a minimal amount of sleep.
  7. You need to be able to delay immediate gratification for months—even years, sometimes. Writing and publishing take a long, long time. It may take you so long to get that book to market and receive those cherished letters from excited readers that you’ve even forgotten the names of some of your characters!
  8. My back and shoulders are aching today, so I must also remind you that you must be able to sit for long periods of time in front of a computer. Get up every hour and move around for a few minutes to avoid the chiropractic office becoming your home away from home.
  9. This contradicts #6 (above) but you do need sleep. You need to be sharp when you write or you’ll make mistakes. These will eat up precious time in editing and rewriting.
  10. The biggest thing you need to be a writer, though, I saved for the end. You need to be CREATIVE. You can know how to write perfect sentences, free from spelling and grammatical errors, but if you lack creativity, your book won’t be a satisfying read for anyone.

I was going to continue by talking about characters, plot, and setting. However, as I looked into her glazed eyes I could see that I had lost her at about #2. Her sights were now set on the dessert table… Brenda