Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Don't Give Up


Okay, so step two on the mantra is: Don't Give Up.

This is crucial. Because, seriously, if you haven't already, you're going to feel like giving up. Sometimes several times a day. Or even several times an hour.

It's inevitable.

So what do you do when you feel like giving in? Sure, you're already working hard. You're reading blogs and practicing, critiquing and reading trade books. Yet, that voice that says, "You should just quit." seems so. Loud.

What I did: I found a safe place to say that. It could be your spouse. In an email to a dear friend. Your mom. Your crit group. Wherever.

But I believe that those feelings shouldn't be ignored or shushed. Say it. Say it out loud. (Holy vampires! Are you snarfing out loud? Cuz I am.) Say it, mean it, talk about it, but don't do it.

Don't give up.

And when you do, find that one person who can keep you going for just one more day. And then one more. And then one more...

So what do you do when you feel like giving up? (I close the lappy and turn on Pirates of the Caribbean. No, really. I do. I might make a batch of caramel popcorn and curl up under a blanket. It's my thing.)

Who do you turn to for help? Have you ever quit something and now you regret it? Does that keep you laboring down this long and winding publishing road?

28 comments:

Abby Annis said...

When I feel like giving up, I have to walk away for a while--read a book, watch TV, hang out with my husband and kids. But I always come back. Partly because I love it, and partly because all my other creative endeavors have fizzled out before I completed them, and I'm determined to see this one through.

And my husband is awesome for getting me back on track when I'm ready to bolt. :) Great post!

Lisa and Laura said...

When I feel like giving up I just call Laura. She always yells at me and tells me to get back to work. It helps.

Marybeth Poppins said...

hahaha Say it out loud! VAMPIRE! LOL Love it!

I usually try to deny that I feel like quitting because I don't want to seem too whiny. Cuz it I said it out loud it might end up being every other day!

Vampire Vampire Vampire...um I mean I want to quit I want to quit I want to quit.

But I won't. I'm too dedicated. And watching everyone score agents lately, although it's made me jealous, it's only fueled my need to make it myself. So no vampires for me! Crap...I mean quitting!

(I kinda feel offended by blogger that my word verification was "whorsey"!)

Scott said...

I turn to my friend Suzi - Miss Tell it Like it Is - whenever I feel like giving up. Why? Well, she tells it like it is. Trust me, we only see each other once a year, or once every two years and she can be brutal. "OMG, you look like crap, you need to gain weight." Yes, she told me that once. I listened. "OMG, what the heck did you do to your hair. Don't ever do that again." Yeah, that experiment wasn't pretty, not at all. "You are so talented." Yeah, she said that too. So, when I'm down . . . I turn to her because I know she'll be brutally honest with me, won't hold back, and will put me right back on the writing track.

S

Valerie Geary said...

I take my doubts to my sister. She is my greatest and loudest cheerleader (literally... she's loud and I love her for it). She listens to my concerns and then she reminds me that I'm the bomb-diggity and everything goes back to normal. :) Also... if the voices in my head are getting to be too loud I have to stop reading other people's blogs (well except yours of course!)... I start thinking "when's it going to be my turn? blah blah blah". So counterproductive. I could be spending that time writing!

Christina Lee said...

You mean like right now? LOL! I have to walk away for a couple of days-- and absolutely NOT read any books whose beautiful prose blow me away and make me feel like I suck :):)

Tere Kirkland said...

Perseverance comes easier when you love what you're doing. It's hard to remember what you love about writing during the editing, querying and revision stages, though.

My blogger friends help remind me, though. Thanks, y'all!

Kristi said...

I haven't felt like giving up yet but I also haven't started the query process for my YA - so maybe that'll change in a few months. I'm in the endless revising loop right now. My hubby, siblings, and critique groups are so supportive and encouraging which helps as well. The success stories such as yours give me hope :)

Stephanie L. McGee said...

I've abandoned this baby once before. I gave up on it. I won't do that again. At this point it feels like I'm so close to finishing that I can almost taste it. And that's a good feeling since I've technically been working on this project since I was in high school.

That promise of finally being done with such a long-standing project is what is keeping me going at the moment.

Carolyn V. said...

You're right, I think we all get to the point where we want to give up. I read blogs from my awesome writing friends. Then I feel like I can keep going on.

Kat Harris said...

The urge to give up is so compelling sometimes.

This is a great post.

Just by writing this, Elana, you are letting people know they aren't alone in their doubts, and that in itself is a HUGE amount of encouragement.

Tara McClendon said...

I have two people I call. Both are adament that I should pursue my goal of publishing my novel. Sometimes I watch Harry Potter or Twilight. And some days, I have a good cry. It all helps.

Bethany Wiggins said...

I give up. And swear off writing. I know, not the answer you were hoping for. And then after a few days of wallowing I'll decide to just give it one more week, whatever it is I gave up on (new novel, querying, whatever) and that's when I call my sister and say, "Do you really think it's worth it? And she always says yes. And I've gotten farther than I ever thought possible.

L.T. Elliot said...

An excellent post, Elana. It's so hard not to give up. Part of me really, really wants to.

PJ Hoover said...

Persistence is the name of the game, isn't it.
Great post, Elana!

Katie Ganshert said...

such good, good, good advice, my friend!

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Encouragement like this is roast beef at the dinner table. Good.

I eat ice cream or play my music really, REALLY loud. Then I call my mom.
~ Wendy

Jaime Theler said...

When I feel like that I pull out a good book - one of those ones that I will neglect my children for - and read it. Not to critique it or dissect it or see how the author did this or that, but just to enjoy it and get lost in the story. I have to fall in love with books again.

And then sometimes I just have to go run around a lot or dance. You know, let it. out.

WindyA said...

I have a few writerly peeps I mention it to. They "get" it. Then we have a vent session and then I'm off the ledge.

Or I tell my husband. He listens (neutrally) then always says that if I quit he'd go crazy. He says I NEED my writing to vent into or I'd go crazy too.

Jemi Fraser said...

I read. Sometimes a book I've been waiting eagerly for, sometimes an old fave. I take a few days off of writing and try to relax

ali said...

Absofreakinlutely.

I grew up being a quiter. My MOM's mantra was "I don't care--it's your life." Thanks Mom.

Taught me to be a really good quitter. When the going gets tough. I quit.

At least, I used to.

I had to learn how NOT to be a quitter when I grew up and there were things I wanted but that were dang hard. No room for quitters there.

So now I pretty much motivate myself. I only have to think about my Mom and how she quit everything too, how when she died she regreted every single thing she'd given up.

I keep going because well, of MY mantra, lol. "Go big, or go home."

I'd much rather have tried and failed than never have tried at all. For reals. Oh sure, I like to self-medicate with a good book and lots of chocolate. Who doesn't? (Pirates rock) But in the end ... it's my own need to not have any regrets when I leave this world that keeps me going even when I think I'm stinkier than a bucket full of week-old fish.

Paul said...

I think persistance does play a large part in this writing/publishing world. And yes, not giving up is key, as are taking breaks when you need them, putting a project on the back shelf when it's not productive to work on it. I resigned from my job to write full-time so I sort-of treat it as my job. I'm not sure where it's gonna take me. No guarantees but I'm enjoying the journey.

beth said...

But....that's the hardest part!!!


(no, really, it is!)

Jen Chandler said...

I feel like giving up at least once a minute :) Especially as I'm editing and finding more and more things I'm unsure of. When I hit those moments, I plow through. When they threaten to overwhelm me, I stop, take a deep breath, and go do something else. Something crafty with my hands that does not involve writing. Like sewing or playing with clay! Or if I'm at work (which is where I usually am), I'll go research food blogs :)

Happy Wednesday!
Jen

christine said...

Thank goodness for great friends - cause these days, I want to quit every hour at times!

Little Ms J said...

I usually send my sister an email "Pep Talk Please" and then whine for four or five paragraphs. Without fail I get something back with everything I need to hear and I take a breath and get back to work. This was a great post, chicklet. I needed to see this today.

Carrie Harris said...

Holy vampires? Hee. I'm still chuckling at that, so I have nothing useful to say.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Can't say I'm ready to give up yet. That's not who I am. I didn't get this far in life by giving up. Okay, I've hit my head against the wall a few times, but that's about it.

See Elana's recent blog posts

Recent Posts Widget