Friday, March 2, 2012

When Everything Isn't Coming Up Roses...

Okay, so my husband is a huge fan of sports. Football, basketball, hockey, baseball, golf, even bowling. But especially football. So a few weeks ago, he's reading this book about Vince Lombardi and we're sitting at my son's eighth grade recreational league basketball game, where they're in the race for first.

And I say, "I don't like how competitive sports are. It makes me nervous."

And he gets all giddy, and he's like, "I just read a quote on that. Here," and hands me the book.

Now, I don't read for educational purposes, but I read the passage from the Vince Lombardi book. I don't really remember what it said, but the gist was that competition makes us into men. (Or something.)

So as always, I relate this experience to my life. And right now, I'm doing the publishing thing, so that's where my mind goes.

I think we all know that just because someone has an agent, or a book deal, or whatever, doesn't mean they won't experience setbacks. Loss. Frustration. And/or disappointment.

Oh, the disappointment.

So I've had a rough couple of months, and a few weeks later, I'm sitting at the championship basketball game for my son, and they win. There's this big celebration, and parents are taking pictures, and my eyes are roaming this ghetto junior high gym, and what do I see?

A quote by Vince Lombardi:
I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.

And I thought, "YES! I am exhausted on the publishing field of battle. I have been victorious in the past. Can this be my finest hour? Can I be victorious again?"

I honestly don't know. But I'm determined to "work my heart out in a good cause" and see where it takes me.

I went home, and I'm taking these:

Some of you know my daughter did a lemonade stand for Valentine's Day.
We used 6 lemons to make the 1 cup of juice needed for the lemonade. I cut, she squeezed.

And I'm trying to make this:

This is my daughter's lemonade stand. I made a simple syrup to make that pink lemonade. It was delicious! And my favorite part of her sign? The happy face. It makes me smile every time.

Because sometimes life and publishing seems to throw nothing but lemons. We may feel like we're fighting the good fight. We're exhausted on the field of battle. And there's still only lemons.

There are a thousand reasons to be sour. But by taking a simple syrup, you can make that sour into something delicious.

And that's what I'm going to do.

So. Are you making lemonade right now? Fighting the good fight? Or are you just exhausted?

Also, do you like how I went from sports, to Vince Lombardi quotes, to publishing, to lemonade? Because that was an epic chain of thought. Ha!


LM Preston said...

Wonderfully the doors in publishing are opening wider for authors. And unlike athletes (or maybe we are 'Free Agents') we can mold our career the way we want to. But now owning something means having to work double hard at reaching realistic goals. In the end though, isn't writing a big part of what we love? So take a moment and just focus on that.

Bethany Myers said...

I enjoy your refreshing take on the ups and downs of this business. Your commentaries are always sincere with a nice touch of humor. Thanks again, Elana. Now I'm going to make my own LEMANADE.

Christina Lee said...

*squeeze squeeze squeeze* I'm trying! :D Love this post!

Bonnie R. Paulson said...

It's eerie sometimes how you seem to know what I'm feeling. I'm having the same issue. And I would love a glass of lemonade, but I'm not sure I have the strength... you know? Thanks for the post, I needed it. Have a great day.

Laura Pauling said...

It takes true talent to combine sports, lemons and publishing in the same post. :)

Miriam Forster said...

Aww, I'm sorry you are making lemonade lately! *sends extra suger*

Also, you forgot to put flailing and running in circles on your list...

*flails* *runs in circles*

AE Rought said...

I was fighting the good fight, grew exhausted and weary of the battle beyond measure. To ease the wounded soul, I pulled myself up from the battlefield and wrote what *I* wanted to. And then finally... I should have news very soon ~_^

Pamela Toler said...

This was just what I needed to read this morning. Thank you.

Leigh Ann said...

Um...I'm thinking...maybe...victorious? In a sad sort of way?

I'm 2/3 of the way through my query list for MS #2, and just got to the point where I really, truly realized that this MS might not make it, either. And then I remembered how I didn't die when I put MS #1 in a drawer, and realized that, hey! I probably won't die if the same thing happens to this one. Or the next one. Or the one after that.

It's a sort of morbid invincibility, but it's letting me merrily delete form Rs now. So. That's a small sort of victory, yes?

Great post. It made me feel a little bummed for you, though. Hope you're okay. <3

Matthew MacNish said...

Is your husband a Broncos fan?

I love how you always have the most inspiring attitude about everything.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I love football and books and I would like to like lemonade but it doesn't like me. I think there are absolutely times when we are beaten down, but the true measure of character is what we are willing to do to get back up. And then, when I turn around and see what I've accomplished, it's always way more than I ever thought I could.

Christine Fonseca said...

I am exhausted. And I am trying to see the lemonade around me and not get stuck with the lemons. Hugs and I love the positive attitude! It means everything. Always

Connie Keller said...

Thanks so much for the encouragement!! I'm getting up off the ground and I'm mixing up some simple syrup.

John Waverly said...

I've been inspired by many a Vince Lombardi quote over the years. I'm not that into sports and I'm not particularly good at them, but he has way of turning a phrase so that it hits me hard and sinks deep inside me. You hear a lot of his quotes about winning, because that's what he was always focused on. But he also knew that losing any particular game was just part of winning the next one and he has a lot of quotes for that too. Here are a few of my favorites:

"It's easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you're a winner, when you're number one. What you got to have is faith and discipline when you're not a winner."

"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up."

"Once you agree upon the price you and your family must pay for success, it enables you to ignore the minor hurts, the opponent's pressure, and the temporary failures."

I really like that last one.

Callie Leuck said...

That was DEFINITELY an epic chain of thought. Nice transitions :)

Very uplifting, overall!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You know I'm borderline exhausted right now!

Marta Szemik said...

Part of publishing, no matter which way you do it, indie or traditional unfortunately includes luck. Many Big authors have been rejected hundreds of times before getting their break. Many just decided to put their fate in their own hands and self published. But I believe those who persevere and can squeeze a gallon out of one lemon will eventually get their chance at luck:)
Very nice post!

Meredith said...

Love it! I want to leave it all out on that battlefield. And make lemonade. :) What a cute lemonade stand!

Journaling Woman said...

Life is in general exhausting. About the time you think you have it figured out, you don't. Just saying.

I'm in a funk. My former in-laws lost both homes on their property to the recent MO tornadoes. This same tornado that killed a woman and injured many a mile away. But, they are alive. At nearly 90 years old, they will have hope too- once the shock wears off.

That's what keeps up coming back--the hope after the disappointments.

Keep on trucking, Elana.


Kelly Hashway said...

This post was perfect for me because I've been writing the final book in the Touch of Death trilogy, and even though I'm so excited about the series coming out and I should be jumping up and down shouting from rooftops, I'm scared. I'm worrying about whether readers will like the books, and it made the final book more difficult to write. I was exhausted.

But... I just finished the draft and now I'm taking time to be proud of myself. I worked my butt off to get here. I need to remember that and enjoy it.

Thanks, Elana. I needed this. :)

ilima said...

The other night my husband got the impression, while praying, that I need to be more confident. I feel surrounded by lemons all the time, but am doing what I can to add some "ade" to that stuff. And I am impressed with your thought train. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

This is an awesome post and one I needed to hear today. Because sometimes I feel sour about my whole job situation. I need to focus on the sweet of it. It's hard to do. And is hard with agents and publishing too.

I hope you're not facing too many setbacks with your new book. Because we can't wait to read it in our house. And my daughter is expecting a pre-order of it (already done) for her birthday. And even if getting published hasn't worked out exactly as planned, you are an awesome writer as is your first book.

Angela Brown said...

So, here you are, a published author and you've got everything that someone on the outside looking in wants. You've got the agent, a published novel, a sequel on a way and...there are still lemons.

This is why I like visiting your blog, yours and Brodi Ashton. You both have no qualms about making sure to share the highs and the lows and the dull drums of the publishing path. Having this awareness prepares an aspiring mind for the imperfections of the publishing road ahead.

I'm glad you're going to take those lemons and make some lemonade. Funny, cause that's part of my description on my Twitter profile. I'm ever squeezing lemons, cause they seem plentiful around me (lol!!!!!) and making lemonade. Staying sour's no good.

Laura Marcella said...

Hmmm, good thing I'm not a competitive person because I definitely don't want to turn into a man.

Hope you have a great weekend, Elana! ;)

Marsha Sigman said...

Loved that quote and I'm staying in the fight!!

I would also like a glass of lemonade, please.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Definitely epic chain of thought!

Can I choose I'm making lemonade while fighting the good fight, and it's exhausting me?

Wait, what? I can't have my lemonade and drink it, too? But that's why I made so much, right?

Jenny S. Morris said...

My brain usually works this way, hopping from one thing to another. And I am totally making lemonade at the moment. Cheers!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

That WAS an epic chain of thought - my brain does the same thing. And I think lying exhausted on the field of battle describes most of my life. That's how you know you LIVED it. ;)

Patti said...

I'm trying to make lemonade, but it needs more sugar.

Anna Soliveres said...

Thanks for the inspiring and motivating words, Elana!

I too have moments where I just feel defeated. I recently wrote in my blog about a moment I reflect on to help remind me that I've triumphed over harder times in my life.

Thanks again!

Anna Soliveres

Leigh Covington said...

This is so true. Without struggle, we can't truly appreciate success.
I'm glad you're making lemonade. Right now, I'm still at the grocery store, hoping nobody throws too many lemons in the cart :)

Janet Johnson said...

Vince Lombardi said a lot of really cool things in his life. It always makes me wonder how some people just seem to spout quotables left and right with ease . . . but as for what you said, Lemonade for sure! I tip my glass to you. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

There are a lot of really awesome Lombardi quotes - I've used a few in my class. I love this won. Sometimes the battle really is the victory in itself. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

This is awesome stuff, Elana. Just what I need as I head into the weekend.

Heather said...

I'm in there fighting the good fight with you sweetie! You're not in this battle alone. There are many of us pulling for you and I have no doubt you will be victorious. :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

I'm exhausted but that's more from giving birth 8 days ago and recovering from a stomach bug. I'm hoping to be ready to start querying a new project in a month.

June G said...

Oh, Elana. You're always on the pulse of the frustrated, angst-ridden, worn out and discouraged writer! I'm not published, but I'm at a point that I just feel exhausted with the whole writing thing-yet I have to keep going--agh! Thanks for always being there with the truth. It's appreciated more than you know.

Theresa Milstein said...

Inspirational Vince Lombardi quote.

I'm still fighting the good fight.

Nichole Giles said...

You are excellent at epic chains of thought. Also, I equate sports with writing all the time! And I love that quote.

I know you will fight the good fight. Always, always fight. Just as I will.

No matter how exhausted we get, there are some of us who will keep trying to get to that place, no matter how drained we become.

You are an inspiration to me. You WILL have lots and lots of success. And so will I. Then we'll sign at a table together. That is all.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Good quote!

Write because you love it. Because you can't NOT do it. But most of all, because it is worth the doing of it.

What we do is important, Elana. Never forget that. :-)

Leslie Rose said...

Lemons also make you regular so that's another reframe for lemon conversion. I did enjoy the flow of your post.

L.T. Elliot said...

Dude, I'm on the field of battle. And I'm getting whupped. But I'm not dead yet (*snicker*) and I'm still fighting the...good/bad?...fight!

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