Thursday, May 24, 2012

Giving Up on Giving Up

By T.J. 

Back in December 2010, I went to a book signing with a few authors in attendance, including Julie Wright. My wife and I were in the middle of a conversation with Julie when at some point she told me that I'll be published one day.

First, this struck me as odd. I really wanted to say "How on earth do you know, have you read the crap I write?" Instead, I responded with, "Yeah, I've made the goal to give up on giving up." Julie laughed and said she loved that phrase. (I'd also bet Julie doesn't recall this conversation, but it's all good, cause I do.)

There are two pieces of important thoughts here.  First, Julie Wright told me I would be published and have my own book signings and such. Why would she say that since she never has read (besides my faux-LDS-reality-blog posts) anything I've written? That was something that bothered me for a while.

Like when someone tells me I'm such a great guy or so kind or so nice or blah blah blah. I know they mean it as a compliment, but they've given me an expectation on the type of person they expect to see every time they see me.

But in all honesty, what Julie and these people are telling me is that they have faith in me. They believe that I will have not only the skill, but the drive to get there. It's not just my writing skill, it's my ability to finish that she was playing toward. (I could be totally wrong, but oh well.)

So, the other thought here is my goal to give up on giving up. I've started so many different stories in my life I don't dare guess that figure. I'm an accountant, I'd have to find the actual number or I'd feel like a liar.

But giving up is something I've been so good at. I've given up at so many things in my life, writing is just one of them. One day, though, I decided I had to finish writing this book (the one I'm still revising). I did not give up and I've written and rewritten the story so many times it's not even funny. 

As it comes to the four other projects I have going on, I've decided to not give up on any of them. I'm going to keep them in the works and try to do something with them every month until one of them takes on the new priority. But for now, I have to keep my current WIP in the priority slot or it'll never get finished.

Speaking of that, recently, I was working on the revisions for chapter 3, trying to figure out how to make it a little better and a little truer to the character and theme. But in doing so I thought to myself, I should just give up. Well, just the other day, I got a critique of my first 2 chapters from writing buddy Julie Daines. (I have a lot of Julies in my writing life, I guess.) And even though she tore some things to pieces, the one thing she reminded me was that I have the story.

The story is there and I know it's compelling. And really, all the red marks she put in the critique are simple fixes. Yeah, some are LESS simple than others. But it all boils down to changing from this style to that style. My character has his style, I've just removed it from him on occasion to be authory. I need to let my character tell the story and me just get it down for him.

So, I was reminded (even recently) that I need to give up on giving up.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

7 comments:

Nissa Annakindt said...

Wow, very inspirational blog post! It's so hard sometimes not to feel like giving up because a lot of us can be too self-critical just in the phase when we need to ignore the inner critic and get on with the writing.

I'm glad I discovered this blog, I'm adding it to my blogroll.

Leslie Pugh said...

I love that phrase! I might just have to print that out and post it in my office because I could use a reminder like that daily.

T.J. said...

Thank you both for the awesome comments.

It is definitely one of my favorite phrases that I've come up with.

T.J. said...

Thank you both for the awesome comments.

It is definitely one of my favorite phrases that I've come up with.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Thanks. After a crazy week, fatigued and generally disgusted with life in general, I needed this reminder that I also need to set a goal to give up on giving up.

Harvest Moon is really calling though. ;)

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SLYMSO.
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He's the one with RUSEFER and " Sympathy for the DEVELE".

Stephanie Black said...

One of my favorite writing quotes is from Jack Bickham (and I'm probably messing up the quote, since I'm too lazy to go look it up and get the exact wording, but this is the idea): "I don't know any writers who failed. I know many who quit."