Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Success is in the journey


I fell into my own personal meltdown last week. I decided to quit writing fiction because of a rejection.

Pretty stupid huh? Especially since I'm the glass-is-half-full kind of person. I even expected this particular rejection. Knew it was coming. Not a surprise at all.

So what happened?

Fortunately I'm reading one of my husband's books for school called No Excuses. I wanted to keep up with him so I read another chapter. The point?

Our success is in the journey.

As long as I keep writing, I'm already a success.

Now back up. After a nice crying jag, I tried to imagine life without writing. Really tried. Thought about taking up something easier. Something that would fulfill me.

And you know what happened. I'm still here. Trying to remember that I am successful in my trying. In my journey. And what a journey it is.

When was the last time you wanted to quit? What turned you back on the path?

44 comments:

Lin Floyd said...

I think after I submitted 14 poems to a statewide contest and won nothing. Then after talking to others that had submitted for years before winning anything, I decided to keep trying.

Heckety said...

I'm sorry you felt that way last week. From what I've read though, the thing about REAL writers is that they just can't not write. So that definately makes you a real writer. And keeping trying is good too, because from what I've ever seen often its the folks who have struggled with 'stuff' who are the most effective witnesses and helpers, and also the most willing to give. Seems to me you do all these things every time you write a post ...

Jennifer Shirk said...

My very first rejection, I thought maybe writing wasn't for me. And I had given it up--for about a week. Then I got another idea and just had to write and try again. LOL

Lynda Schab said...

Been there, done that! Just a couple weeks ago, in fact. But, Terri, you are an excellent writer (as your publishing successes - including a gazillion Chicken Soup stories - can attest)!

The simple truth: We are writers. We can't NOT write.

Hugs to you and kudos for keepin' on keepin' on. :-)

P.S. Feel free to kick me in the pants the next time I blog about quitting (I'm sure it will come). :-)

Diane said...

You are successful because you are still going, still trying. Hugs to you and so glad you are back on track! :O)

paulgreci said...

That's a great thing to remember, that success is simply being on the journey. That you only have control over your writing on the journey not over how people respond to it. Thanks, Terri!

Jessica Nelson said...

Oh no! :-( I'm feeling you so much. Yesterday I got another form rejection. Sadly, it was identical to the one I'd received three years ago from the same agency. Which made me wonder if I'd improved at all, and if my writing/query is worth anything.
I didn't cry but I've been wanting to.
*Big Hugs*

You're so right about this being a part of the journey. And we're successful as long as we don't quit. Once we quit, then we've stopped being successful, I think. Anyway, you're a great writer! Keep querying because someone out there is going to LOVE your work and it only takes that one agent to get your foot in the door.

Jody Hedlund said...

Glad you're not quitting! And I think you're right to just continue to seek out ways to push yourself to the next level!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Days after my dad died, when I'd taken a break from writing, I was afraid I'd lose my passion for it--afraid I couldn't or wouldn't get back on the horse.

Yee Ha!

Glad you're riding alongside me!
~ Wendy

Heidi Willis said...

Oh Terri! I feel for you! I was in that place so many times... and I remember the last one, when I thought my heart truly broke and I was done. And less than a month later I got a contract with a publisher.

God's timing and plan for our lives is perfect, even if it's not what we would have scripted. And He is less concerned with a published book than the book you are writing with your life.

Sometimes you need to let the journey be enough. The rest will follow.

Lynn said...

Success is the journey, it is in the action, it is still placing one foot in front of the other. For me, I have to try to remember it is not about the outcome, it is in the doing. Having a son with special needs has taught me this. But, honestly, sometimes I don't BELIEVE my own words.

I've given up wanting to want a few times, and closing my heart. But God keeps tugging me. Now I'm in the process of breaking down the walls.

From what I've read of you Tiffany, you're out there, and that is a success! I'm glad your still pursuing what God has placed in your heart. Blessings.

Warren Baldwin said...

Just think of it as taking a break for a few days. Then say, "Ok, break if over," and jump back in. Little episodes like this can be good for us b/c it does cause us to reassess and recommit, which gives fresh energy. Good luck!

Yolanda said...

Great question, and I'm so thankful that in the melt-downs, God is so faithful to not let go of my hand, or yours.

With love,
Yolanda

Carolyn said...

I love your blog. I am a mom and grandma who is an aspiring writer. I can’t say aspiring writer also, since I’ve only had stories published in Sunday School periodicals – that’s it. I shared some of my poetry on my blog and my husband said “You could write country music songs.” Considering how I feel about country music, I’m not sure if that was a slap in the face or a pat on the head. Anyway, I’ll take it as a pat on the head and continue writing. Thanks for your inspiration to stay on the journey even if it ends up as a country music song – at least in my husband’s head!

Julie Jarnagin said...

I think a lot of us have that reaction after a rejection letter. It's like someone just insulted our baby. I gave up writing once, and it gave me a whole new perspective on my dream. I'm happy to be back.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

When you talked about how you thought of life without writing, I smiled. It was easy for me to let go of other activities to make time for this one. The others did not fulfill my need to communicate God's love and faithfulness.

One of the reasons I like writing non-fiction in addition to fiction is the affirmation of my writing. It fuels me for the long-term projects.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jan Cline said...

about 15 minutes ago. But I wont and I knew you wouldn't either. You are too smart not to figure out you needed to keep going. Sometimes we have to come to the place where we encourage ourselves. A renewed sense of purpose has to be birthed in our spirit by remembering the truth about our God and our gift. I will remember you when I feel like quitting.

Maria I. Morgan said...

So glad you didn't give up, Terri! For me, it was probably the day I got the rejection from The Upper Room - after all, my devo was pretty good, or so I thought! After letting my husband read it, and give me objective feedback, I realized the piece wasn't as great as I had initially thought! It's back to the writing table!! God bless!

Janna Qualman said...

I haven't been scared into the quitting yet, but scared into thinking I'm no good.

You're right! We have to focus on the journey, and remember success doesn't always lie where we expect it to.

I'm so glad you're not giving up.

Susan said...

At times, when money is short, I feel like quitting writing. But that feeling doesn't last for long. What propels me back to writing is the same thing that helps us want to breathe....life! My life without writing would be somber, indeed. Susan

Jackie said...

Uh.....about 5 minutes ago!!!

Needed YOUR WRITING this morning.....your words blessed and encouraged me.

"Trying to remember that I'm successful in my trying." This really spoke to me, Terri!

Thus, if I quit - there will never be ANY possibility of success - nada, zilch, none!! Duh!!! So, I'm gonna put my meltdown in check and keep trying......Hallelujah!!

Thanks so much for sharing your journey!!

Sweet Blessings!
Jackie

Karen Lange said...

Yes, it's a marathon, not a sprint, and I am glad you aren't quitting. There's things I feel like giving up on almost daily, but I know that the alternative is not where I want to or think I should be. Happy that you've decided to keep moving forward:)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Success is in the Journey. It sounds like something Jesus would say. He had a rough journey, too.

Last time I seriously wanted to quit was on a plane trip to my Dad's funeral last June. I poured out my heart to the Lord as we zooomed above the clouds. A few weeks later my agent offered to represent me. I've since finished my second book and have had two stories published in anthologies.

Satan often tempts us hardest right before the greatest victories. He may sense we're about to score agaist his team, and he's trying to get us out of the game.

Your touchdown is coming, Terri. Or your hole in one, or goal, or basket...

I love you. God will get you there. You're a gifted writer with a heart full of grace. Please don't give up on yourself.

Analisa said...

Jeanette really put it all together for me. If you love it keep at it. When you feel like you wanna break down give yourself a time limit. Ok I can feel sorry for myself for 2 hours and that is all I get...now back to work.

I love the way u write :)

Connie Arnold said...

Rejection seems to be a part of writing. It is a journey, and what keeps me on the path is the inspiration from God and feedback from readers to whom my writing makes a difference. Blessings to you as you keep on writing!

Kara said...

Rejection really makes me question what the heck I'm doing. But then I think that as long as I enjoy it I'm going to keep doing it:) I'm so glad you didn't stop writing either!!

T. Anne said...

During the first five minutes of every rejection! Then reality sets in and I realize that no I can't quite I'm too far gone to even try. Sounds like we're sewn from the same cloth. Pereservere my dear! XOXOX

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Sometimes it's tempting, huh? I'm glad you didn't!

AnooCre8ion said...

You have a fighting spirit Terri. My daughter who is a track athlete has a shirt she wears that says, "Hard work will always beat talent, if talent doesn't work hard."

I'm sure that's what it says :)

You are a hard worker so for you quitting will never be an option, just a thought......that you might linger on sometimes.

blessings
Vickie

Nicole said...

When you are a writer, you can't quit. It's your calling. Hang in there! It will get better!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Two years ago I queried my story as a PB. It died a sad death. Since then I have re-created it as a chapter book - so much better! My son convinced me to keep going. :-)

Julie Gillies said...

Hi Terri,

LOVE your new blog header--WHAT a cute picture of you!

I'm SO glad you didn't quit. You're not a quitter...a glance at your sidebar is proof!

I wanted to quit about seven months ago, when I got yet another rejection from a well-known agent. Ugh. But she encouraged me to try other agents. So, I did. And guess what? I just signed with an agent. *squeal* I'm posting about it on Sunday.

Thank you for your encouraging posts. It's so good to read your stuff again. :)

Jill Kemerer said...

I've had thoughts of quitting twice. Once two summers ago, and the other quite recently. But I can't. I have too many stories in me. I love to write, love to learn, and I'm stubborn. I'm so glad we're on this journey together.

Chelle Sandell said...

It's not stupid at all! I think alot of us struggle with those thoughts during rough patches. The key is perseverance. Keep pushing!!

sarah said...

"As long as I keep writing, I'm already a success." I love this....and I too have to remember it. Too often I fight with myself to stay with what I love, to not give up and just do it for me. I can't imagine you ever completely giving up writing....Your love of it shines through every post. Stay strong ok.

Sally said...

In the words of Helen Steiner Rice
"This too Shall Pass"
http://www.pinkpoem.com/inspirationalpoems/songsofhope/shallpass.html

It is the circle of a writer's life. Identify it, absorb it, cry it out, let it go and write on.

KelliGirl said...

No matter what we're doing we will all face an uphill climb that makes us want to quit. Since I'm recently back from hiking in the Grand Canyon I can really relate to wanting to quit because the going was too hard.
But, I agree with you that the success is in the journey. Looking back at how far we've come is a sweet victory in itself.

Blessings to you
Kelli

Erin said...

I think I want to quit several times a day! But the break when I get home in the evening always changes my mind.

Just Be Real said...

Amen to an uplifting positive post. Last time I wanted to quite was about four hours ago. I take one day at a time. Thank you for sharing dear one. Blessings.

Kathryn Magendie said...

When I would get those rejection letters on my novels (not as much on the short stories or essay), I would flop on the couch and eat chocolate and have a vodka tonic and whine - I'd allow myself to whine and be depressed or defeated or whatever for no more than 2 days and then I went back to work.

Even when you expect it, it still is a rejection and rejection of any kind stings like the dickens.

I finally found my publishers, and they love me and I love them...they allow me a lot of creative freedom. So, don't give up! You will find the perfect person or persons for you, Terri.

And meanwhile, find ways to find acceptance in the face of rejection -that's difficult but it helps.

Rita's Random Ramblings said...

It is all about the journey! It seems the closer I am to submitting this thesis the more I am filled with doubt and often want to quit. God keeps giving me words of encouragement in unique ways and it keeps me going. I also have to give credit to my husband for being a source of encouragement and for cheering me on!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Five minutes ago... when life crowds in, I can almost imagine quitting it altogether. But in time, I'd miss it.

Sorry about your "rejection"... honestly, does it ever get easier to hear those words? Here's praying you find the right editor that won't bleed you dry.

peace~elaine
PS: You could hire my mom; she reads a book a day; I'm not kidding. If anyone would have an opinion, she would. She'd probably do it for free!

sanjeet said...

You are successful because you are still going
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