Friday, September 17, 2010

Inspiration when I need it most

I won't lie to you. It's not been a great week for yours truly.

Nothing really awful happened. It's just that a handful of crappy little things happened on the heels of last weekend's good things, which had moved me to self confidence. It never fails. Whenever I get too cocky, the writing gods tend to whack me over the head.

Consider me whacked.

I've felt bad all week that I allowed myself to brag in my last post. I hate that. I really do. And I apologize for it. No wonder I lost followers after that post. I would have left too, except it's my blog.

Anyway. No worries. I'm back to my usual almost-suicidal, neurotic self.

I've been e-corresponding with a fellow writer who is also having a bad week. And when I sent this writer an email a few minutes ago, telling said writer to buck up and offering up all kinds of encouragement, it occurred to me that I should take my own advice.

This is a tough business, this fiction writing. It's hard to do, and even harder to sell once it's done. We all know that. We probably knew it going in, although I suspect it's human nature to tell ourselves that we're different, that we're not going to fail like most everyone else.

And yet. It's hard. And frustrating. And it's so damned easy to get so frustrated that we think about throwing in the towel. I mean, there has to be a better way to make a living, right?

Well, no. There's not. We are creating. We are living a dream. We are trying to do something only a handful of people have ever accomplished. It makes no real difference whether we actually get published. We are trying. And that counts for something. Don't ever tell yourself it doesn't.

And that leads me to my all-time favorite inspirational quote. It's from Teddy Roosevelt and it NEVER fails to bring tears to my eyes and new found determination to my heart.

Here it is. Please take it to heart, because every single word is true.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt.


  1. did you brag? i just thought you were being honest...
    anyway, teddy r rocked that quote big time!
    it was so beautiful to read! thanks for posting it! :)
    and now i'll give you a quote from a very intellectually stimulating and deep movie- GalaxyQuest: "Never give up! Never surrender!" :)

  2. Well, I didn't think you were bragging in your last post by any stretch of the imagination. If anything I found it most heartening news.

    It appears to me, Terry, that success in the world of publication is more often than not brought on by chance rather than through our actions.

    Keep at it.

    Loved the quote.

  3. I didn't hear any bragging either, but I have a short attention span and if I did, I let it go. Or maybe I was the one who was bragging.

    An ex-lover once told me a long time ago, "if you can't give it 110%, then don't bother doing it." And that's how I lived my life, for a long time now.

    If I can't give it my all then I don't do it. Why do you think my house is such a mess? Why do you think I fail so miserably at inter-personal relationships. I just don't have it in me to give it 110%. (virtual reality doesn't count)

    I'm more than proud that I wrote, revised and queried MAQUERADE even though it garnered nothing but rejections. I gave that 110%. Probably more like 210%. And I'll do it again with this one, and the next one. Why be half-assed about it.

  4. I didn't think you were bragging either, and I appreciate honest reflections in blogging -- whether positive or negative.

  5. No bragging I saw. Just excitement over having someone validate your writing. That's all we can hope for in the long run, because someone has to like it to buy it.

    Now some unasked for advice: live your life outside of writing. Savor each moment with your family and enjoy each sunset. If you're meant to write, you'll write despite the rejections and setbacks. But in the end, it's family and friends and a love for life that mean the most.

  6. Sharing good news is not bragging. Not fixing your page after my many protests is cruel.

    That is all.

  7. I did NOT think you were bragging at all. I thought you were sharing a positive experience. One that I was HAPPY to read. And if you people stopped following your blog because of that, it's their loss!

  8. *playful punch to the shoulder*

    You're a really good writer, Terry. You've got The Stuff. You can do this. Keep swinging. :)