Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger: Barb Meyers


By Barbara Meyers

Oh, how I wish those were my words, but they’re not. I adopted them from Winston Churchill. I have a bookmark that’s been sitting on my computer for several years with that quote on it. It has helped me through many a dark moment.

Above my computer is a quote attributed to Calvin Coolidge: “Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Also tacked above my computer is this little gem snipped from an old Writer’s Digest magazine: Want-to-be writers admit defeat easily. Successful writers never give up.

Beneath the glass on my desk there is a bit of wisdom from Carol Trahan as quoted in Parade magazine regarding college applications: “If you apply, they might tell you no. But if you don’t apply you’re telling yourself no.” I adapted that to pretty much every effort in my life, but especially with my writing, whenever I was afraid to try, hesitant to submit, fearful of rejection.

Sometimes don’t you wonder when maybe it’s time to give up on something? Like how long should you knock your head against the wall waiting for that break and wondering if it will ever come? I’ve been there. So close to giving up after years of writing with very little acknowledgment of my efforts. So close I was making photocopies of my manuscript and giving them away just so they’d be read by somebody. Anybody. Because why do I write? So others can read and, I hope, enjoy my stories. That’s my goal. It isn’t money. It isn’t fame. It’s sharing. It’s giving readers an escape from reality for a little bit. Because I love reading good books. And I love writing. If I gave up, then what was the point of it all?

I dedicated my book A MONTH FROM MIAMI to my long-time friend, Susie Ulrich. I have never seen anyone more hardheaded (but in a good way) than she is. Whether it’s sending back a sub-standard meal in a restaurant or going after a particular job she wants, she won’t back down until she gets what she wants. She’s been an inspiration to me.

On my nightstand is the book Eight Keys to Greatness by Gene Landrum, Ph.D. They are: Charisma. Competitiveness. Confidence and Self-Esteem. Drive. Intuition. Rebellion. Risk-Taking. Tenacity. He outlines lives of numerous public figures and how they survived adversity and achieved success. I like to know successful people aren’t so different from me or you. If they can do it, we can too. But if you give up, you achieve nothing.

Lately the psycho-babble, new age buzz word seems to be ‘passion.” Find your passion, follow your heart, pursue your dream, be what you were meant to be and you’ll be successful. This is old news that got buried somewhere along the way. You see disgruntled, negative people stuck in jobs and lives they hate. They seem powerless to change their circumstances, but they aren’t. The simply believe they are. Or maybe they’re lazy. Or unmotivated. Maybe they aren’t in enough pain. Who knows? Best to avoid them because their ultimate goal seems to be to drag anyone they can down there with them so they’ll have company while wallowing in misery.

So why didn’t I give up after years of knocking my head against that wall? I like to think it was a series of events, an alignment of the planets, the universe throwing my vision back to me in Technicolor glory. I kept thinking, “Why have I been doing this? Why do I have so many unsold manuscripts on my shelves, so many characters’ voices running around in my head?” The answer then is, this is what I was meant to do. And if I can’t sell it, I’ll give it away. Almost as soon as I started giving it away I discovered an article about a publisher I’d never submitted to before. I had nothing to lose, so I sent in the manuscript I’d been giving away. Shortly thereafter, I sold it.

But what if I’d given up? A week, or a day or an hour before? What if I’d said, “That’s it? I’m done.”

Where would I be now?

Where will you be if you give up too soon on something you love?

Visit Barb at one of the following places:

Samhain Author Page
Web Site
My Space


Judy Thomas said...

Thank you for this post. I think it's something we all need to remember... to always keep trying. Keep writing. Keep pushing to finish that manuscript. Keep sending it out even when it comes back. Keep paying attention to comments that come up again and again. Keep polishing. Keep on keeping on.

One of my favorite quotes (involving submitting): If you don't send it in, you don't give them the chance to say 'yes.'

Thanks for today.

MomJane said...

What an inspirational post to other writers. I was really impressed with what you had to say. It reminded me that you can do and be almost anything if you persist and never give up.
Congratulations on a great post.

Dru said...

Great post. I like your words which can be applied to anything. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Sarita Leone said...

What an inspirational post! Great reminders and things to mull over. Congratulations on your success. :)

Brandy said...

Even though I am not a writer, I appreciate all that a writer goes through. Thank you for sharing the quotes!