Monday, May 14, 2012

Never, never, never, never give up!

“Never, never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill

A few weeks ago I attended the Washington Romance Writers annual retreat, In the Company of Writers. Our last speaker on Sunday morning was Diane Gaston who shared Churchill’s words of inspiration. Despite setbacks in her road to publication and various challenges since then, Diane has always kept that message at the core of her being. Never give up.

I’ve completed two marathons. Around mile 18 (why do the organizers always put mile 18 in the middle of nowhere? I’m looking at you Marine Corps Marathon at Haines Point!), the doubt creeps in. You start questioning why you’re doing this to yourself, why you started, who would care if you stopped, hey, you almost made it. Close enough, right?

Close enough isn’t the same as hitting the goal.

Some of you know that I’ve been on a weight loss journey for the last eight months. I’ve done astoundingly well. By most standards, if I said, “I’m done” today, I’d be a success. I’m in good health, I sleep well, I have terrific energy, and my jeans look better on me now then ten years ago. Hot damn!

Again with the but: I’m not done.

Several years ago I watched The Secret and one message has stayed with me front and center: most people give up just before they reach their goal. Like they get lost in that darkness before the dawn and can’t hold out to morning.

But I can.

Quitting when I only have 25 pounds to go would be like getting to the midpoint of my work in progress and deciding to stuff the manuscript in the desk drawer never to see the light of day again.  Which, heh, is kind of what I did with my writing around December of last year. I put it in a mental filing cabinet and walked away.

But I’m not a quitter.

So I’ve come back to the writing fold. Because I never, never, never, never give up.

Commit. Recommit. Repeat as necessary.

Y’all have commitment issues? Digame, mis amigos!


  1. Bully for you Keely!

    It's so easy to get lost in the dark before the dawn, so easy to say "screw it," it doesn't matter.

    So easy when you see so many talented writers still holding down the day job. After 5 books surely you can quit your day job. Right? And how can you get those 5 books written when you're so exhausted from working and family and trying to steal time to write?

    I too was inspired by Diane, but even more I felt heard and invigorated when Robin Carr said, "All you writers with children and jobs. I know it's hard now, but this is the hardest it will ever be." She gave me something to hold on to when night is its blackest deepest before the dawn.

  2. Way to go, Keely! Never give up!

    I love your marathon analogy. So many things in life look like a marathon, I think. Many days, when I feel I'm not going fast enough or strong enough, I literally say to myself, "Slow and steady wins the race." After all, that approach worked for Aesop's tortoise when he went up against the hare.

    So slow is fine, but quitting? Never! Because quitting means I'll never get where I want to go. And I don't know anyone else who would either.

    Keep on keepin' on, Keely!

  3. I gave up giving up the writing. I don't feel the kind of steely determination you seem to have, Keely. But I've discovered that I can quit writing and be miserable, or keep writing and be miserable. :-) May as well write.

  4. I guess I am at mile 18...who is going to care if i just stop? My brain is mush and my plot is non-existent. It's excruciating sitting and staring at a blank screen.

    Then I visit here and read your piece. I needed to read this this morning Keely. Thank you for the not so gentle reminder...may there be words on the screen today!

    May you have continued success my friend...never, never, never give up!!

  5. You go, girl! I've heard it said that most people don't finish their first book. They polish the first 3 chapters until they shine, but can't make the finish line.

    But we're not most people, are we?

    Keep up the good work. You're doing great!

  6. Welcome back into the writing fold, Keely! Look at all the super successful authors who came soooo close to giving up just before that call came. Debbie Macomber. Janet Evanovich. How many more can you name? But don't give up. Never give up. Put one foot forward, then another and keep going.

  7. "Look at all the super successful authors who came soooo close to giving up just before that call came."

    Stephen King threw away his manuscript of Carrie, but his wife retrieved it and look what happened then!!

    Keely, I'm so glad those words resonate with you like they did with me NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE UP

  8. Thanks, everyone - you all are a tremendous inspiration to me - I see you "keep on keeping on," day in, month in, year in and out. How could I dare to stop in the face of all that unquitting?

    Willa - you are so right. We AREN'T most people, by golly. We are finishers!

  9. Oh, Keely! I feel you, Sister! I've been there. As a matter of fact, my inspiration and motivation came at retreat, too. In the most unlikely place. During a tarot card reading. Maybe Deborah was feeling my energy--or not--but she told me things I really needed to hear. So, I guess it doesn't matter as long as the motivation comes.
    Now I'm finally revising. That might seem like something insignificant to most writers. But I don't revise. Ever. Every time I finish a book and get feedback, I just start another book because it's easier.
    Here's to revising. And sticking with it...

  10. Keely, you are such an inspiration to me, in so many ways. So thank you for sharing your positive energy with us. I went to a graduation this weekend, and the student speaker ended with a Winston Churchill quote: "When you're going through hell, keep going." So simple and yet so difficult.
    Keep going, Keely!!

  11. Loved your post, Keely. I'm forwarding it to hubby for some marathon inspiration, too!

  12. Kimberly - Deborah is an amazing reader of the cards. She's so open to the universe, it's impossible not to join her on that plain. So glad you're giving yourself the privilege of the rewrite! It's a gift, I think, that enables us to grow in our work.

  13. Pintip! I love all things Churchill, I have to say. That man imparted a lot of pithy wisdom of the course of his life. Here's another keeper: Difficulties mastered are opportunties won.

  14. Carlene - hey - I bet your hubby is a master marathoner! But even the masters need to keep their spirits up, right? So honored you would share my words with him. Please tell him I'm sending positive "finish" vibes his way!

  15. What a valuable message, Keely! And yay, you, for being so determined to finish your journeys! We should call you The Finisher. :-) Good luck with your book, your running, and your weight loss! It's obvious you won't be giving up. Thanks for the motivation! :-)

  16. Writing, dieting, and running are not for weenies. You must commit to the endgame or you will veer off the path.

    I'm so proud of all your accomplishments, Keely. Keep up the good work.

    Never give up. Never surrender.

    Words to live by.

  17. Kathy - The Finisher. I like it. I'll take it! LOL!

    Maggie - that's exactly it, never surrender.

    It's okay, I think, when the goal changes. Life unfolds, we grow into new dreams and desires, sometimes we exchange one goal for another, right? That can be healthy and productive. But exchaning a goal for no goal...not so much in my experience. Or to settle when settling isn't the best option. Again, for me, that leads to regrets and I'd rather not go through life with regrets!

  18. Keely ~ What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing your inspiration with us. Awesome, awesome words to remember and repeat to ourselves often. Good luck on those last 25lbs. You can do it. And extra special good luck on the work in progress. We want to see Joe and Della get their happy-ever-after, doggone it! ;0)

  19. Candy - Thanks for the ESGL wishes. I can put them to very good use!! Here's to Joe and Della and their HEA!

  20. That quote is one of my all-time favorites. There have been so many times in my life when I've thought about giving up. But I feel lost when I do. So I guess I'll keep plugging along...

  21. Thank you for this inspirational message, Keely. It has been many years since we have seen each other but I feel like I still know you quite well.
    Your post could not have come at a better time in my professional life. I must finally sit down and watch the Secret. Keep meaning to do it. I will not give up. I may whimper and complain, but I will continue on this journey.