Edison’s Reminder to Never Give Up

Edison

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

 

~Thomas A. Edison

 

Thomas Edison knew this truth more than most of us. He had hundreds of failures before he successfully invented the light bulb. What if he’d decided gaslights were doing well and no one would appreciate electric illumination. He believed in himself. Pressing forward until he succeeded. Even without a college degree he managed to create things that changed the world. He surrounded himself with experts in a variety of fields who aided him in achieving his goals.

My Writing Journey

I have discovered on my writing journey it is easy to give up. Easy to naysay to my heart. Easy to find something else to do. I am realizing the need to fight that discouragement. Inspired by this quote success is just around the corner. I’d almost given up on my first novel. I’d gotten side tracked when my youngest sister died of cancer. She had read the very rough first draft, and I hoped to get it published before she passed. A tribute to her faith in me as a writer. As her illness lingered I got this weird idea that the longer it took to get published, the longer she would live. God had given her five years rather than five months before the liver cancer took its toll. She passed and my manuscript remained unpublished.

I had become discouraged with the process and told a few friends at a writer’s conference a few months after my sister died that I needed to either throw this manuscript in the circular file or keep pressing in. I repented of using the unpublished manuscript as a talisman to keep my sister with me a little longer. How lame was I as a woman of faith to hang on to that thought. I’d already had the thing rejected numerous times. I cried and prayed with writer friends at the conference. At the closing banquet my manuscript was chosen to receive the editor’s choice award. Since then, I’ve been working with editors to get it whipped into shape.

Taking Edison’s Advice

I follow Edison’s example, I have surrounded myself with experts through writer’s blog, books, conferences, critique groups and editors. Steps taking me ever closer to publication. At this point failure is not an option. I have no excuses to comfort my soul regarding this unpublished tome. It comes down to me and my manuscript going the distance. And like Edison I’m working on more ideas. My second novel is coming together, and these blog posts keep my keyboard active. Other ideas simmer on the back burner of my writer’s heart.

Many obstacles continue to trip me up and rob my writing time. As I shared in a previous post, my parents are declining and require my time. My grandchildren are an intricate part of my life. Self-doubts never stop plaguing me.

However, I know God has gifted me with the desire to use words to share truths and spin tales of hope. So, buoyed up once again with the reminder that success is just around the corner, I press on. Each new edit and encouraging word brings me another step closer to seeing my story in print.

Are you fighting with self-doubt? What keeps you pressing forward?

 

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A Saturday of Non-Writing Writing

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I was so looking forward to Saturday. I’ve been working extra hours at my job and this Saturday was the start of the Labor Day weekend. Three days to carve out extended periods of time to write. Three days to create words on page after page. I had my writing to-do-list of projects. Several blog posts and novel edits at the top of the list.

Saturday found me spending time with my elderly parents, cleaning house with my granddaughters as well as having them cuddle and snooze in my lap while I sat trapped in a family room chair. My writing mused had gone back to bed and I found myself fighting sleep as my dozing 3 year old granddaughter flayed and wiggled.

The day was productive as far as a clean house and happy grandchildren were concerned. That’s always a good thing. Clicking my remote while trapped beneath cuddly girls I found one of my favorite writer movies. (I’m sure you have one too.) The Magic of Belle Isle. It reminded me that no matter what is going on in my life I am destine to write. I reviewed it in a previous blog you can check it out here.

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The main character Monty has abandoned his writing after the death of his wife. As the story unfolds the family next door begins to interact with him. Their presence revives his desire to write and his joy for living. He changes into a better man using his gifting once again.

Even though I knew how the story would turn out there is always something new to discover the second, third and fourth times around. As the credits roll I am inspired again. I embrace this writing life with all its interruptions. I pick myself up, not wallowing in the discouragement of missed opportunities. Instead I create a blog based on a day of failure intend for writing goal success.

As I’ve often heard from various authors. We never truly stop writing, the words ruminate in our minds while our bodies are engaged in other pursuits. The Magic of Belle Isle awaken so many ideas in my mind. Novel ideas, article ideas, blog ideas. My mind rekindled amidst the stressful and unplanned activities of my Saturday.

To-Do-List

So, now it’s Sunday morning and I finish up this little reflection piece with the help of my muse who is totally rested from Saturday’s non-activity. Together, we will tackle my to-do-list refreshed by the creative juices we stirred into action on our non-writing Saturday. Today I post this blog and continue drawing lines through items on my writer’s to-do-list excited to see what creative words I write today that weren’t even in my mind on Saturday.

How do you handle non-writing writing days?

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Taking A Roadtrip of Words-Fun and Challenging

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Road trip!

Often defined as an Adventure with no actual route and end destination.

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Sometimes pantsters write their novels like a road trip. We sit down to write with an ending in mind. We know where to start but sometimes take a few wrong plot twists that lead to dead ends. Then we have to backtrack and delete the mess of jumbled words which grabbed our thought processes and sent our characters careening down a steep hill where the only possible end result is death. (Unless of course you are writing about Time Travel then it’s a black hole that takes you back to the 1700s where you find your true love or get beheaded in a sword fight.)

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I love a good road trip of words even if I get lost for a while. In the process of finding my way back to my theme and the path leading to my happy ending, I learn a lot about my characters and about myself. I learn I want an easy path in life with no thorns or drama—smooth sailing and Kum ba Ya around the campfire. But when I write that kind of story, my characters rebel. They tell me I am not being realistic. They lie down in the backseat of my SUV and nap as I head down another side road of boring, unimaginative dialog. Spitball fights erupt in the passenger seats between my protagonists and their faithful sidekicks when I candy-coat their lives. They vie for better lines and more interesting situations. They persuade me to stop driving and check out the sites. We visit the critique group with members not afraid to run red lines through bad dialog and grab my characters out of their boring scenes and suggest where to relocate them.

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After reworking those problem areas, we continue our writing road trip only to find my GPS of grammar rules from high school English that lauded lots of adjectives and adverbs is making the road way too rough. My story journey now lags with flowery prose full of –ly words and weak verbs. I grab one of my writing books and fill my GPS with grammar rules fiction writers use to plot a perfect sentence. Strong action verbs; sharp, simple phrases; and descriptive words that don’t go on for paragraphs.

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At the same ol’ waterhole rest stop I notice my hero has twitched his eyebrows four times on the same page while sharing coffee with my heroine who flips her hair behind her ear every time she answers his questions. Argh….Time to change up the menu. Let’s put them at a picnic table and engage in a game of Frisbee. Add lots of sweatiness and tripping in gopher holes. How about a wink, a giggle and a scowl. More entertaining—I think.

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I’m exiting the car of my road trip of words for the day. Even while I do laundry and prepare dinner, my road trip memories replay in my mind. What if she had said…? What if he went too…? The beauty of a road trip of words: you can go back to those places where it didn’t feel quite right and relive it. Rewriting and revising until your characters give you a thumbs up.

Are you on a road trip with your latest writing project, or do you use a preplanned roadmap? Comment below.

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