Saturday, January 15, 2011

Not Trying = Defeat


My 10-year-old twins are running for student council. They ran last year and lost. They were disappointed for about an hour, then moved on.

This year, one of them asked, "Do you think I can win?"

I often struggle for the perfect mommy words. Instead of telling my son something profound, I said, "You won't know unless you try."

The same goes for writers. I think it's safe to say we each experience moments of great doubt. It seeps in and courses through our veins. It explodes within every cell of our body.

Unpublished writers may wonder -- Do I have what it takes? Will this pile of words ever morph into something entertaining and publishable? If an agent loves my manuscript, will they find an editor who feels the same way?

The published writer might wonder -- Can I do it again?

Writer friends, this much we know for sure: we won't know unless we try. And try again. Not trying equals defeat, and we can't let that happen.

Will one of my fifth graders win a seat on the student council? I have no idea. But they'll give it all they've got and be proud of their effort. I could learn a lot from a 10-year-old.

How about you? Do you ever experience these doubts? Do you struggle to push past them and keep trying?

38 comments:

  1. This post is wonderful Julie. I think we all struggle with our fear over failure, but as someone once told me - you can't fail if you never quit trying.

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  2. I have doubt all the time, but I will not let it stop me from trying. Great post!

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  3. I have so much doubt, I gave her a name and a personality. LOL Seriously, though, you're so right. The only way to not succeed is to give up. The saying isn't 'if at first you don't succeed, curl up in a ball and cry'. (Not matter how much you want to.) Try. Try again. And again and again and again - until you succeed.

    I just need to keep remembering this. Thanks for the reminder. =o)

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  4. I feel doubt all the time. But that's okay as long as I ignore it and keep trying! You're absolutely right: you won't know until you try. You automatically fail if you never try at all, but if you keep trying you'll eventually succeed in some way.

    Good luck to your twins!!!

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  5. There's an old joke about an old guy that prayed and prayed to win the lottery. In answer to the prayers, the Good Lord said - "buy a ticket!"
    This story seems to fit. It's more difficult to be published if you don't have a manuscript.
    Good post Julie

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  6. It's amazing how self-doubt can dominate over hope. You hope something good will come out of your work, but then self-doubt rears his ugly head.

    I try to write as often and as well as I can. I figure I'm not going to query for while then compile a stack of books to query. I will unleash them on the world! HAHAHA! Kidding. :P

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  7. Doubts are a constant factor in my life. I feel we should never stop trying. One never knows when one can get lucky.

    You have an award on my blog.

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  8. You always know just what to say at just the right time. :D I think that was the perfect mommy answer btw. And you are right. If we don't try, we'll never know what might have been. Plus trying can be fun sometimes!

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  9. My thoughts exactly! The only sure way to fail is to fail to try. I have no idea if I can do it again, but I'm sure going to try.

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  10. I continually wrestle with "what's the point?"

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  11. Hi Julie,

    What a wonderful post. I think we all struggle with our fear over failure, but as everybody keeps saying - you can't fail if you never quit trying.

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  12. Yes, definitely, but usually I try to keep busily writing on my WIPs so I don't notice the rejections piling up. LOL But sometimes it hits me, like when I get a rejection from a full request. I seem to bounce back after a day or 2 though.

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  13. It's so much easier to boost our kids than it is to encourage ourselves. Sometimes a particular rejection takes the wind out of our sails, and we have to summon all our energy to keep pushing forward. We need to fuel up on the fun and joy of writing so we can continue to dance naked with wild creative abandon in the forest as our fingers fly over the keys of our computers.

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  14. Thanks for sharing, Julie. I had twenty years of doubting, as you well know. It took the spector of regret to finally inspire me to get up and get going!

    -Jimmy

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  15. All the time. But, like you said, we won't know until we try. And that, is exactly what I'm doing.

    Great post, Julie :)

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  16. I'm chock full of doubts all the time - but I keep going forward anyway - must be just a little bit crazy :)

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  17. I love this. I think it's so important to remember when things get you down. Kind of reminds me of the song "Anyway" by Martina McBride. Just because we MIGHT not make it doesn't mean we shouldn't try anyway!

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  18. There's really nothing to lose if we keep on trying. If our manuscripts stay in the wardrobe, it always will be a no. We only need one yes. Doubts are like choking on water. Cough that baby up and take another sip. Happy writing everyone. Okay, group hug, now send those queries out!

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  19. Aww, what a great post. I experience it all the time. Rejections do hurt, even tho we're supposed to have a thick skin. But you re so right, and I tell my 6 year old this all the time--all you can do is give it your best.

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  20. Julie,
    great lesson you are instilling in your kids! as you certainly won't ever know what you are capable of if you don't try!
    Hurray for you but it is also a reminder to us as adults that 777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777 (sorry, that was ANgel-Kitty telling us how she feels...)
    anyway, we as adults need to try new things as well and go outside our comfort zone at times, don't you think?

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  21. I think we all have those thoughts, but I come from the "don't die wondering" school of thought -- there's only one way to find out if I can do it! And especially in relation to my writing, what's the very worst that can happen? If nothing else, I'll have spent all that time writing, and I love writing!

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  22. Doubts? They are legion, but your advice is excellent, would that we had the strength to keep trying, it is so easy to give up.

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  23. I think what you said is very profound, Julie. Very true. We won't know until we try.

    Amy

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  24. Yes, and yes. And I think you gave fantastic Mommy advice. It hurts when they don't win, but I think sharing w/them that *we're* trying and not always being successful as well is a great lesson~ :o) <3

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  25. way to go that your twins are taking the risk of trying. And I struggle with doubts about my writing all the time. I found out last week my short story won a contest with World Vision and Tyndale College. I told my dgt before we went to bed...maybe they made an error...maybe no one else entered the contest...Doubts...oh yeah...I have them big time.

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  26. YOu'd think after 3 published novels I'd be going "whoop! all uphill from here - I'm SAFE" but nope, I still have doubts - even when I receive wonderful reviews and comments, I keep waiting for some kind of other shoe to drop! it's crazy! THen I wonder, "what if my next book disappoints readers who loved so and so book?" lawd!

    But, I keep going - doing what I do -- until I can't do it anymore (when I'm dead I guess! *laugh*)

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  27. Ah, such a lovely story, Julie!

    As for me, I have doubts ALL THE TIME! Sometimes I want to give up but I blame my stubborn streak for forcing me to keep going. :)

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  28. This is so true, Julie--on the mommy front, and the writerly front. Good luck to your sons.

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  29. I definitely have those doubts. It's such a tough, tough business, and I really have no reason to think I can get published, but I keep trying because I can't imagine having it any other way.

    Good luck to your twins!

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  30. Doubts are natural, but if one really is sure of what they want, giving into foubt can be very draining and counter productivve. I try to stay focused on what I can do, rather than things I can't control. It helps with doubt most of the time. Not all the time, but most of the time.

    You're just an awesome cheerleader and role model for your kids as you are for us writers!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  31. I've always been persistent and never stopped writing, despite the doubts I had. And I can't forget my failed, poorly written earlier novels. But at least I had a beginning. A person needs to start, or else she'll never improve and reach that seemingly distant finish line.

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  32. Of course, doubts come and go. And they usually have nothing to do with my writing. That's the frustrating part.

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  33. Yep, life is basically a constant trying and trying and trying ...

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  34. Every day... but thank the light, I find the way to push on.

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  35. I love the advice you gave your son. It really applies to anyone who wants to succeed at anything, especially a creative process like writing.

    Thanks for the reminder to keep trying.

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  36. Cool post, Julie. I think it's true--you just have to try, and that doubt is part of the process, really it's part of being human. I think the trick is to recognize doubt as normal and not get to worked up about it.

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  37. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

    Obat Kulit Supaya Lebih Bersih Dan Sehat
    Obat Pilek Menahun
    Obat Alami Batu Empedu
    Obat Lupus
    Obat Ginjal Bocor
    Obat Infeksi Lambung
    Penyebab TBC Kelenjar
    Obat Gatal Bibir Vagina
    Cara Menghilangkan Infeksi Jantung
    Obat Penyakit Jantung

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