Hope

On an online writers group that I belong to, one of the authors recently wrote that she’s depressed because of her low sales. She’s been writing for nearly 20 years, and for the first time has been thinking about quitting. Her post touched a lot of authors, and it’s had 75 responses so far. At least 4 bestselling authors said they had been at the same place – but they persevered and ended up doing very well. Others said the same thing. While others just commented to offer encouragement.

In almost every reply, the authors said they’d been in her place. Some still are, but they’re keeping on because this is what they love to do. Others said they tried to quit, but they kept going back to writing. They had to write. And many of the authors said how much the replies helped them. Each reply cheered me, too. They gave me hope.

Aaron_Rodgers_2008_(cropped)Something else happened on Sunday that made me decide to write this post. I live in Wisconsin, and we have Packers’ fever here. Green Bay Packers, that is. We were doing great this season…and then quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. It seemed like a disaster. We had other key players out with injuries, too. Neither of the backup quarterbacks seemed that good. Our defense was letting us down. We soon lost a lot of games and tied one.

By then, most people were counting them out. Last week we won against Atlanta by one point. This week we played Dallas, whose quarterback is Tony Roma, and we were shut out of the first half.

Once again, it seemed impossible that we’d win. And this win mattered. If we lost, we wouldn’t have a chance to be in the playoffs. We’d done so well earlier in the season, before Rodgers was injured, that we still had a small chance. But after that disastrous first half, it seemed that it would take a miracle for it to happen.

I suppose you know where this story is going. They did win – by 1 point! – and it wasn’t a miracle. It was because the football players didn’t give up. Even when they fell so far behind, they gave it their best. They persevered.

I think that’s the basis of almost every romance, no matter what the genre. The hero and/or heroine may be out – and in fact, they often are. They may quit – in fact, they often do. But at some point, they persevere. They stand up and say, “Hell no! I’m in this all the way, and I’m going to get the guy (or girl).”

Perseverance won’t do it alone. As well as hard work, it’s necessary to have hope. I know a brilliant writer who gave up too quickly. When she didn’t sell right away, she quit. Though she was so good at it, maybe she didn’t love writing enough. What are your thoughts on this?

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18 Responses to Hope

  1. Beth Watson says:

    Thanks for the pic of Rodgers on this cold Monday morning Edie. It warmed me up. That game about gave me a stroke. I had about given up hope at half-time because it seemed like they had, but maybe that was a tactic to come back and win!

    A frequent question I’m asked in interviews is what’s my one piece of advice to new writers. Don’t give up! Talent is truly a small part of the process, an important one, but timing, luck, and perseverance play a larger role in succeeding. Especially perseverance. (Which is a good thing since my timing is horrible. I’m just now getting into self-pubbing.) After hundreds of rejections, I stopped writing about 5 years ago and didn’t write for 3 years. Then I sold a book to Crimson Romance and it reignited my passion for writing. You have to write because you love it and can’t live without it. It’s a very difficult and disheartening journey especially when you see others succeeding when you’re not.

    So chin up, and suck it up, little buckaroo, and get back in the saddle and continue on your journey.

    Next time I want to give up I’m going to try to remember yesterday’s game! :-)

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Beth, it’s always a pleasure to look at Aaron Rodgers. :) I agree with everything you said. And I love this sentence of yours:
      So chin up, and suck it up, little buckaroo, and get back in the saddle and continue on your journey.

      I think it should be a favorite quote for all writers. :)

  2. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Edie,

    I saw the same comment and long stream of responses and resonated with most of them. It is a hard business. It’s a lonely business. It’s also ones where we put a great deal of ourselves out there and have to take the comments (both good and bad) regardless of whether we agree with them or not.

    I think hope, belief in ourselves and a strong positive attitude are very necessary. When I read these types of comments I’m always reminded of a Galaxy Quest quote – Never give up. Never surrender.
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Knock, Knockā€¦ book 5 of the Psychic Visions series is on SALE now!

  3. I’m one of those people who believes in you get what you put in. I also believe in luck, timing and talent in heavy doses is also needed to make it in this crazy business.

    Oh, yeah and love of writing. :)
    Karin* Tabke aka Harlow!`s last blog was …Blood Swords in France

  4. marilynbrant says:

    Edie,
    I loved, loved, loved this post — thank you for writing it and for connecting those threads from that discussion on the writers’ loop to the Packers’ football game (I may *live* in IL now, but I was *born* in WI… :) ). What you said is so true — there are a lot of talented writers out there who don’t stick with this profession. And I don’t blame them. Writing and publishing are HARD. It’s a lot easier to give up and do…well, almost anything else, in my opinion, but there’s something to be said for just persevering. Taking a good, long, realistic look at what’s working vs. not working, and trying to do more of the former than the latter until (for a little while at least) you feel you’ve got the balance right. But it’s an ever-changing game, and it requires us to reevaluate all the time, which is what makes the writing life both so frustrating and so fascinating… It would be hard to keep going through all the ups and downs if it weren’t for hope and good friends who understand :razz: .
    marilynbrant`s last blog was …Celebrating ‘Undressing Mr. Darcy’ and a Great Giveaway!

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Marilyn, you’re so right. I’ve done that with my books. I liked what I was writing before this – but I LOVE what I’m writing now, with the contemporary romances and the dogs and cats. So it worked out for the best. It took me a while to get to this place. :)

  5. Loved this post, Edie, even if I’ve read it late! And now we know Detroit lost last night. That helps the Packers chances also. Which also can parallel writers. If you don’t keep writing, how can you hope to see success???
    Casey Clifford`s last blog was …A Thoughtful Critique

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Casey, so true! I watch shows like Top Chef and Project Runway and The Voice. To me, they parallel writers, too. On an episode of The Voice, they featured several singers from previous years who have put out albums. Though these singers didn’t win their years, it was good to know they persevered. I hope they all do very well.

  6. Mary Hughes says:

    I teared up reading this. Thank you, Edie!!

  7. Amy R. says:

    Hi Edie – I am not a writer, but do know that hope is something we all need. One of the biggest things I have learned from my Christian friends that go on mission trips is that the people in those under privileged countries are full of hope. That is what gets them through. I love that about your books – you books are full of hope from the characters, even when the chips are down. Great reminder that we all need to ride out the highs and lows in life. :)
    Amy R.`s last blog was …Review: RETURN TO YOU by Julie Cross

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Amy, I agree so much that we all need hope to achieve anything worthwhile, whether it’s writing a book, playing football or going on a mission trip. And sometimes we need hope to survive.

      Thanks so much for saying that about my books. It’s funny but often with friends I can see them in their books, and I do think that “hope” is very strong inside me. :)

  8. I really enjoyed this post, Edie. Thank you! Just the other day I was sitting at my computer, staring at my ms and wishing I could whip the words out faster. My hubby walked by and I sighed and told him I wasn’t making much progress and he looked at me and very thoughtfully said, writing a book is hard. Hearing him say that, it was like all the stress left my shoulders! He was right and I cut myself some slack. It is hard. And it’s so nice to belong to a community of writers that feel the same things I do. There are always going to be ups and downs, and I’m grateful to my family and friends for helping me when I need it the most.
    Robin Bielman`s last blog was …My Favorite Cookie Bar

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Robin, your husband is great! Writing is hard. And I wish I’d write faster, too.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and that it resonated with you. It seems to me that writers are the most generous people. We band together to help each other, and we share advice and encouragement. I love other writers – and you’re included. :)

  9. I love this post, Edie.

    It is very hard, and because the nature of creativity is that you put a piece of yourself out there with each book, it is frightening, too, and out of your control. It WOULD be easier to walk away. I’m just glad I choose not to. If I did, I wouldn’t have the wonderful friends I do, with you at the top of that list.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Michelle, it really is frightening, especially when you’re trying something different. And both of us, in our different ways, write “different” stories from what’s out there.

      And you’re at the top of my friends’ list, too! :)

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