Monday, June 11, 2012

Never Surrender Blogfest



During the second week of June--that's the 11-16--Elana Johnson is hosting the Never Surrender blogfest. This is something anyone, anywhere can participate in. 

All you have to do is blog about a time you didn't surrender. Trained for a marathon? Queried agents? Had to study for an entrance exam? I'm looking for inspirational stories that you have experienced. Hard things you've accomplished because you didn't give up. I want to be inspired by you!

Anyone who blogs this week for the theme can enter to win one of three $15 B&N gift cards. Everyone who blogs this week will receive a SURRENDER swag package.

Don’t blog? Put the cover of Surrender up on your FB wall, or pin it on Pinterest, or change your twitter avatar to the cover. Use the words “Never Surrender” somewhere to go with the picture, and link back to this post. 

Sign up in this form to make sure you get the swag package. Elana will visit each blog to read your inspirational "never surrender" moments. 

It's not particularly original, but the thing that stands out to me is becoming an author. I can't think of anything I've faced that required more stick-to-it-iveness. I've wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first novel when I was fifteen. At fifteen, I liked to keep everything private, even if it wasn't particularly scandalous, and I saved my novel on a floppy disk instead of the family hard drive. There was only one copy. After months of work, the floppy disk degraded and I lost everything. I was devastated. That story died with the floppy disk because I couldn't bring myself to re-create it.

Then, in my early twenties, I wrote another novel. This time I kept it on my hard drive and had back-up copies like a normal human being. I went through the whole process. I got critique partners, I queried agents, I even went to a conference and pitched an agent in person. But I was too self-conscious to handle criticism, and that made it hard to improve. I remember that failure seemed like a horrible prospect. The novel was the best thing I had going on and if I didn't get it published it would be the end of the world.

I managed to shelve that project without a total mental breakdown for one reason. I made the decision that I could put aside my dream to become a writer if I was able to get the one thing I wanted more. As soon as I decided that, I got what I really wanted. I met my husband. For several years after that I didn't write at all. Frankly, I was just too happy and distracted. Then in 2009, I was going for a jog and a story idea fell out of the blue and completely consumed me.

So from 2009-2012, I worked tirelessly to write, edit, repeat, query, edit, repeat, and so on. My life happiness no longer hinged on getting my novel published, but ironically, that made it possible for me to be even more determined. I decided that I was going to keep working at it until I was successful, not just because I wanted to meet my goal, but because I loved doing it. I decided that I was okay with failing and I was going to do it either way. For me, accepting that failure was a possibility and deciding to try anyway made it so much easier to keep plugging away. I wasn't preoccupied with failure or success because I already decided it didn't matter.

Fifteen years after I wrote my first novel, I signed my first publishing contract. If I had known at fifteen that I wouldn't be published until I was 30, it would have been upsetting to say the least. But I know now that there is a right time for everything. And it's never too late to try again.

18 comments:

  1. I agree, I can't think of anything I've done that needed me to just keep going. It would be so much easier to not do it! No rejections, no critiques, no sitting at the computer for hours with nothing to write...but if we all gave up, we'd have none of the satisfaction and joy either :)

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  2. Great story! It's true that sometimes things just need to align for them to be "right." I'm glad you had another story in you after that floppy disaster. :)

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  3. And you're going to do great! I'm so glad I could be a teensy part of that experience for you! :-)

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    1. I would have to say that you played more than a teensy part in the story, more like a very critical part. For those of you who don't know, Krystal is the editor who read my manuscript and said yes. :)

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  4. I couldn't agree more! You're never surrender story is awesome Sharon!

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  5. Good for you, Sharon! That's pretty much how it goes in this biz. The writers who don't give up become the authors. :) I bet your 15year old self is so proud.

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  6. You can't fail if you don't try, so you have to be willing to fail. That was really tough for me. Still struggling with it, but like you, I'm doing it anyway. You are a success story, Sharon. Well done!

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  7. 15 years and worth the wait? I love how it took you to not needing it to happen for you to be able to pursue it. Great story Sharon! I can't wait to read your book!

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    1. Yeah, it's like how you find something when you stop looking. :) And yes, definitely worth the wait.

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  8. I once had my system delete the My Documents directory that contained everything I'd written. Everything. I scrambled around to the folks to whom I'd sent copies, and managed to get most back. One very sympathetic soul told me about Ernest Hemingway's suitcase, pointing out that I was in good company. Seems Hadley (the 1st Mrs. Hemingway) packed away all his writing, including all the carbons, and then lost the suitcase on a train. So, you're in good company. He went on to rewrite his stuff and the rest is history...

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    1. Ah, yes, it's every writer's greatest fear. I'm glad you got yours back!

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  9. Oh Sharon, what a great and lovely story to inspire all of us who are still pushing forward. It can be so easy to give up if your heart is not truly prepared for the disappointments. I am so happy for you and can't wait to read your book. How amazing!

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  10. This is such a great story!

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  11. Great story:) Can't wAIt to rEAd yOUr bOOk!!!

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  12. Oh, do I ever know what you mean about an idea falling out of the sky and putting things for a while.

    I have had this idea for a book for 20 years at least. Every time I set out to write it I argue with myself whether it would be better to make it a screenplay.

    As a book one has VERY slim chances of ever seeing it become a motion picture. Then (and not to be negative here) even if IS made into a flick it is usually hacked to pieces and the author gets little if anything for their labor of love.

    I'm glad you stuck with it! Another word for surrender is QUIT. I am not a quitter and neither are you.

    Cheers.

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  13. Hmm, this is fun. I didn't give up when it came to a house I wanted. Of all the houses I'd seen, there was one house I'd loved and pictured my family living in. The sellers raised the price and tried some other shenanigans when they realized how much "everyone" wanted it. I ended up looking elsewhere, prayed on it and let go and...needless to say, we're living in it going on 9 yrs. Woosah! ;)

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    1. Sometimes you've just got to follow your gut!

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  14. That's what I keep telling myself...it will happen when its meant to happen. Until then, all I can do is keep plugging away!

    Great story! :)

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