Saturday, April 16, 2011

Never, never give up...Except when it's time

N is for Never
I once believed that I could do anything, go anywhere, be anybody. One day I found out that wasn't true. What I do know is winners sometimes have to lose before they win. Not sure what I mean?  Let me see if I can explain it. Stay with me. To get to the other side of this it will require some trudging through the muck.

As children everything is possible. We soon realize that we have limitations. Some say those limitations are only in our minds, maybe. This was the reality:  no matter how hard I tried I couldn't run fast enough to compete with the best runners. Miles and miles later it hit me that I really didn't enjoy running my guts out. The obsession with getting miles in, pleasing my coach and beating my competition had lost its pull. So I quit. Amazingly, after getting over the initial feeling of failure, I actually felt better, less anxious. I was free to turn my attention elsewhere. My writing.

Years later, after burning and ruining things I had to face the fact that cooking wasn't my forte. Heaven forbid a homemaker that had serious problems in the kitchen. For awhile, I thought something was wrong with me. Why was this so difficult for me?  I must not be smart enough, trying hard enough and I definitely wasn't fullfilling my "role" as a woman. Then one day it hit me; I don't like to cook.  I discovered pre-cooked foods and didn't fret if all we had for dinner was a sandwich. Once over the guilt and embarrassment I had courage to admit that I didn't like laundry, organizing shelves or cleaning. That was when I accepted that clean was good enough everything didn't have to be spotless. If my children had full tummies and had clean clothes on, it was enough.  I felt relaxed with my children, less stressed out about not getting everything done perfectly. Reading and playing with my children became a joy instead of a bother. And I had time to write.

What does this have to do with writing? Stephen King wrote, "The biggest part of writing successfully is being talented, and in the context of marketing, the only bad writer is one who doesn’t get paid. If you’re not talented, you won’t succeed. And if you’re not succeeding, you should know when to quit."  Harsh! My son once said he was "thinking" about being a writer but decided he doesn't really like to write. If there is no passion for what you do, you're probably doing the wrong thing.

So, to boil down to the essential message of this post. Never, never give up until you realize that it's time to try something else. Failure is when you keep doing something even when 1)You have no talent.  2)You do it for the wrong reasons. 3)Or you're so out of tune with who you are and reality-- to move on. I still don't know if I'm going to be  a "successful" writer but I do know I live to write!

Have you ever had to quit something after you realized it wasn't the thing for you? How did you feel? Or do you think I'm full of @#$%?


  1. This is an inspiring post and kind of harsh but realistic. I have been wondering about blogging in this way. Is it worth it to me? Do I have something that people really want to read and comment about? Then of course there is the writing. I love to write and create but am I talented enough to get published. So after all of this I think about the main message which is do what you love. Engage in things that help you be a better person. I really like the title and it has made me think about other things in my life: gaming,school, gardening. I guess to sum it up we have to try and not give up too early and develop our talent but if we are hating every moment of the development it is okay to quit. Sorry for the long comment but it is such a wonderful and inspiring post. Thanks!!

  2. I have no problem stopping something if I realize it's not right for me. Stephen King is big on talent and that does have something to do with for sure. But plenty of other successful writers say it is something you can learn.

  3. Oh, yes. I've had to quit when I realized something wasn't for me.

    I can't quit writing though. I've tried, when it's got me down. It only lasts for a short time because I can't quit that!

    Great post!

  4. I agree with you! I've done it myself. I can't help but having that sense of failure even if it's something that just wasn't for me.
    Writing, though, is something I've recently re-taken up. I know I'll never make any money, but it's therapeutic for me, in a way. I won't give it up...

  5. What an inspiring post! I love the words,"Never, never give up until you realize it is time to try something else." This phrase hits home for me. I have given up on things and needed a change, but then realizing that while trying something new the thing, I gave up was my true passion! I went back to it. Lesson learned.

  6. I agree with the idea of giving something up (or finding a shortcut) if you don't enjoy it.

    I'm still undecided on the issue of 'what if you love doing something but your talents lie elsewhere'.

    Especially as an educator: how do you help your students most in the long run: by continuing to motivate them, so they practise and get better, or by being harsh about their performance, so they stop trying something there's not good at and have to discover where their true talents lie?

    It's a tricky balance, especially because talent is just one factor for success, and not necessarily the most important one.

  7. Great post! The idea of finding when to quit vs realizing you need to move on is hard. Lots of food for thought here!

  8. Thanks for all of your comments!@K.C.Wolf Good comment, it is sticky. I have always thought it was important for kids to try lots of new things so they find out what it is they enjoy and perhaps have talent in. With my own children if they came to a place where they wanted to quit. It was always up for discussion. The last thing I wanted them to do or feel is that I was forcing them to do something they weren't interested in. Then it became more about the commitment they made (my secret way of pushing a little harder)to the school, the teacher, themselves and a timeline was worked out. (Finish out the season, the year, whatever.) It was never OK to just quit in the middle of something. To me that is what a quitter is. Someone that fulfills their commitment to the sport, instrument, is no longer a quitter but someone that is choosing something else to try. And they always had to choose something else to try...:)

  9. I like this post. It's all about setting priorities and making choices. I don't care, we can't do it all! Well, I know I can't!


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