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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

NEVER. GIVE. IN. (Olympic Blog Relay)


I’m part of Nicole’s Gold-winning Olympic Blog Relay over at Write Me A World.

My section of the “race” is about never quitting or never giving in.

One of my favorite inspirational stories about never quitting comes from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

It’s about the love a father had for his son, his injured son, who just wanted to finish his race – even though he’d lost all hope of qualifying for the next round of the 400m men’s race.

The athlete’s name is Derek Redmond of Great Britain and he and his dad, Jim, are great men.

The other night, I thought I was going to quit.

For real.

I was going to quit querying.

I was going to quit WIP.

Just quit writing.
I was bone marrow tired and tired of falling asleep over the keyboard, my head snapping forward and back while trying to finish the latest query, chapter (or both.)

Annoyed at never seeing any tangible progress versus the amount of work I’ve done, I highlighted the master WIP file and let my finger hover over DELETE.
Sitting there in the near-dark, obviously frustrated, I reflected on the one new paragraph I’d written all week, and I was like, whatever, who cares. I mean seriously.
Then, my phone buzzed, and it was the sweetest “Atta boy, you can do it” text from my wife (who didn’t realize how down I was feeling, but just wanted to send me some encouraging words.)

I put the safety back on, holstered my index finger and went to take a shower. (I have OCD and *have to* shower before writing J), then I returned to the keyboard.
Powering up Pandora, the first song that came on was Hang On by Plumb.

This second chance event caused me to look Heavenward.

“You… You’re very good, you,” I said, à la Robert de Niro in Analyze This.
Spirits lifted by these random events, I got stuck into some good writing.

An hour later, I stopped, looked over the top of my computer and laughed for not seeing the irony in my wanting to quit WIP…

I’m co-writing the memoir of Donald Braswell, a former professional opera singer who lost his voice – his voice!! – in a 1995 hit-and-run accident.

I heard Donald’s story during his first audition on America’s Got Talent (2008.)

He explained how he never quit believing he could one day sing again on a professional stage.
So, how could I quit, when Donald never gave up.

His story is so inspirational and I ain’t quitting, don’t worry. Donald’s story will soon see the light of day, and I’ll leave the rest in the hands of the Lord.

PS: If you watched both the Derek Redmond and Donald Braswell videos, you’ll notice that Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up is the featured song.
Random, huh? :)

And finally, as Winston Churchill once said:

Never. Give. In.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mark, I don't think God is going to let you quit.

Bonnee Crawford said...

Too true!!! Never give up! Keep fighting for what you love and what you believe in :) That's so awesome that your wife texted you right when you needed it, and very sweet too. And... that is one interesting OCD trait you have there. :)

Keep writing, Mark!

Cortney Pearson said...

I love how things came into play for you, to help keep you going! I've had the same thought this past week, how I was so DONE with everything! Writing, querying, the whole process of it all! But there's that little nudge inside of me that knows this will work eventually, that I'm doing the *right* thing, what I love, that won't let me quit. SO I totally hear you!! We'll keep going, keep trying! :D

Miranda Hardy said...

What a beautiful and inspiring story. I'm glad you're not giving up.

Nicole said...

Wow, you are sprinting away with that relay torch, Mark - awesome post!

This rings so true for me right now. I've had my own down-on-my-knees, almost-give-up moments that somehow turn into the most profound and encouraging "You...you're very good, you" moments. It's amazing how we get EXACTLY what we need to keep going if we just pause and have a little faith.

StratPlayerCJF said...

Excellent and inspirational post, Mark!

I really enjoyed this. You did an awesome job with this leg of Nicole's Blog Relay!

Brandon Ax said...

That's a great story and I guess we all get to those down points. I think it helps me to remember the writing game is a marathon not a sprint.

Also it's cool to see another stay at home dad.

Suzanne Furness said...

What inspirational words Mark. So glad you aren't giving up.

Elise Fallson said...

I want to hug your wife.
So glad you're not quitting.
You're not allowed.
You're not alone.
I should take a shower too.
Not because I have ocd,
but because I'm
a bit stinky.

Anonymous said...

So beautiful. I got goosebumps.

Stina said...

I've been there, Mark. My finger has itched to hit delete. But then I remember why I write fiction, and that was enough to end my pity party.

And wow, about the second video. I think the audience were major jerks for booing him to begin with. I'd like to kick them in the you know where for being so rude. ;)

Morgan said...

Ohhhh... Mark...

Bless your heart. Goodness, thank goodness for intuitive spouses. I'm so glad you got that text. You've got talent, my friend, and we all want to see you succeed. The truth is I was "there" a week ago Tuesday. Completely and totally. You're amazing. And you've got great things ahead you--certain people just do--and it's obvious you've got that extra something in you that separates you from so many. ;)

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Lara Schiffbauer said...

Yes, it's hard to keep going in the dark. I'm glad you got a little light to help you through to the next doorway. I truly believe you have a gift, and will be successful. So, don't stop. Okay? :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

You are such a talented writer...you must keep the hope alive! I have felt too often the depressing, "I'm nothing but a joker thinking I could ever publish a book", feeling. I would pray God would give me another desire...like the desire to keep a really clean house...but it never came...kept wanting to write. And slowly, bit by bit, I'm getting there!

Melissa said...

Aww. I just want to give you great big hug! And fly out there and disable your delete button. *pointed stare*

I can relate, though. I had a critter so harsh with my first WIP that I nearly gave it all up. I still have a lot to learn and many skills that could be improved, but my writing is much better.

I can tell from your blog and your attitude that your writing can't be anything less than stellar. Life (and thus finding writing time) will get easier as your kids get older. Don't give up. :)

loverofwords said...

Thank you Mark! Great blog post and inspirational for all of us. Hard week for me too. My grandson has autism and I was so discouraged this week about his lack of progress in the two special classes he is taking. I read your blog this morning and saw the Derek Redmond story. Tears are still in my eyes. Have you tried taking a break from the kind of writing you do and write stories for your boys using some kind of made up character such as a favorite stuffed animal? Just to unblock?

Maurice Mitchell said...

That's right. Hang on Mark! Great song too.

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