The Courage to Keep Going

Awhile back (this post actually) I mentioned that I might have news. I do, but not the kind of news I wanted to post here. But the reason why I am, is because I recently read some posts by people who had to courage to write about their pain. So, here I go.

In the post I linked to above, I mentioned that an interested party (code word for agent) expressed interest in my middle grade novel. I felt like Cinderella, finally getting a chance to go to the ball. But after I revised the manuscript at the request of that person (I now know what it means to bleed over a manuscript) and turned it in, I later learned that the interested party was now disinterested.

Cinderella anticipating the ball

You know how it feels when you’ve heard dozens and dozens of no’s, only to finally have someone say yes, but then to have that person turn around and say, “On second thought, no”? One of my sisters-in-law told me, “It’s like the rug was snatched out from under you.” A feeling she has also experienced recently.

Imagine this bear pillow is a rug. Now, imagine it being taken away.

I found myself spiraling into depression—an unfortunately familiar place, where getting out of bed seemed pointless. If you don’t suffer from depression, you might not understand that. And I get it. There are worse things in life than being rejected. But when you’re depressed, everything looks gray.

Some really good friends refused to allow me to stay in that dark place. So, with their prayers and encouragement, I got up. Took in a really entertaining movie (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) with a friend who also has had a hard time. Started a new book. Began revising some of the old ones.

Perhaps a disappointment like this might not rock you. You might even have a “Why don’t you do this?” piece of advice ready and waiting. Believe me, I get a lot of advice. To which I answer with this image:

We all have a path we follow. Some of us go in one direction. Some of us go in another. My path might not look the same as yours. The path I’m on is not an easy one (nor am I suggesting that others are). But it is the one I’m on. Believe me, I’m not a masochist who delights in my own pain. I’ve wanted to give up so many times.

I can’t help thinking of someone who came to speak to my SCBWI group. After 300 rejections for one book (you read that right), an agent accepted her manuscript. It was later published as the first of a three-book series.

Would you have the courage to keep going after that many rejections? That author’s persistence humbles me, especially when I consider that I only have a fraction of that amount. (And I’d thought having well over 60 rejections for one book was bad.) I think the title of a book I’m about to give away says it all: Keep Calm and Sparkle On! That’s what that author did. That’s what I plan to do.

If that’s not a segue, then I don’t know what one is. Let’s move on to the winners of the books that were the subjects of the interview posts here and here. They are Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age by Charles Yallowitz

Cover by Jason Pedersen

and The Wish List #2: Keep Calm and Sparkle On! by Sarah Aronson.

The winner of Warlord of the Forgotten Age is




Lyn Miller-Lachmann!

The winner of Keep Calm and Sparkle On! is




Penny from Life on the Cutoff!

Winners, please confirm below. Thank you to all who have put up with my ramblings over the years.

Jumanji movie poster from Path sign from Book covers and author photos courtesy of the authors. Other photos by L. Marie.

When Writing Becomes a Step of Faith


For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

The fog of doubt is an unpleasantly cold thing, full of slithery, scaly creatures. But I’m in the midst of it.

I don’t want to be here.

The other day, I received a rejection for a novel I wrote before the one I’m currently working on, a rejection without feedback other than, “I was looking for something you didn’t give me.” I’m paraphrasing, so please don’t get the impression that the rejection was terse. It was actually phrased quite pleasantly. Yet there were no invitations to resubmit if changes were made or “let me see something else you’ve written.” Just a no.

So today, the conga line of doubt began to beat in my head. Instead of the usual duh duh duh duh duh duh duh DUH beat, this one went, It’s a shame you really su-UCK.

When life hits like this, I do what I usually do—get in the car and drive. Probably not the smartest thing I can do, since I’m an impatient driver with a tendency toward road rage. Little old ladies driving Chevrolets fear me as I loom behind them like an angry pachyderm.

The gray sky spit rain at me—a fitting match to my mood. And I hit yellow lights all the way.

Yellow-LightA rejection is like that too—a yellow light cautioning, “Stop.” I don’t like to stop. I like to keep rolling. But this time I needed to stop and take inventory; to face the crossroads brought on by rejection and decide where to go next.

First, I decided to have lunch at Red Lobster. The child within me then demanded ice cream from Culver’s to take home and eat later. Okay, I’m lying. First, I cried and felt worthless. Then, I went to lunch and later for ice cream. At that point, I came to the conclusion that writing is pretty much a step of faith. Maybe you’re shouting, “Duh!” right about now, having already come to that conclusion ages ago. I’m a little dense sometimes. But persisting in writing without receiving positive feedback feels a bit like stepping off a cliff sometimes. Do I believe in my story? Do I believe in myself as a writer enough to keep going? That’s where faith comes in.

   LobsterShrimpandScallops Culvers

 I didn’t have this exact meal, but I had this custard. It didn’t have feet or hands, however.

As I thought about it and prayed about it, I was reminded of my car. If I put myself in park, i.e., stopped writing my current novel, that would be like putting my car in park at Culver’s. As a result, I wouldn’t get home with my ice cream. Instead, I would be wallowing on the sharp rocks of doubt. (Yes, I often mix metaphors.)

So I chose to climb off those rocks and take my ice cream (and my car) home. The only thing I wrote today was this, however. There’s always tomorrow.

Maybe if you’re at a crossroads yourself, wondering if you should give up or keep going, you’ll decide to keep going too.

P. S. Though this has nothing to do with what I just wrote, I can’t help mentioning it. During my drive, I stopped at Target and caught a glimpse of this:


This is the Old Spice Wolfthorn Wild Collection Holiday Gift Pack. Um, I’m not sure what the snarling one-eyed wolf is supposed to convey. Coolness? Masculinity? Either way, it made me laugh out loud on a day when laughter was the furthest thing from my mind.

Crossroad image from Food from and Yellow light from Old Spice from somewhere on the Internet.