Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Giving Advice is Easy, Walking the Walk is What Matters.

The lie - I'm a nationally ranked chess player (although I used to play a mean game)
The truth - I ran for public office

Never give up! That's what I tell every aspiring writer who asks for advice. And it's true. You have to have tenacity. Stick to your ultimate goal like superglue. Never, ever give up.

But one day I did. Murder Passes the Buck had been shopped by an  agent, nobody wanted to take a chance on a story about the Michigan Upper Peninsula (NY didn't know where it was) or a hunting theme (although I made fun of hunters and didn't kill one single animal). I'd already finished half of book 2, when that fateful day arrived. I chucked the whole thing. Gave up. Let go of my dreams of becoming a published author.

Now what? What could I do with my life. I loved making up stories (BTW, my next protagonist's name is Story). After much thought, light bulbs (more like strobe lights) went on in my head. I would run for public office! I could still make up stuff! I filed the papers, pounded in signs, shook hands door-to-door, really put everything I had into the campaign.

And lost. Thank God. Because before it was over, at least one of my two male opponents was sending death threats. "Be careful opening your mail box," his main supporter told me. Next, they had a debate and forgot to invite me, although for the audience's sake, they pretended like I just hadn't cared enough to come. Then things got really nasty.

After the election, I picked up my bruised and discouraged body and went back to finish Murder Grins and Bears It.  That body Gertie finds in the woods with arrows jutting from his back? Guess who that is? Yup. One of my opponents. The other is the killer.

Since then, remarkable things have happened to me - won an important contest, found a dynamite agent, and I'm three series into a real career as an author. I had a temporary melt-down. We all do. But I came back and walked the walk.

Are you?

16 comments:

Jessica said...

Kudos to you Deb! Its not often that we can look at the positive side of a situation that turned out negatively in the first place. (Such as you lost the election, but it was a good thing!). I've had instances where I've wanted to give up. Have in fact just sat and cried and thought that I just couldn't do it anymore. But I find more and more that for me, it takes more energy to stop doing something that it does for me to just keep plugging along. If I try to quit, it just eats at me and worries me. So...I try NOT to quit unless its detrimental to me or those around me. Lets hope that my future holds great things for me, and that I don't miss something because I decided to quit! :-)

Jill said...

Writing (and probably any other artistic endeavour) takes patience and resilience. There are so many valleys and so few peaks. But all it takes is one break, one positive review, some good feedback from your writing group... and you can feel good about it all over again.

Andrea C. said...

Your post came on the perfect day Deb! Thanks for the inspiration. As so many of us do, I have been feeling useless and ineffective in career and life lately; in essence, I was just feeling sorry for myself - it is always good to get a dose of reality that reminds me everyone struggles and I surely have good things coming my way if I just keep going! Have a great day!

Dru said...

I'm glad you lost the election otherwise we would not be enjoying the books written by you. I'm looking forward to reading your new series.

I was sick towards the beginning of my senior year in college and with all the constant doctor's visit and lack of energy to attend classes, I considered dropping out. Then I realized that so many family members were counting on me and I've worked so hard to get to this stage, that once I got a clean bill of health - I finished my college education, a year late, and became the first in my family to graduate from college.

So yeah, I walked the walk and never looked back.

Vicki said...

Yikes! Public office? You are brave. I'm glad it gave you a good story line though...that's great! Very clever.

Deb Baker said...

Thanks for sharing YOUR stories and emotions. We all have our mountains to climb.

Sheila Connolly said...

Go, you! And aren't we lucky that as writers, we can turn any experience, no matter how rotten, into fodder for a story.

Linda said...

It's definitely a good reminder that you can have a temporary melt down, key word temporary, and then you must get back up. Thanks for the inspiration!

signlady217 said...

There are two books titled "You've Gotta Have the Want To" and "You've Gotta Get Up Again" both written by Alan Oggs, Sr., that address this subject of 'giving up, or not'. Mr. Oggs had cerebral palsy and, believe me, he literally fell down a lot! He graduated, got married and raised a family, became a licensed minister, and a published author. A very encouraging life story!

Sarah said...

Wow! That's an amazing story - and very inspiring :-) Thanks for sharing it.

Sarah

jbstanley said...

Ha! I love how you turned your defeat into a plot line! Well done, sister!

Lover of Books said...

That is so cool how you never gave up. It's not easy either and I am still working on it.
Krista

Heather Webber said...

I walk the walk, but I know my limits--there's NO WAY I'd ever run for office. You're a brave chick, Deb!

Deb Baker said...

Brave, ha. More like stupid! All these positive comments are inspiring me!!

Mason Canyon said...

To even think about running for office you have to be brave. No way I'd every consider it, much less try it. I'd say you got the last laugh against your opponents.

Dave Chaudoir said...

You could bring some good old Upper Midwest, Gertie sensibilities to town politics, Deb! But it's a brutal game... You didn't give up, ultimately, and that's what is important. And now we have all these wonderful books!! :)