Monday, December 15, 2008

Write Your Own Happy Ending...

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours." --- Richard Bach, American writer and pilot, from his 1977 book, Illusions.

There are times when we honestly can't write. Awhile ago my back went out. My desire to write simply wasn't enough. Unable to sit up at my computer, I spent days with cold packs, ibuprofen and magazines, trying to distract myself from the pain. One thing I could do was read (though barely). I made it through a short story and spent the rest of the time considering how the author had deftly handled the emotions contained within the few pages and how I might too incorporate such brevity in my writing.

Yes, we do encounter obstacles, and when faced with such, we strive to get around them or to work beyond them.

Yet obstacles are not limitations. Limitations are the restrictions we choose to embrace. Many writers combine a writing career with a day job or family. Some who are juggling jobs and family duties still manage to carve out a few precious writing minutes every day. There can be physical obstacles too (like my backstrain), or even an unmet need for privacy or quiet. There are so many obstacles that we may face but none of these are limitations. Why? Because, quite simply put, it is a choice to be limited.

Another choice (and dare I say a better one?) is to believe in our dreams, and in our success. Why choose otherwise? Let's decide also to let go of any tendency to explain why we can't succeed or why we can't embrace our dreams. Let's instead perceive each obstacle as a river to be crossed, and get to work building a bridge.

"No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." --Helen Keller

To be pessimistic means that we focus on what we cannot do or worse, we put all our energy into noticing the problems and turn our attention away from the solutions. It's not realistic to believe in failure or to set yourself up to "avoid disappointment." It IS realistic to recognize that rejections may inevitable in life BUT a rejection simply means there's more to be done. Another dozen queries perhaps, or another book under your belt.

My good friend, author Misty Evans, faced many rejections. She could have given up but she chose to keep moving forward. Not only did she focus on sending out more queries but she also kept writing. When she finally made a sale, how fortunate was she to have not just one book to sell, but a trilogy to be polished and submitted. When she found her editor, the books she chose to write were now waiting.

Richard Bach's book Jonathan Livingston Seagull was rejected 140 times before getting picked up. Gone With The Wind was reportedly rejected 38 times. A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times before being published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. The list goes on and on. Even Ray Bradbury said in an interview on Barnes and Noble that he was rejected over a thousand times!
To be successful requires an unwavering belief in yourself. A healthy dose of optimism is just the right medicine.

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. –Helen Keller

To be optimistic, we must throw open our hearts and believe. Despite the obstacles, despite any rejections, despite the times we want to heave that damn computer out the window and give up. Instead, we wish upon a star…

Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged. –Helen Keller

How fortunate are we to recognize and act upon our desire to write! We know what we want to be… what we are… Let's say it together now… We Are WRITERS!

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. –Helen Keller

It's true… reality will reflect back what we believe. That's why so many successful people recount stories of optimism and faith. If you believe in yourself, in your success, others will believe it too. If you mark each day with a sign of your success, you establish a habit of productivity and positive thinking that leads you past the obstacles and to your own Happy Ending.

Let's stay focused, mark each day with a sign of our individual success, start off the morning with a reminder to ourselves in the mirror. "You, my friend, are a Successful Author!" Write ON!

The week before Christmas is a busy time for many. Write what and when you can. If the minutes slip away though, let's keep our thoughts positive! The new year is coming and we're like seeds in the frozen ground ready to burst into bloom. Let's keep our faces to the sun, and remember... We Are WRITERS!

Go-go-GO! Write-write-WRITE!

--Chiron O'Keefe


Judith Leger said...

Thanks Chiron. I needed this. Sometimes, I get really depressed with working so hard then have what I've done blasted away with a rejection. At times, it's difficult to hold on my dream but my Mom always said I was too stubborn.

Sandy said...

Hi Chiron,

Another great post.

Judith, I had 93 rejections on one book so you know how stubborn I am. Grin.


Linda LaRoque said...

Another great post, Chiron. For myself, I know some of those limitations are self-imposed. I let other things get in the way of my writing.

One of my new years resolutions is to set a schedule for promoting and stick to it. Only an allotted time for blogging, etc.

Hope your holidays are merry and blessed.


Chiron said...


I hear you about being blasted. It feels so risky to put yourself out there in the first place!

We'll just have to hang in there together. *grin* Too stubborn is just stubborn enough!

Thanks for stopping by...

Smiles to you,

Chiron said...

Hey Sandy,

You definitely are an inspiration!! We just have to keep plugging away until it all comes together...

Stubborn sounds better and better!!


Chiron said...


That's very wise. By setting goals or schedules we can establish priorities and make things happen. I have a certain day I focus on the essay, for example. That helps.

Good luck with your resolutions!!

Goals are the rungs on the ladder of success.


Misty Evans said...

Stubborn = hope + confidence.

I still have my file full of agent rejections. They are like a badge of achievement to me. I kept the faith, kept rewriting my story and finally achieved what I knew I could.

Thanks for the mention in your essay, Chiron. Perserverance is my middle name, but you know that!


Tiffany James said...


Thank you for such a wonderful post. The holidays are crazy busy but I love the New Year! Fresh and full of promise, I feel like I start with a clean slate - new goals to strive for, new experiences for the taking...that is what I focus on this time of year. And, of course, write every spare chance I get!

Happy holidays to you and yours.


Chiron said...

Write On, Misty!!

You are my inspiration...

Hugs and smiles,

Chiron said...

I hear you, Tiffany!! I love that feeling of starting anew...

Happy holidays to you, my friend. May this New Year shine bright for us all...

Hugs and smiles,