Once again, I’m in the middle of having no idea how my life will go in the near future. John’s job in New Zealand is over, and we are waiting to find out where we will live next. He’s interviewed all over the world, from Seattle to Stockholm, so we could end up anywhere. Meanwhile, we’re living out of four suitcases and guest room-hopping in Southern California.
Does that sound romantic? One of my friends said it did with a smile and a sigh. Consider it more deeply. I can’t make plans. I have no place to call home. I don’t have a recipe box or my usual kitchen appliances to cook what I’m used to eating. I don’t know how many groceries to buy because I don’t know if I’ll have to give them away soon if I buy too much. (We gave away over $500 of groceries when John got his last job because we didn’t know we’d be moving out of the country.) I can’t even buy many gifts because some would be too big to move, or would have the wrong type of electricity if we moved out of the country again.
Of course there are lots of positives as well! I’ve lived in other countries and seen beautiful lands and made amazing friends all over the world. I’ve seen my home country from different perspectives, which has helped me to understand the world a little better. I’ve eaten different foods and participated in different activities that I never would’ve known about.
But running a business as you constantly pack and unpack and move and move again is very difficult. A single move may cause you to have to pause your work temporarily, or work only on a laptop for a few weeks. But I’ve moved three times in the last year. (Hear my ginormous sigh.) When your life gets uprooted often enough, you may consider quitting and doing something else that you hope won’t be so difficult.
When I started writing this, I temporarily named the article, “Never Give Up, Never Surrender” because I love the movie Galaxy Quest. But I remembered a zippered pouch my husband gave me with a Winston Churchill quote on it, “Never, never, never give up” so I did a little research to share that with you as well.
What he actually said was:
Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
Any of us can use those words to strengthen ourselves against what pushes at us, what seems to be attacking us. Never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Sound advice.
But it was another section of Churchill’s speech that made me decide to write this for you. Listen to this:
You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination.
He doesn’t say more on this, but segues into the “never give in” part of his speech. [You can read the text of the speech here (with two added paragraphs that aren’t in the audio) or listen to it here.] But it made me think. Yes, we imaginative, creative types see so many possibilities in the world. We see kind people and angry people and imagine them to be life-givers and destroyers. We see beauty and ugliness and we imagine them to be fleeting and forever.
We can create a new future just with our imaginations. But what will we choose to create? Something life-giving or something destructive?
Today, I’m tired. Bone tired. Soul tired. I don’t know how to have the strength to get through the next few months. But I don’t have to get through the next few months. I don’t have to decide now whether I believe the near future will be a blessing or a curse. I only have to decide what to do and how to feel now. In today’s box.
In today’s box, I only have to post this blog, go to church, and move to another friend’s guest room. In today’s box, I only have to buy groceries for the next few days. In today’s box, I only have to try to relax and enjoy a Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow I will figure out what is in the new “today’s box.”
Even Jesus preached this wisdom when He said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
I suspect that an upcoming “today’s box” will include looking for a substitute teaching job, something that can be started and stopped with a moment’s notice. Will I give in to the impulse to quit trying to make this writing business work? It’s tempting.
But I can use my imagination to see the world being a better place when people read my fun, encouraging, uplifting stories. I can imagine other writers being inspired by me to not quit when they listen to my podcast, read my nonfiction books and articles, and listen to me teach them what I know.
And I can imagine myself choosing each day to believe more in the good than the bad. I can believe more that we can make the world a better place, not allowing my imagination to see the world sucking the life out of me.
We have more power than we realize. We must use it. To encourage ourselves, to encourage others, to choose not to quit trying to make the world a little brighter because of what we do and who we are.
Decide with me today – never give in.
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. WRITE NOW! Workshop, her website where she teaches and offers advice on self-publishing and time management, is under renovation. Look for the new website near the end of 2017!
I’m taking a page from Michael Hyatt’s playbook and trying to write ALL my blog posts for the next week or two in ONE day. Whew! The good news is that I get to write all day! Haha! The other good news is that with my brain focused on one thing, I’m writing better blog posts, though I’m not sure if it’s taking me any less time. (Maybe if I do this regularly it will go faster, but not yet.)
The other interesting thing is that my posts are becoming somewhat thematic as I write them all today. Everything I’ve wanted to write has to do with encouragement in one form or another. (Due to the luck of what day the 9th fell on this month, because that’s my blog day here, I have three posts hitting three different websites today!)
From a writing perspective, I want to encourage you to keep asking “Why?” John and I went to the East Valley Authors annual writers retreat last Saturday and had a great time. But on the way home, one or the other of us would start muttering, “Oh damn…” Laurie Schnebly Campbell taught two workshops on character motivation for the whole day, and it was startling to suddenly realize what you thought was your character’s motivation was just your author reasoning. It was a great day and Laurie gave everyone a lot to think about.
It also made me reconsider my own motivations. Why am I doing what I’m doing? And as Laurie said, “And why is that? And why is that?” After some work, you get another “sudden” revelation about the real why. Whether it’s for your character or for figuring out yourself, it’s good stuff.
When you are feeling tired or disheartened about your writing career, I want to encourage you to ask yourself why. The initial answer might be, “I write so slowly, I’m not getting many books out.” Or “I’m published but not selling many books.” Or “I self-published to make more money and I’m not making much.” Whatever the first answer is, ask yourself why about that. Why do you write slowly? Why aren’t you selling many books? Why do you have these expectations about money? And why is that? And why is that?
As you keep going deeper into the “why?” follow-ups, you may find your deepest motivation is something entirely different. Maybe it’s not money or fame that drives you, but a craving for respect from a significant person in your life who values money or fame. Maybe it’s not storytelling that drives you write, but the need for an inexpensive creative outlet. Who knows? You won’t even know until you start asking these questions.
I’ve learned some difficult things about myself over the years. Not having financial success makes me feel like I haven’t moved away from my poorer, other-side-of-the-tracks roots. I do write to tell the stories in my head, but I mostly write for the same reasons I teach – to connect with others and share what I’ve learned and entertain them in the process.
Knowing these things helps me understand why some advice from other writers works for me and some doesn’t. For instance, the “write every day” advice or the people who say “I have to write every day because I can’t not write” – that doesn’t inspire or motivate me because I can get the same high from teaching, and I can write every day for weeks, then not at all for a month or two, and I’m still quite happy. Up until recently, I felt guilty about that! I thought I had to feel the way “everyone else” feels in order to be “a real writer.”
I hope this helped you think about your career from a new perspective. If you’re interested in a more spiritual bit of encouragement, check out my “7 Steps to Building a Great Business and a Great Life” post on my author website. And if you’re giving some thought to quitting your writing, read “If You’re a Writer in Need of a Cheerleader” on Writer Entrepreneur Guides where I teach and share on writing topics.
Good luck! You can do it!
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her superhero books for women and romantic comedies are available wherever ebooks are sold, as well as in print and audiobooks. Check out her new Valentine’s Day novella, My Bullheaded Superhero Valentine.
I’m super excited about 2017. It’s going to be a great year!
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon . The free short story Superhero in Disguise and the new short story Welcome to Loon Lake are available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.