Thursday, February 17, 2011

Go So Far and Then Wig Out?

Missy Tippens, here. I watched American Idol last night. It was group night (which I hate because it's so stressful!) :) And one of the gals, who'd come so far, just flaked out in the middle of rehearsals. She decided it was too much, started crying and wanted to go home.

Can you imagine? Making it through auditions. Making it to Hollywood, then passing the first round. Then wigging out?

Well, the show officials told her to take a little break and think it over. Her boyfriend happened to be there to lend support. And she finally decided not to let her group down by leaving. She went back and continued practicing.

I thought for sure she would choke when their turn came. I'm sure her group was waiting for her to fall apart. But right before their group sang, Randy gave them a little lecture about trying to do their best as individuals even though they were working in a group. And she gave it her all. Sure, she was a little "pitchy" a couple of times. But she sang her heart out. And every member of her team gets to continue on.

I'm happy for her. She worked hard, accomplished a lot, then nearly gave it all up by walking away. But she forced herself to push ahead. Who knows how far she could go now?

Have you ever let fear or exhaustion or doubt stop you from your goal? Have you ever given up and NOT pushed ahead--and regretted it? Or have you come close to giving up and then continued on like this gal did?

I nearly gave up writing two or three times. In fact, I actually made the decision to stop one day several years ago. I had received a package in the mail that had contest entries returned from a contest I didn't do well in. One of the critiques was particularly rough to read. And the hardest part? The fact that she was right, and I knew it. That tore me up that my writing still wasn't good enough. So I gave up. I prayed and cried my eyes out, telling God I just couldn't take away the time and money from my family anymore. It was time to quit.

Not thirty minutes later, I got a phone call that my story was a finalist for a Maggie Award.

And guess what I did. Yep, I cried harder. I bawled my eyes out once again as I thanked God for giving me the that encouragement that I was on the right path.

I just looked back at my records, and the year this happened was 2004. That story went on to win the Maggie that year.

It took three more years before I sold my first novel. But that tear-filled day in 2004 was the last time I quit. Granted, I had moments of discouragement. But God kept me going until I got that life-changing, dream-affirming call from Love Inspired Books. And now I'm teary all over again just thinking about it!! :) (sniff, sniff)

Don't give up your dreams (writing or otherwise). Even when you think you can't spend another penny. Even when you think you can't spend another minute. Even when you think, as that girl did on Idol, that you're done, you want to go home. Don't quit. God gives us our dreams, our gifts, our desires, and we can't forget that He's with us every step of the way.

So what about you? What's your dream? Have you ever given up?


  1. Hi Missy:

    OMG! Your post was like a wake up call this morning! What you wrote made me realize something I haven’t considered before.

    There is something more insidious than giving up and that is putting things on hold. I never give up; I just put things on hold. I’m just thinking now about how many goals I have on hold.

    You have given me some serious issues I have to work out! Thanks. : )


  2. Oh, Missy! I needed this this morning. Giving up through procrastination is exactly what I've been doing. I've received proposal requests and full requests and before I've sent them off I've thrown my hands up. I guess it's easier to tell myself I'm not good enough than to hear it from an industry professional.

    But you are so right. God does give us our dreams, our gifts, and our desires. I guess I second-guess, wondering if writing it truly my gift.

    Thank you for this timely post. It's going to be a bright sun-shiny day.

  3. Just what I needed today :-)

    Yes, I've been there. I think we all go through cycles. But on the ones we stopped short, we should have pushed through.

    Yes, I needed that today.

  4. Well, Vince, that's an angle I never thought of in my post. So God gave you that word!! You need to go for it! :)

  5. Christina, I have been the queen of procrastination due to fear! So I can totally relate. Don't put it off.

    I had a request years ago, and I didn't send it for almost 9 months after the conference. She wrote me a very nice rejection letter and thanked me for sending it. She said I wouldn't believe how many people never follow through. So don't miss out on those great opportunities! Go ahead and send them now!! :)

  6. Angie, I'm glad it was good timing for you as well.

  7. Great post! It is amazing what we go through and what we let get us down. I have requests I didn't send, stuff I did send but never heard from. Not sure if I should have followed up a little more or not.
    I have almost given up before, but like you, God showed up in some way and told me no, it's not that easy. Push through.

  8. Lindi, that's a tough call about when to follow up! But yes, I think we should always do so. It's just hard to know when. :)

  9. Yep, Missy, you've hit the nail on the head...(cliche alert). I've been in just such a place since last fall. Trying valiantly to pull myself out of it, but it's hard when life overwhelms you. Thanks for sharing your testimony. It has encouraged me today. (I actually read it early this morning, but didn't have time to post a comment then.)

  10. I quit writing for 3 years--or put it on hold--as Vince said. During those 3 years, God redirected my life and gave me the spiritual knowledge to change what I was writing to Christian fiction. It was meant for me to take a 3 year break.

  11. Dianna, I think life overwhelming us is different from giving up out of fear or discouragement or disappointment. Sometimes, like Jenn mentioned in her comment, God directs us away from our writing to care for family members or whatever. It's hard with young cihldren. And you work outside the home full time. I think part of the pursuit of publication is pacing yourself to your own life situation. You'll find that pace. Just don't give up!

  12. Thank you for sharing this post, Missy. I watched American Idol last night, too and my heart went out to the girl who got so overwhelmed. Maybe I saw myself in her. I, too, have questioned my writing abilities and have wondered if I am just fooling myself about being a writer, but after reading this, I'm NOT giving up!

  13. I just got Missy Tippens' new LI book in the mail from my Reader Service mailing. :-) Can't wait to read it!! :-)

  14. Oh, Rebecca, that's so exciting!! I haven't heard from anyone who's seen it yet. Woo hoo!!

    By the way, do you get all 6 books each month? If not, do you mind telling me how many you get in your subscription?