Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mow your lawn

This morning I mowed my lawn. For a lot of you, this is not impressive. However, I am a 23-year-old renter who never had to mow my lawn when I lived with my parents. So, it was kind of a big deal for me.

Besides the obvious that mowing a lawn is work, I had this little problem. I couldn't get the stupid mower to turn on. I'd had my landlady explain it. I'd had my step-dad explain it when he was here. But, when I actually got out there to get the work done, suddenly it didn't work.

Confused, I tried again and again to pull that stupid cord, exhausting myself. Then I called my step-dad and told him my troubles. This is how the conversation went:

"Did you press the button?"


"Did you hold the lever down."

"Yes. I tried with both."

"Does it have gas?"


"Is there a button that says 'choke' or 'start'?"


"Well, it should work. I have to go." And he hung up.

Confused and angry, I tried again. And again. I eyed the vehicles with men in them, seriously considering waving them down and begging for assistance. I plopped myself down on my porch and glared at the stupid machine ready to give up.

But I didn't. Taking a deep breath, I got up and I tried again. It didn't matter that my shoulder kind of hurt from pulling the stupid cord a hundred times already. But I did. I pulled. And I pulled again. And I pulled a third time. And then ... sweet justice as the motor turned over, roaring.

Take a look at my now cut lawn.

I didn't give up, and eventually I was successful. That's what it's like with writing too. There are times when I'm staring at a chapter that I've written three, four, ten times and it's just not working. But, does that mean you give up? No! You keep going. And, eventually, there will come a moment when you get it and everything will come together. 

Writing is hard work. And, a lot of times you're not going to have help. A phone call to my step-dad wasn't helpful since he couldn't come and actually do anything for me. The same sometimes comes from critique partners. They can offer advice, but they can't do the work for you. Sometimes, you just need to buckle down and not give up. 

As the saying goes, the difference between a published and an unpublished author is the published author never gives up.

Or, for you sports fans: You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take. 

So, when the going gets tough, what are some things you do to not let yourself give up?