Will You Quit Before The Whistle Blows? by Carol Malone

 

We cant afford to quitPlease welcome author, teacher, and book-coach-in-training Carol Malone. Today she’s sharing her article about getting back up with life tosses you to the ground before the race is finished. She’ll speak to what it means and how to make it happen in your writing and in your life. Enjoy!

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Once upon a time, a critique partner told me I should put my manuscript in a box and place that box under my bed and never take it out. Imagine for a moment that you’re me. How would that make you feel in your mind and in your creative heart? Devastated, right? I wanted to slam down my manuscript and walk off the writing-playing field before the whistle blew, and not ever look back.

But that would have been wrong. I would have given that person too much power over my creative life. I would have missed out on the fantastic opportunity to write at least three books that I’ve published and many more that my Muse and I have created. As it is, the crux of that person’s regard for my feelings still stings, but I’ve turned that sting into passion. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we’re not put in this life to fail, but to succeed.

USA Today bestselling artist, and writing mentor and “Your Virtual Mentor,” Michael Hyatt suggested in his article dated, April 6th, “Don’t Quit Before The Whistle Blows,” that it would be a shame if we quit something before finishing.

Michael tells the story of a young runner from the University of Minnesota, Heather Dorniden Kampf, with an impressive record of races  who once had a horrible set-back while running in a major 600 meter race. In this particular race, Heather was tripped be another runner and went down—hard. But what was different and made her something extremely special was, she got up, and not only finished the race, but won. (If you’re interested, you can watch this video and tell me that you’ve been inspired ).  Even the amazed announcer said a lot of girls would have stepped off the track and not finished the race.

What made Heather special?

Not only didn’t she quit—she won! This is inspiring to me. Sometimes in our lives we face challenges that threaten to swallow us up. Sometimes the old “fight or flight” syndrome kicks in and we would rather take the “flight” than stick around to “fight.” We bail, we cut and run, we take a hike, walk out, run on by, and check out. (I do love clichés.) I can’t help but wonder why I’m called upon to pass through my difficulties, those bumps in the road of time that not only threaten my dreams, but my will to continue writing.

The company my husband works for is undergoing a buyout. He’s the IT Director and the pressure of making sure the transitions from one computer system to another has fallen hard on his already overburdened shoulders. The stress level is such as to cause him severe migraines. Because I’m sensitive to his stress levels, I feel his biting tension as well. That affects me and my writing. So many days I wanted to bag the whole thing and watch reruns of Castle to escape the pain of uncertainty.

The runner, Heather, said in an interview after her great fall, “Not every fall I’ve had has been quite so epic, but I learned that it’s worth getting up every time.”

So how do we get up when lying on the ground is so much easier?

Michael suggested that, “We can’t afford to cheat ourselves or the people counting on us by walking off the field before the end of the game.” Have you ever thought that succumbing to pressure, to stress, to a difficult relationship, to a bad set-back with your manuscript as “cheating” yourself and others? Though the answer “yes” is harsh and difficult to swallow, we do cheat ourselves by running away.

So how do we stay the course, stay in the game, cease to knuckle under, go for broke, hang touch, keep plugging away, see it through, keep driving to the end, and a million other clichéd answers for “not quitting before the whistle blows?”

Let’s examine Michael’s suggestions to stay in the game and finish the race:

  1. Staying in the game builds character. Oscar Wilde has said about character: “I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character.” Little efforts to hang-in-there will reap great rewards of confidence and sterling character. Who would you rather hire someone to be the president of your company: a man who finished his MBA, or a person who dropped out of college and can’t stay with a job?
  2. Staying in the games tests our true abilities. We can only imagine that Heather knew if she walked off the race track she would never know what she was capable of. When she jumped to her feet, dusted herself off, she discovered the ability to succeed. Can you imagine the boost to her ego? It gives me shivers just thinking about Heather’s pride-bump. Heather said, “I like to put myself on the edge and find out what I’m made of.” Can you feel the tingles to believe you can stay in the game, too?
  3. Staying in the game impacts others. Heather wasn’t just running for herself—although personal gain is important—she was running for her teammates, her school, her community, and for the greater good of her Olympic dream. Staying in the game will affect not only us, but our families, our workmates, our companies, our communities, and, possibly the world. We can’t measure our effectiveness or our influence by the one time we struggled to get up and finish. We can’t measure the length of our character and ability to reach others when we see things through to the end.

I am not naïve enough to believe every situation in life requires us to tough it out. There are times when running away will save us. But most situations we press through to finish will stretch us; expand our ability to reach further, and beyond the comfortable. We will become finishers who will benefit others.

When you’re faced with a blank screen or piece of paper and the words are stuck, remember the runner, Heather Kampf. She didn’t let a stumble and fall keep her down. Gently remind yourself of the steps Michael Hyatt outlined, and get up, rise up, and step up. I’m particularly fond of the song, Rise Up, by Andra Day . It’s my new best inspirational song.

Listen carefully to the lyrics:

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again

All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
We will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, ohh ohhh
We’ll rise

So go write something good today, face something you’ve been putting off—get back up when you fall down. Don’t be afraid of writing crap or of writing success. If you stumble, if it’s not perfect, get up, rise up and be strong. What you finish—after the bell has rung—will bless your life and the lives of your readers.

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About The Author

Carol Malone, AuthorAn award winning novelist, Carol Malone writes historical romantic suspense to rocket readers into the past to uncover a hard-fought happily-ever-after. If not hammering out new tales, Carol is reading, watching sports, The Voice, or reruns of Castle with her author husband on the coast of California. She loves to connect with her readers on her website, Twitter, and on Facebook where you’re also invited in for a chat.

Website: http://carolmalone.net/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolmaloneauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarolAnneMalone

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2 Responses

  1. Hugh Tipping says:

    It’s so important just to keep writing. Even if you write about the weather, keep pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Don’t lose momentum. Thanks for the motivation.

  2. Carol Malone says:

    Thanks Hugh, for the motivational push. I do write every day on my Morning Pages from the book “The Artist’s Way” about rediscovering your creative inside.

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