[Blogging Mindset] Never, Ever, Ever Give Up

“What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.”  —  C.S. Lewis

When asked how he writes so fast, Stephen King answered, “One word at a time.”

This is the kind of answer that no one believes in. And the fact that there’s an abundance of related cliches doesn’t help either.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Or something like that. The Great Wall of China was built by laying one brick after another.

It is not the mountains to conquer that make you give up, but rather the pebble in your shoe.

All cliches. Terrible, terrible cliches that we can’t help but fear and loathe at the same time.

Want to know why?

Because they are so damn true.

Fourteen years ago, when I first started writing, I was sure writing was easy. You should have seen me, getting so excited about my first idea, working day and night on my story.

I knew for sure that I’d be rich and famous and they’d be making movies after my stories in no time, and I’d become the youngest writer to ever receive a Nobel Prize, and they’d maybe even give me an Academy Award for writing the best original screenplay…

I never got to finish writing my first novel. As a matter of fact, tens of pages of that story somehow got lost, never to be recovered.

The first story I did finish, I posted it on an Internet forum, and people hated it. Not even one person had something nice to say about it. Some guy said I was either fourteen years old or a retard.

Probably I was both.

Maybe there are but two requirements to being successful in life:

  • You’re either brave enough to do what needs to be done.
  • You’re so dumb that you have not idea what you’re getting yourself into.

But did I quit writing?

Of course not.

I kept writing. One word at a time.

First novel I self-published? Sold two copies of the paperback and two copies of the e-book. It received two reviews, one of which was from a guy who had only bothered to read the blurb.

First blog I started? I quit after three posts and no feedback whatsoever.

I quit writing after this. Not enjoying the success I had expected broke my heart in two.

But during the following months I realized something:

Giving up doesn’t hurt that much. What really, really hurts is to wish on a daily basis that you hadn’t given up. 

Every single night I’d struggle to fall asleep. All these ideas would still come to me, begging to be given life, begging to be written down.

What happens when you don’t give up.

In April 2012, I got angry. I was sick and tired of it all: of being lazy, of feeling weak, of always giving up when things were hard, of feeling sick and tired and not doing anything about it.

Here’s what makes the difference between people: some folks get punched in the face once, and they decide they never again want to get punched, while others are willing to get punched over and over again. Some are so crazy they even smile when they get punched, as if urging life to hit them as hard as it can, for there will come a time when they won’t even feel those punches.

I decided to give blogging another try. To write and self-publish stories and novels. And to never, ever, ever give up. No matter what.

And I meant it. I swore that I’d much rather starve to death and die writing words that no one even bothered to skim through than live a dreamless life, to wallow in self-pity and regret and this lethargy of feeling tired, barely awake to notice what was right in front of me.

I promised myself to never give up, and it may sound easy, but it wasn’t.

Only I know the things I had to eat (or don’t eat), and how I spent 15-16 hours a day working, and the resentment I felt whenever I couldn’t manage to sell a book or product or when I’d pour my heart and soul into a certain blog post only to get a few likes and some generic comments.

The road to success is paved with anger, bitterness, being told “no” over and over again, failure, petty frustrations, the endless grind, more failure, the mind-numbing, graceless task of becoming great, even more failure, pain, all forming a river of blood, sweat, and tears, and then having to swim across it. – From a post I wrote some time ago

Count on it taking longer and it being more difficult than your worst estimates.

Eight years. That’s how long it took for me to earn my first money from my writing.

How much?

$1.05. Before taxes.

My first month blogging? I barely got 500 visitors in total.

Blogging is not easy, and I am not in the business of telling you that it is or making you believe that all you need are some tools. You can have all the tools you need, but if you do not know how to use them, or if you do not want to use them, or don’t feel like it, or you’re too tired, too stressed, too angry, too lonely to use them, it’s as if you never even had them in the first place.

Most bloggers quit when they realize how difficult it is.

When you feel like giving up, think of the fact that that’s when most folks quit. Do you want to be like them or do you want to succeed?

Do you want your words to mean something to someone? Act like it. Punch the damn keys. Stop complaining that it is hard and do the work.

One word after another. One day after another.

Focus on the struggle, not the victory.

It’s essential to have goals, and big ones, but it is also important to never focus too much on them.

Like I previously said, my dream was to become the youngest writer ever to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Now, if you are writing a blog that barely gets five likes (on a good day) and your self-published stories sell about one copy every ten or so days, then you might be inclined to give up.

After all… there’s this huge gap between who you are and who you want to be, an impossible distance between where you are and where you want to go.

Why even bother?

Besides, it’s difficult. It is painful. This is some sort of suffering that you’d be insane to want in your life.

One day at a time, my friend. Day after day after day.

Focus on the struggle. Focus on doing a bit today, a bit tomorrow. One word after another after another is power. Trust me. Write a few words in the right order, and those words can nudge the world a bit.

Do a bit of blogging every single day. Write, edit, read other blogs, take part in interesting conversations on other people’s blogs, use social media, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries, movies, TV shows. Feed your brain with as much information as possible.

It doesn’t sound like magic, I know.

It’s not The Definitive, Incredibly Short, Easy-To-Follow, No-Bullshit Guide to BloggingI know.

And I know this whole word by word, day by day, brick by brick principle sounds boring, stupid, basic, but it’s the truth.

After all, brick by brick is how they built the Great Wall of China, and you can see that damn thing from freaking space.

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143 thoughts on “[Blogging Mindset] Never, Ever, Ever Give Up

  1. Cue rick astley. Sorry I just had to say that. It’s totally true though what you write. Your just more successful than me because you have been doing it longer. Your possibly better too. Audiences take time to gather as you need to find the group for you and I’m yet to achieve that. It is however early days and hopefully mine will come.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really en-JOYed this post! Thank you. My favorite line was this “Giving up doesn’t hurt that much. What really, really hurts is to wish on a daily basis that you hadn’t given up” Love, Love, Love, this. Is this your quote or someone else’s? I’d love to use it myself so I need to know who to quote 🙂 And thanks for the inspiration … as writers and bloggers I am sure we can all relate to this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that it takes time to enjoy the struggle. And that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not the fairytale that we should go after, but rather trying to give meaning to our existence.

      Carpe diem! Funny. Got that tattooed some ten years ago.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I wanted to give up too, and sometimes I’m at the verge of giving up, but then something just drags me back, and I find myself writing in my laptop at 1 am. It’s just that feeling of ‘do it for yourself’ that drives me. I like what I write and that’s all that matters.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Great post as always. Thanks for really giving me the inspiration and the will to succeed. Most of the time, my ideas keep evolving. A lot of them pops up but stays in my drafts. Reading your posts keeps me going and I thank you for that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You reading my posts and commenting gives me inspiration to keep writing, so thank you.

      Well, it’s a good idea to keep certain posts in your drafts. Let them evolve. Think about them. I have some ideas that I work on for a few days, even weeks, while others… not so much.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Hi Cristian. You know, I feel a bit struggled with my post. Even since I follow and read your blog, I have been thinking a lot. I’m not a native English speaker. I’m worried about making grammarly mistakes. Should I worried about that?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m so glad I found this Blog! Great tips for anyone, so far I’m inclined to share everything I’ve read here with My audience. I went through the same thing You did when I started Blogging – SO excited to get started and Write – but nobody was reading it, I’d have been over the moon excited if I’d had 500 views My first month, I was lucky to have 10! For Me, it helped take the fear of what My audience might think away, and I just kept Writing. Now I have a very humble following, but I feel they know Me, they’ve watched Me grow and develop My Style. Now I just have to Keep doing it and work on marketing the material I already have. All the best, thanks for such an insightful and informative Blog. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Thank you for this post. I’ve recently come back to writing after a year away. I’ve been wondering if I’m making a difference, doing something important, and really if I’m any good at it. This post energized me. I, too, strongly believe in not giving up. Great to have this post provide some affirmation.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m sure you are making a difference. Every time I get frustrated about my own writing not making a difference I think about how important that other people’s words are to me, words that probably weren’t said in order to make an impact but did any way. So I just keep writing. Your comment caught my eye and made me want to respond. It all happens word by word.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. You are damn right, giving up does not hurt but not being able to hurt the most… I am also sick and tired of writing, have a lot of things that I have written but not able to finish but I can quit even when I think of doing so and that is so annoying

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I definitely don’t think I’m a great writer, but I know I’m not dead and I can keep learning and practicing! Maybe I’ll eventually get to an intermediate level of writing before I croak, ha! I’ve had a couple of other blogs that I started years ago and I stopped because I honestly got lazy – and many times I feel lazy now, and I make a bunch of excuses, but I promised myself I would not give up – thanks for this “picker-upper” post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most times there’s an underlying cause to laziness and procrastination. Maybe it’s because you do not think it’s worth it. Or maybe you’re scared of failure, or scared of success. Address this cause. Ask yourself why. You need a strong enough reason to do this. Figure it out. Why blog? Why write? What do you hope to achieve? Who are you blogging for? These are essential questions that help you find much needed motivation and drive to keep you going even when things aren’t going so well.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m really enjoying your real and honest posts. It’s refreshing and I’m guessing that’s why you have so many followers. I’m also trying to write real and honest posts. I’m only 2 months into this whole blogging journey. It can be very discouraging at times, but I am NOT going to give up! Thanks for sharing your story!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thanks very much. I started about four months ago and one month I did not even write anything. I have a day job so I am not writing for money yet. I just want to get into the habit of writing every day. Then the next step. It is discouraging to write and no one reads it or even bothers. It’s like talking and no one listens.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I consider myself a harsh critic of bloggers, and I thought this was interesting throughout, well thought out, and a very apt description of everything I’ve been through with anonymous writing. My guess is that I’ve been writing far longer than you, and I have far fewer followers, but as you alluded that’s not why I’m doing it. Reading through your blog, I sensed that you and I might be kindred spirits.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. The idea of being fed up isn’t an idea. It’s a real thing. It happens. I suppose the difference in those that succeed (whatever they value as success) is the crazy key pressing, the (at times mind numbingly boring) editing and the willingness to FEEL the highs with the lows. The lows come in abundance before any high! If I was training for a marathon it’d be sweat day every day before I’d even see the finishing line and all the glory of getting there. I

    I agree. Depending on what your niche is, the amount of times you need to post might vary however, you’ll have to work at it like a crazy person to get it right.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I believe that we are not made to just survive, even though our brains constantly try to trick us to do just that. We are meant to thrive, to strive for greatness.

      Whatever we decide to do, if our goal is to be good at it, it’s going to take a lot of time and effort.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Stacy.

      And, well, that’s the thing. We shouldn’t expect things to be easy. It takes a lot of time to become so good they can’t ignore you (and start paying you accordingly).

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Wow. You just put into a blog post the gist of the last five books I read from the Stoics to the Jocko Willink title, “Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual.” Focus on the struggle (also known as the process) rather than the goal (also known as the victory). Don’t get all excited if things go well, or depressed if things don’t go well. Just get to work and stick to it. That’s what you can control every day. Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Not only was this a great read, but a NECESSARY one at that.
    I currently have a blog (thelastpalabra.com). It’s taken some time for me to get out of the funk of the “wanting to give up” phase, but I’m getting out of it.
    This was an awesome and refreshing post, Cristian. The way I see it now: Heart engulfed in the flames of passion, but my mind operates like the Arctic.
    The job has to get done because we love doing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Sage like advice. I’ve been writing all my life and it’s only been in the last two I’ve been seriously trying to get something published. Mostly because of all those obstacles you talk about. But, when you ignore the critics online and the nagging voice of doubt in your head, it actually gets a whole lot easier. And the next thing you know you’re writing two thousand words a day in some way or form. It’s always nice to be reminded to not give up.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Hello there. I found your blog through another blog and I’m so glad I did. I’m in the process of writing a novel and while I have the mindset of never giving up, the words in your blog post have given me further encouragement and inspiration. As you noted and I agree, it’s all a matter of writing a word after a word. I’m also contemplating creating a blog. This is perfect timing. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I truly loved this post. I’m in the midst of finishing my first eBook and my prayer is if only one person read it and hopefully take one encouraging thought from it, then it will be worthwhile. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I love this! I think you’re right and I also believe it’s related to the reason behind the blogging. Is it for money? Is it for ego? Is it for peace of mind? Is it for helping others? These are the questions we all need to look at whenever things seem to be tougher than we can bear.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. An aspiring writer can’t win over readers if he gets hyperbolic. Whatever he might have hoped to say ends up a bunch of jittery and shallow mush. It won’t ring true. Maybe there’s method to his madness or maybe he’s just not very serious about the writer’s craft. That’s it. If the would-be writer is serious about his art, he’ll be patient and focus on thoughtful expression which involves contemplation, editing, and no easy way out. Self-discipline counts for a lot. Master that and it might shave off some of the time it takes to write something truly worthwhile.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Reblogged this on Because We Should and commented:
    One word at a time. When I started sharing my writings on social media, I was actually sharing it so that I can read it. It sounds funny but I was my first audience. Even now, I sometimes forget that I have to have followers or readers it such privileges just because I enjoy what I write. That’s what makes me to keep writing. I loved your post so much honestly. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I remember when you were struggling and I offered words of encouragement. I liked you back then and I like you now. I have felt like giving up a million times. I’ve never been a social butterfly, so it’s difficult for me. But I do enjoy writing. And yes, it’s heartbreaking to pour my heart and soul into a post and get little or no traffic. But I won’t quit.

    Liked by 1 person

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