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

  1. I love this post!!! Really. I spent maybe 2 hours yesterday figuring out how to create “signature brush” on photoshop so I could easily put my name on my photos. I fact I left, took a nap, came back and figured it out. I wasn’t going to give up, and it made my who,e weekend that I figured that out! One tiny tiny task learned!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. “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.” Speaks to my soul. Even if I decide to give up, my brain won’t shut up long enough to let me.

    Brilliant post! Just what I needed. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on a Cup of Tea and commented:
    Most of the time you wish you didn’t just give up. Live with regrets. There are things that can’t be fixed when it’s gone. But there also are things that can begin from zero again. Keep trying. It’s not just career, dreams, but Life. It means more than you could value it. Once gone is forever. “Take it easy, one step at a time. If you are tired, have a break, relax yourself and don’t push too hard. Just one step at a time is enough. You’ll be there”, someone told me at the time I really need to hear.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. ‘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…’… loved this bit and had a hearty laugh.

    Dreams we all have but the will to work for them is the key… thanks for the inspiration

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You can also redefine what “giving up” means…some of us really do not have time to blog everyday due to other responsibilities…I strive for “regularly” which meant monthly at first then 10 times a year instead of 12 … “something is better than nothing” –another cliche but true.

    Stephen King wrote my favorite book On Writing, and he too emphasizes how he writes every day but Christmas (and that is a lie because he writes on Christmas too). I love him (but not his scary books which is most of them ) but I also love his wife, because her taking care of him, her belief in him is what made Carrie , his first break through novel, possible. She fished its first draft pages out of the trashcan that SHE (not he) was emptying and said, “Wait a minute, I think you have something interesting here…”

    Behind every great writer is someone who believes in them, maybe more than they believe in themselves. I don’t know if that is a cliche or I just thunk it up myself 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “On Writing” is the only book by King that I have ever finished and it’s brilliant! One of the only books I have ever read that I can honestly say, I could not put down. I read it in three days. I wish his fiction captivated me the same way.

      “Behind every great writer is someone who believes in them, maybe more than they believe in themselves.” – I’d say it almost HAS to be the “more” part. I think as writers we tend to discount our skills, ability and value and we need that person that you can count on as a cheerleader.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a huge encouragement! I mean really huge! I started blogging on my current blog 9 years ago. I abandoned it for some time, out of being busy. 3-4 days ago I decided I will come back to blog, and to start an English section and to try to do the impossible. The first thing happened is getting 10 fold of my previous average number of visitors.

    Thank you very much for this great and real blog post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I could have written this! It’s funny, I was looking for your post about the best super hero films – ‘cos I got thoughts to share on that one! Read this one first and it resonates – hard. It reminds me of two quotes – the first from “A League of Their Own.” (One of my ALL TIME favorites, maybe the best quote ever…hmmm sounds like a good post idea). Dottie and Jimmy talk about Dottie leaving the team –
    Dottie Hinson: It just got too hard.
    Jimmy Dugan: It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.
    It’s true in everything – I sometimes do Stand-up and I see funny guys all the time – and girls – do an open mic and kill but never come back or if they do it’s months later and they just say, “awww, it’s to hard to write material…” well, duh! In most things, and I have seen it in comedy, the headliners – or the people that succeed, are not always the best or the funniest, OFTEN, their the ones that did not quit.
    The other quote you reminded me of – and you ca use this if you ever edit the beginning of this piece is, “How do you eat a two ton gorilla? One bite at a time.
    Now, I gotta go find your super heroes post!

    Liked by 1 person

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