[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.

270 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 5 people

  2. I enjoyed reading your post because it t rang true. I blog every day since September 4, 2017. While I wish I had a bigger audience, writing brings me so much joy. I don’t know how to make a living at blogging but I would love to one day. In the meantime, I just keep writing, one word, one post at a time.

    Like

  3. That’s a really cool post and something I always miss in success stories. People often say “things were rough until the breakthrough” as if taking away from how things can be rough DAILY and make you feel pretty miserable but you keep going and only some time into misery and self-determination that feels like madness some success starts to appear.

    Like

  4. “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

  5. 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

  6. This was a good read. Giving life meaning is one of the most powerful things one can do. It’s like the difference between seeing the morning birds chittering or witnessing a family of canaries cascading through the branches, tumbling into the crisp morning air, the sweet chittering melodies flowing into the countryside like a great river of music.

    People search for and yearn to create meaning. When you create something with thought and depth, it glows gold with value and life. The more thought you put into something, the more valuable it will become.

    Like

  7. ‘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

  8. 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 2 people

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Love your advice. As someone who has been down a similar path I can echo you sentiments about getting busy doing whatever it is you dream of doing. Many people talk about what they’re going to do when they finally have the time. You’ll never have the time unless you make the time. Thanks again for the motivation!

    Like

  12. Great Blog. Thanks for sharing. I too am REALLY trying to take things one step in my life at the moment. Look forward to following you!

    Like

  13. Nice post Christian: I must say when I was 22 I was thinking it pays to hold on and believe in something (literature, music, focus). But a little thing about goals: listen to this song “dirty day” by U2! And be careful where you aim ’cause where you aim you just might hit

    Like

  14. Gotta say, I consider giving up my blog almost every day. I get almost 0 views and it’s already very demanding work.

    I created my first blog at the end of 2017 and in 2018 it lead to me getting more writing work, which was great. I decided to create a proper “brand” for myself and built a portfolio website on Google Sites, as well as a new blog (my current one) with a similar name top the portfolio so everything would be similarly branded. I moved my blog-based articles onto Google Docs (made publicly available for searching, and linked to from the portfolio). Then, the website I was writing for said they didn’t need me anymore.

    Now I’ve a “brand” – if you can call it that – and a portfolio and blog that no one visits and no one will really see links to as I’m not writing for the other site anymore. Sure, I post on social media (mostly Twitter and LinkedIn) as well as a few community sites I regularly visit, but the traffic just isn’t there.

    Honestly, I often wonder if it’s worth the trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Joe,

      I think that we often think of giving up when things are hard. Now, ask yourself, if everyone else is giving up at this point, then you should keep going.

      If you want to be successful, that is.

      Also, if you do not get traffic, maybe there’s something you are doing wrong. Experiment. Try different things. Learn as much as you can about blogging. Also, networking is crucial, no matter how good your content is. Stuff like that.

      Quitting is easy. But the regret that comes from the fact that you’ll wish everyday you hadn’t given up will break your heart over and over again.

      Like

  15. This makes so much sense. Great insights, it is never easy….. But the satisfaction though, if it is in your heart, let it out….Write. Trying my hand on this

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That’s right! And just for the record, all of my goals that I have reached were attained because I never, ever give up. You have to keep on working towards something if you want to get there. And that includes in life. If you haven’t already, make that your life motto, “Never ever give up” . Keep on keeping on, always, without fail. And one of the ways you can keep that strength to never give up is by having a great faith in the God of peace. Merry Christmas peace to all .

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hey,

    I really needed to hear this.
    I had these intense dreams last night, where I was frustrated with myself over how I had no self worth, and I didn’t feel like I knew how to get it. I was running around asking other people how to find it…
    And then right before I woke up, I remembered the answer. One my mentor told me once.
    You have to push yourself to accomplish things in your life. You have to do things you’re afraid you’re not capable of, and take risks, and follow through, and complete things, even if your book doesn’t get published, or you never become a famous artist. You have to do things, struggle, and follow through. The self worth will come.
    I’m fed up with my own dabbling and putting my poor ideas on the back burner, and feeling shame about shelving them. They are gifts, and I’m just filing them away in an attic, never to see the light of day.
    You liked my poem on my blog, and your blog was exactly what I needed to hear. So thanks for leading me here.

    Goodnight,
    Raven

    Like

  18. This is awesome!! Probably one of the best, positive, never give up writing that I’ve ever read. Thank you for this reminder that I can’t give up on my dream. I didn’t believe I should even bother writing anywhere online, and sharing it with the world. But I began to understand that I can’t die without ever having tried. Thank you again for the information and for helping me continue my journey and not give up.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Whoa, I remember following your writing a few years back. So surprised to finally stumble on it again. I love this, so encouraging. I started blogging when I was about 15 or 16 and I’ve given up so many times over the past ten years. I’ve created several blogs, deleting them after a time. But finally, I’ve decided, enough is enough, I’m trying again and this time I’m not giving up. Couldn’t have found this post at a better time. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I have been writing since I was 10 and have never given up on it. It’s like a part of who I am. But I did give up on blogging because it always seemed like no one would really be interested in what I have to say. However, this is my second attempt and although that feeling lingers, I feel like it’s more about myself and more about what I want to write rather than anything else. Thanks for this. Gives me a push!

    Like

    1. You just punch those damn keys. Don’t think, just write. Don’t worry what others might think or say about your words, just work on producing more content. And while the world ponders what your words mean, you create more words.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Your post reminds me of the old gospel song “One Day at a Time”. I didn’t learn it until I was an adult, but part of it says “help me believe in what I could be and all that I am”. How true it is that we have to have some belief in ourselves to stick with a thing when it gets hard!

    Like

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