Never give up. Never surrender.
That line from Galaxy Quest sticks in my mind. Often we encounter a frustrating situation in our lives that escalates until we want to throw in the towel. “I can’t do [insert whatever] because it’s too hard.” Case in point: I gave up learning how to crocheting years ago because my fingers wouldn’t do what Hubs’ grandmother tried to teach me. To say I’m a klutz is an understatement. Downhill skiing (when I was younger, mind you) and I just didn’t go together. I tried, though. I really tried. Same with golf. I never lose a ball because it never goes very far.
But what about things that have more importance than learning a new craft or sport? When faced with rejection of our manuscripts, it would be so easy to give up. To say, “I can’t do it.” Now it’s fairly easy to give others advice. You know what they say about free advice—it’s worth what they pay for it. But maybe we need to give ourselves that pep talk.
At what point—in our writing or learning a new skill or a myriad of other projects—do we give up? When do we stop banging our heads against a wall? There are times when we have to admit we just aren’t good enough/clever enough/skillful enough to complete a project. Or we can try a different approach.
As followers of my blog know, I gave up on my writing career five or six years ago. My (then) publisher hated my heroine. My agent talked a good game, but nothing happened. The manuscripts I sent out sat on editor’s desks (or in the inboxes) forever. Or they did a turnaround so fast my head spun with a polite “this doesn’t meet our needs” letter. My family life had enough trials that I was swamped. I was torn in several directions with little time for what I finally concluded was a dead-end career.
They say you can’t keep a good man down. Well, this woman didn’t stay down for long. That break—which relieved some stress in my life—was just what I needed. I entered contests, just like a newbie, even finaled in one. When the editor asked for a complete manuscript, I was thrilled. Only it sat on a desk for another year and a half.
Give up? I don’t think so. I turned my career in a different direction last year. With a book (Switched) to which I’d received the rights back, I entered the world of indie (aka, self) publishing. Switched didn’t fly off the virtual shelves but a few copies were sold. Success is in how you measure it. I measured it by how good I felt—energized, renewed. This summer, I released the sequel (Switched, Too), which had been sitting dormant in my computer. Then I decided to forget waiting for that editor who requested the manuscript and did it myself. The Pilot came out at the end of last month. Not counting chickens, but it is doing well.
Life has a lot of speed bumps. Sometimes those bumps feel like mountains. Give yourself permission to make a detour. Try something new, then—if it’s important enough—go back and try again. You may find the bump isn’t quite so high. Or the detour sets you off in a new, better direction.
A little bit about The Pilot:
There’s no place like home and he just stole hers. Cargo hauler, risk taker Celera d’Enfaden must work with rule-bound Administrator Trevarr Jovano to save her brother from a galactic gangster.
An excerpt from The Pilot:
Celara stopped looking for the Dockmaster when she saw a pair of legs topped by the most gorgeous set of male buns she’d seen in at least a year. The owner of the aforementioned body parts, encased in the dark blue uniform of the repair crew, was bent over the open hatch of an Agilean Speeder.
Now there was a ship. The sleek vessel—one of the fastest in the galaxy—almost distracted her from the mechanic. He’d shrugged off the top portion of the jumpsuit so that it pooled around his waist. The environment of the repair shop affected many newcomers, especially those unaccustomed to the heat.
As she stared at his butt, all she could think was oh, mama. She hoped he was human and that the rest of him lived up to the preview. Better yet, she hoped he was in a party mood. After escaping from the pirates, Celara wanted to howl . . . and someone to howl with.
“Hey, big boy,” she called to the mechanic. “Wanna party?”
As the mechanic abruptly straightened, he whacked his head on the raised engine hatch. He muttered a Bricaldian curse about origins. She hoped he meant the ship’s, not hers. But then, considering her origins, that curse wasn’t out of line. When he turned around, she sucked in a breath. Oh, yeah. A primal part of her sat up and took notice. His backside, gorgeous as it was, didn’t compare to the rest of him. He had the broad shoulders and muscles of a laborer plus the black hair, square jaw and blade-straight nose of Bricaldian aristocracy. What a delicious combination.
“Did you arrive on that hauler?” He nodded to her ship. His voice, a tantalizing allure of baritone and chokiris, sounded vaguely familiar.
“Yep. That’s my ship.” She tucked her thumbs into the side pockets of her trousers and thrust out her chest a little in pride. “D’Enfaden’s Thermopylae. Fastest little transport in three sectors.”
He walked past her to examine her ship then ran his hand—long, strong fingers, she noted—over the dents and scrapes along the aft section. “It appears to have sustained damage.”
“My thruster gimbal got damaged when I kissed an asteroid evading filthy pirates. They didn’t catch me, though.” She grinned. “Hey, you new around here? Don’t remember seeing you before—and I sure would remember seeing you.”
He arched his dark eyebrow.
She raised her hand, palm outward, in the traditional indie greeting. “Celara d’Enfaden.” As he stared at her with green eyes as sharp and clear as veridion, she raised her own eyebrow. “And you are . . .”
When he reached into the pocket of his work uniform and pulled out a zircan leather folder, she groaned before he even opened it. She knew what the folder contained. A shiny gold badge, carved with an intricate array of stars, swirls and a tiny red jewel in the center. The insignia of the Coalition.
“I am Administrator Trevarr Jovano.” He snapped his fingers and two armed Security personnel stepped out of the shadows of the Agilean Speeder. “I am impounding your ship and confiscating your cargo.”
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America as well as the Mid-Michigan, Young Adult and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal RWA chapters. She is the author of the Switched series, about twins exchanging places—from Earth to a starship and the reverse. With The Pilot, she begins a new series about strong women on the frontier of space. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.
Diane can be found around the Internet at:
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author