Monday, February 15, 2010

Writing Like an Olympian

Missy Tippens, here. Who watched the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics on Friday night? I’m always inspired by the Olympic games, and the athletes never cease to amaze me. Their commitment, dedication, persistence, fighting spirit—

What? Sounds like a writer pursuing publication, you say? By golly, it sure does! :-)

I checked out some of the athletes at, and their stories of how they overcame obstacles made me think of some of the lies and excuses we, as writers, sometimes tell ourselves…

Lie #1: I’ll never sell a book, so why try?

Jeremy Abbott

  • Home: Aspen, Colo.,
  • Birthday: June 5, 1985

Event: Figure Skating - Singles

Abbott began skating at age 4, inspired by watching British 1980 Olympic men's gold medalist Robin Cousins skate in a show in Aspen, Colo. He moved on to the U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills Program, competing in ice dancing and pairs. A fractured vertebra sidelined him for 15 weeks in 2003. In 2005, Abbott compared his chances of winning the junior national championship to the likelihood of pigs flying. Of course, he ended up winning the title. Family and friends subsequently started the "Pigs Can Fly" Web site and fan club. Abbott started the Jeremy Abbott Training Fund with the Aspen Skating Club, his first club, to support competitive local male figure skaters.

Short List Performance

  • 2009 U.S. champion
  • 2008 Grand Prix Final gold medalist
  • 2007 Four Continents bronze medalist
  • 11th place at 2008 and 2009 World Championships
  • Fourth place at 2007 and 2008 U.S. Championships
  • 2005 U.S. Junior champion
  • Ranked No. 7 in the ISU World Standings as of May 2009

Jeremy didn’t give up even when injured. He went ahead and tried. So can we! Remember, pigs can fly!

Lie #2: I don’t know the right people, have the right connections or have the money to pursue publication.

Kelly Clark

  • Home: Newport, R.I.,
  • Birthday: July 26, 1983

Event: Halfpipe
Height: 5-4
Weight: 135 lbs
Birthplace: West Dover, Vt.

Who would have known that a plastic Mobile Monster snowboard from K Mart would have such an impact on the world of snowboarding? Well, that's the equipment on which Clark got her start, linking turns on snow banks back in Vermont. A few years later she was enrolled in a
mountain school for her high school years and the rest is history as Clark marks herself as one of the world's best female snowboarders.

2006 Olympic Winter Games - 4th halfpipe
2002 Olympic Winter Games - 1st halfpipe
2001 Worlds - 9th halfpipe

If Kelly can start with a board from K-Mart, then we can jump right in no matter who we know or what our income bracket. Don't even let those type thoughts get a grip in your mind.

Excuse #3: I’ve been at this forever. If I haven’t succeeded by now, I never will. Besides, the last few contest entry results have knocked me on my rear.

Bill Demong

  • Home: Vermontville, N.Y.,
  • Birthday: March 29, 1980
  • Nordic Combined

Short List Performance

  • 1998 Olympic Winter Games - 10th (Team), 34th (Individual)
  • 2002 Olympic Winter Games - fourth (Team), 14th (Sprint), 19th (Individual)
  • 2006 Ollympic Winter Games - seventh (Team), 15th (Individual), 25th (Sprint)
  • 2007 World Championships silver medalist (15km individual)
  • 2009 World Championships - gold (10km large hill), bronze (10km normal hill)


Demong's father, an environmental biologist, had him on cross country skis at age 3, racing at 5 and jumping at 10. After seven years in Larry Stone's Lake Placid program, Demong made the 1998 U.S. Olympic Team at age 17. His biggest hurdle came in the form of injury, a fractured skull suffered in 2002 that held him out of the 2003 season.

Okay, so Billy started at age three. Three! How many of us started writing then? I don't think so. Yes, it may take forever to sell, but at least we don’t usually fracture our skull in the process! :-) We just have to be patient and persistent. Do NOT give up.

Excuse #4: I can’t figure out my niche. I’ve tried my hand at three/four/twelve different genres and can’t find my voice.

Anders Johnson

  • Home: Plattsburgh, N.Y.,
  • Birthday: April 23, 1989

Event: Ski Jumping

2006 Olympian

2010 Olympian

Short List Performance

  • 2006 Olympic Winter Games - 14th large hill
  • 2009 National Championships - overall champion
  • 2008 National Championships - first (large hill), third (normal hill)
  • 2005 National Championships -12th (large hill), ninth (normal hill)
  • 2004 National Championships - fifth (large hill), eighth (normal hill)

Vancouver Watch

At 16, Johnson qualified for and competed in his first Olympic Winter Games, making himself the youngest U.S. Olympic ski jumper in history and the second youngest ever to be selected to the U.S. Olympic Ski Team. He continues to improve and climb higher on the medal stands with a first and third place finish at the 2008 National Championships and a gold medal at the 2009 National Championships.


At 3 years old, Johnson followed his sister, Alissa, off a 20-meter ski jump with no helmet and landed, thus beginning his career in ski jumping.

You can’t always get it right the first time. You might have to take a risk and fail. And you know what? Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump!

Excuse/Lie #5: So-and-so has had such an easy journey to publication and has had immediate success. It’s just not fair.

Hannah Kearney

  • Home: Norwich, Vt.,
  • Birthday: Feb. 26, 1986

Freestyle Skiing - Moguls

Short List Performance

  • 2006 Olympic Winter Games - 22nd
  • 2005 World Champion
  • 2009 World Championships bronze medalist (dual moguls), 14th (moguls)
  • 2009 World Cup Season Champion

Vancouver Watch

Kearney's results have been as bumpy as the terrain she navigates in competition. From a World Champion at 18 years old to 22nd at the Olympic Winter Games a year later to 14th at the 2009 World Championships to the overall World Cup crown to finish the 2009 season. It's hard to say how Kearney will fare at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, but she will certainly be one to watch out for.


Kearney started skiing at age 2, coming up through the Ford Sayre program and Nick Preston's Black and Blue Trail Smashers Team at Waterville Valley, N.H. Prior to winning four Junior World Championships in moguls, she was a high school state soccer and track champion. Once Kearney narrowed her focus to moguls full-time, she won two competitions in her first World Cup season at age 17. She missed the 2007 World Championships due to a torn knee ligament, then missed three weeks in 2008 with a concussion.

We’d assume someone who’s made the Olympic team has it made, but it’s not always easy, and there’s no guarantee. The same with writing. Sometimes the path God takes us on is very different from the path He’ll lead someone else on. And often, it isn’t the easiest path. But we each have our own path that we need to focus on. Plus, as a good parent usually has to say at some point: life isn’t always easy! :-)

I hope you’ll be encouraged by these athletes and stay on your writing journey. And speaking of journey, can you share with us what’s been going on with your writing lately? Share both the thrills of victory and agonies of defeat.


Tina Pinson said...

Good post, Missy,
I'm gonna get me a kmart special board right away. Then I'm gonna pratice and practice LOL. I know writers don't get a fractured brain although it sure does fill that way sometimes.

Ausjenny said...

cool post I am loving the Olympics but it did start on a sad note with the death of a luge contestant. It was so cool to see the aussies wearing an black armband.
Its fun watching and every time I see Whistler and the different places I can remember being there and am recognizing alot of the places. My friend lives at Pemberton about 20 mins away and its so cool for her.
I love the stories and what you can learn from them.

Jill Nutter said...

Good Morning Missy!
What a wonderful encouragment you've offered up today. I'm thinking that with the snow coming down in Cincy this morning I could start practicing my own Nordic combined out on the street.:)

I've been studying the craft and practicing for a long time. Never give up is my motto. I've definetly suffered the agony of defeat many times, and I've thought about quitting more than once, but the thrill of victory may be nipping at my heels. If I stop pursuing my passion I'll never know what might have been.

Leigh said...

Good morning, everyone, and thanks for the inspiring post, Missy! I always love watching the Olympics and hearing the athletes' stories. If those people aren't models of persistence and inspiration, I don't know who is!

My latest writing victory is that I crossed the 40k mark on my WIP yesterday morning while everyone else still slept. Still a long way to go, but this is the longest I've ever stuck with a project so I'm excited. :-)

Jill, you're so right -- "If I stop pursuing my passion I'll never know what might have been." Love that!

Cold and rainy in Atlanta today, and we might even have a bit more snow later. Crazy stuff! Biscuits are in the oven and grits are almost ready. If you can't wait that long, I think there are some Krispy Kremes around here somewhere that the kids haven't devoured yet ... I'll leave the coffee prep to the pros. :-)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ah, Leigh...

Got us covered on the coffee up here in WNY and thank you for the biscuits. No one does biscuits like a true southerner UNLESS it's a New England farm wife.

Both wonderful.

Missy Tippens, I love this post because it's exactly how I feel!!! I watch these athletes and I'm mesmerized by what they overcome, how hard they work, the times they fall, stand up, and try again. And then I'm embarrassed that we WHINE about a rejection...

When we enter this knowing it's a part of the job, a part of the routine. And all that gets bruised are our precious egos. Most writers don't suffer from broken legs, skulls, cracked ribs, blown knees...

AND...Hannah Kearney took the gold. What a stinkin' cutie she is. Oh my stars.

And Apolo Ohno????

Oh... My... Goodness... Gracious... Sakes... To... Betsy...

Are ya' serious? Talk about a perfect blend of cultures tucked into one adorable face. And such tenacity.

I seriously love the boy and I had no idea he was on Dancing With the Stars. (Note: Bossy Ruthy limits TV to keep up writing production... Just sayin'...)

I brought lots of coffee. I know some of us have off for Presidents' Day, and some don't so load up.

Leigh, I brought some apple fritters to round out your leftover Krispy Kremes...

My first Krispy Kreme....

I remember it as well as some other very notable FIRSTS in my life...


I'm that pathetic...

Penn Station, NYC.

I couldn't resist. Waiting for a train to Jersey....

My mouth waters, remembering.

Oh my stars.

Love 'em.

Meg Moseley said...

Missy, you've got me thinking about the Olympic athletes' aching muscles and blisters and bruises. Those are "little" things that don't necessarily show, but they add up to a lot of pain--like rejection letters or bad reviews or mean critiques. But you just have to keep going anyway!

Meg Moseley said...

Um, Ruthie, did you buy the apple fritters just to give yourself an excuse for the way your mouth's watering? Over Apolo? ;) He is seriously adorable!

Leigh said...

Apple fritters -- yum! I bought some at the grocery store bakery a while back and got home to find that ... they had no apples! (I know, not the best place to buy the good stuff.) Fortunately, 8YO DD wasn't on one of her mood swing days so everyone laughed and was fine with it.

My biscuits still aren't as good as Daddy's, but they're passable (especially the cyber version). :-)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Missy, Loved the analogy to the Olympics. You are so right. Anything worth pursuing has bumps, twists, turns in the road.

And writing surely does.

One of the main things that keeps me going amidst the "training bumps and turns" are the people I have met on the way.

When I get the most discouraged or even start to think about quitting, someone comes along and gives me the boost I need. I'm sure we all have those contacts.

So thanks Missy for the encouraging words this morning.

And Leigh the biscuits are yummy. I have some desert mesquite honey to go with them that I'll share.

Missy Tippens said...

Good morning, all! I'm here with some coffee--nice strong Starbucks beans with Italian Sweet Cream creamer. And Splenda for those who are still doing well on their new year's resolutions. :)

Now, off to read the comments!

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Tina P., I agree. Sometimes it does feel like we've been whacked over the skull!

Plus, sometimes we just get a broken heart.

But if these kids (and a lot of them are still kids!) can get back up and keep pushing through, I figure we can, too. :)

Thanks for stopping by this morning!

Missy Tippens said...

Yes, Jenny. The luge tragedy was so awful. I was watching the other night when someone else crashed on the course, and my heart nearly stopped! Thankfully, the guy held on to his sled and finished.

You know, they risk so much. We watched last night as a guy (a mogul skier, I think) was about to race, and then mentioned he was coming back from a broken back! My hubby and I had to laugh. It's amazing what these athletes do!

Jenny, that's so cool about recognizing places! Don't you wish you could be with your friend right now?!

Missy Tippens said...

Good morning, Jill!! It's great to see you--although I'm still smiling at the image of you in cross country skis striding down the street in downtown Cincy. :)

You made such a great point! What if we give up? What then? Will we ever know what could have happened??

NO! We wouldn't know. And I think that would haunt me.

Plus, on the F.A.I.T.H. blog the other day, I pointed to an article on another blog about quitting if you possibly can, and we talked a little about it. Vince are you out there?? He made a great comment on my blog about writers being writers whether or not we publish. Maybe he'll jump in here later. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Leigh! Good for you!!! That 40k is such an accomplishment! You got past that awful Chapter 4, 5 and 6, which are often the hardest parts for me. And, depending on how long your book is, you're through most of that risky area known as the "sagging middle."

Keep at it! You'll be typing The End before you know it. And then we want you to hurry over here and let us cheer with you! :)

Thanks for the biscuits and Krispy Kremes! I can't wait to eat. But my dogs are staring at me with pitiful eyes right now. I have to feed them first. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Ruthy, I saw Hannah win that medal last night!! I was going to come add an addendum to my post, but, well, I didn't. :) I was into watching the events on TV with hubby. And of course, getting all choked up when they played the National Anthem. Watching the girls tear up, watching the thrill and pride on their faces...

Reminds me of the thrill when I find out one of my friends has gotten The Call! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Meg and Ruthy, you're so right! Apolo is so cute! And the guy who got the silver is so cute, too(I'm blank on his name right now). Wow, he overcame that horrible injury--yes they showed a video of it that nearly made me toss my cookies. Amazing that he came back and did so well, too. And how sweet it was to see his family celebrate!!

Missy Tippens said...

Leigh, don't you know the best apple fritters are apple-free??? They're just dough and sugar and...well, grease. LOL

Missy Tippens said...

Sandra, good morning! Yes!! The people along the way make the journey so much more bearable. And enjoyable! What would I do without all my writing friends???

I hope all of you have a group of writers who encourage you and support you. Of course, we're always here in Seekerville to do that! But it's really nice if you can find a local group as well. Or if not local, then a group who has an online presence (like RWA/FHL or ACFW) who you might also be able to meet with once a year at conferences. It's so fun to finally meet online friends in person! It's like seeing long lost friends. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Oops. Meant to say bronze, not silver, on the guy who came in after Apolo. Found his name: Celski. Another cutie!

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, Missy, what an INSPIRING post!! It is SO eye-opening to hear the stories behind the "stories" in sports, especially Olympic sports.

And as Meg said, anybody who shoots for their dream has a healthy share of "aching muscles and blisters and bruises," just like the Olympians.

The torch is lit in each of us through God's grace and hope ... may we run the race that He has set before us in writing for Him!

Congrats to Leigh on the WIP milestone ... it sure feels good, doesn't it?


Janet Dean said...

Love how you tied the journey to publication to the story of the winter Olympians with their fascinating back stories. All proving that writers must never give up!

Congratulations Leigh on the milestone!!!!

Jill, truer words have never been spoken when it comes to giving up on what God calls us to do. Thanks!

Ruthy, thanks for the apple fritters. Life is good. :-)

Julie, love carrying the torch and running the race tie in. Great reminders that this dream doesn't come easy. And really never gets easy, published or not. We're going for the gold in Seekerville!


Kav said...

I love Olympic watching too -- and the story behind the story always inspires me.

I'm Canadian so here's a 6th excuse for you with a Canadian slant: "I'm too tired. (whine)I don't feel like writing. (whine)Missing a day here and there won't matter. (whine)I just wanna pull the covers over my head and snooze instead.(whine)"

Alex Bilodeau won the Men's Moguls last night. What a humble, gracious, incredibly nice guy who says that his older brother, Frederic who has Cerebral Palsy, is his inspiration. In one interview, Alex related the struggles his brother goes through each day just to perform the ordinary tasks of living like getting out of bed, getting dressed, walking, etc. and Frederic never complains! Alex says he thinks of his brother every time he is tempted to skip a practice because he's too tired, or achy or just wants to slouch around instead of apply himself. It's all about perspective, isn't it?

Thanks for the inspiring start to the week.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks for this, Missy!
I always feel a certain kinship with the Olympic athletes. No, I'm not athletic!!! But I understand their drive and fierce determination a little too well. I love seeing them overcome the odds!

Missy Tippens said...

Good morning, Jules! Thanks for stopping by. I loved what you said: The torch is lit in each of us through God's grace and hope ... may we run the race that He has set before us in writing for Him!

And I say, amen to that!

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, Janet! Yes, we're all going for gold!

Missy Tippens said...

Kav, thanks for adding those excuses! I've used a few of them myself. Well, okay, I admit it. I've used all of them.

I watched Alex race last night. Totally amazing. You could just tell he was going for it. What an inspiration!! And he was so cute when he figured out he won. I LOVED that he said he was racing for his brother. Such a sweet story. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Good morning, Mel! Yes, I feel that kinship, too. Plus, I also like to imagine I'm in their bodies (especially those petite, slim skaters!) :)

The Olympics usually seems to bring out the best in people. So inspiring!

Missy Tippens said...

Well, I'm going to sign off for a bit. I'm doing a Book-in-a-week this week with the Finish the Book loop (part of the Faith, Hope and Love Chapter). So I've got to get my 2k words in today!

I'll check in later.

Missy Tippens said...

Ahhh!!!! I just saw that Meg finally announced her first sale!!!!!!! Woo hoo! I don't have to keep my mouth shut any longer. :) Man, talk about difficult. For like weeks and weeks! LOL

Meg, tell everyone about your sale!!

Meg Moseley said...

Thanks, Missy! You are such a good secret-keeper! :)

WaterBrook Press has bought one of my novels. It's a contemporary romantic drama about a homeschooling widow with a secret that could jeopardize her custody of her children. It's tentatively scheduled to come out in the summer of 2011.

I'm absolutely thrilled to be working with WaterBrook.

Dianna Shuford said...

You know, Missy, I never would've thought to compare participating in the Olympics to writing, but you're right. I love that about writers. They tend to think outside the box.

Although writers don't recieve bodily (physical) injuries from their exercises, they do often get knocks to their egos and emotions. Definitely something to guard against. Would that make letting go of pride and happily accepting help/advice from others our protective gear?

I'm currently working to revise so that I can get a request sent off to an agent. Tough work that! I'm definitely getting tired of reading the same thing over and over, but the end result is what counts so I press on. Diligence at its best.

Teri Dawn Smith said...

Okay, now I won't feel like I should be writing rather than watching the's inspiration from my writing! I'll just watch with new eyes now. : )

Gina Welborn said...

Should I confess I haven't watched even a second of any Olympic coverage yet? It's not that I'm boycotting it or anything. So much other stuff to do...

Yes, Missy, I too need to get my 2k written for BIAW, but I know it's not gonna happen. I have a grocery list to be made, coupons to be sorted, laundry to wash/dry/fold/putaway, dishes to clean....

Congrats, Meg, on your sell!!!

Apolo is such a cutie. I watched him on DwtS. That boy can move on and off the ice.

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Morning Missy! Thanks for the dose of encouragement and inspiration!
Watching figure skaters gets me every time. They make it look so beautiful and easy. You know they took some falls before they perfected their routine.

Pepper Basham said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Missy. I like watching the Olympics, but I like skiing and snowboarding much better on the Wii than in real life. The only injuries from that so far has been a pulled muscle ;-) And a few episodes of Wii-rage ;-)

I'm curious - how early did most of you start writing?

Missy Tippens said...


I guess having a teachable spirit is protective gear! :) And so is a tough rhino hide. LOL

I think my best protection is my stubborness. I just won't give up. I'm like one of those blow-up punching bag toys with sand in the bottom. You hit it, and it keeps popping back up. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Teri Dawn, I watched a lot this weekend! I probably shouldn't have, though. But I mostly watched late at night after I'm too tired to create. At least that's my excuse! ;)

Missy Tippens said...

Gina, Gina, Gina. Don't you know that BIAW is the PERFECT excuse for letting the laundry go??!! Order a pizza and get to work! I give you permission. (And won't your hubby and kids just love me for that?!)


Missy Tippens said...

Kerri, I agree. They're so beautiful and graceful. They pull me right in and make me feel as if I'm dancing across the ice myself. And they make it look so easy. But imagine how difficult it really is! Last time I ice skated I barely shuffled my feet. And also landed on my rear!

You know, it's kind of like that with books. I read a wonderful book and feel as if it's so perfect that it must have just popped out of the author's head onto the paper, fully formed. But it's a safe bet that author and her editors (and everyone else at the publishing house) had to work their fingers to the bone to get it that way!

Missy Tippens said...

Pepper, the Wii has been dangerous to my health! Well, at least to a few muscles, like you said. :) Of course, my kids have so much fun making fun or me, how can I deprive them?

As for your question... I didn't start writing until I was...let's second child was a tiny baby...he's 15 now. I won't tell you how old I was, though. ;)

Missy Tippens said...

Okay, got 1000 words done so far. About 5 pages. I'm diving back in! But it's not easy with the kids home today. Two kids plus one friend. Of course, the friend helps--keeps my daughter occupied! And my son is still sleeping at 11:36! So I can't complain. :)

Valerie Comer said...

Interesting. I labeled myself an Olympic Writer just the other day: when I got a personal rejection from a major editor.

Missy Tippens said...

Great post, Valerie! So fun to see someone else saw the likeness between the two. :)

I'm sorry about your rejection. But as you said, it really is a "good" one when they take the time to give feedback! And also a request to see future material is fantastic!! I hope the editor loves the next book you send!

EC Spurlock said...

Great post today, Missy.

And Meg! Congrats on grabbing the gold!! We salute you!! Imagine the national anthem being played in your honor. (We writers need an anthem.)

Another thing those fabulous athletes have are excellent coaches, many of them former Olympians themselves, giving them advice and support and pushing them to challenge themselves. We are so lucky to have great coaches ourselves in our writing groups, critique partners and right here in Seekerville! Flowers for all you wonderful Seekervillians today, and thanks for making this such a great blog.

Working my way through revisions on my Daphne entry right now. After making the revisions suggested by the editor who had rejected it previously, I took another look and realized there was a lot more to do. Slow going, but I'm determined to make it to the finish.

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, EC! Thanks for stopping by. I'm giving you the Stick-to-it Award today! Way to go on keeping at it. Any feedback we can get from an editor is invaluable! I'm so glad you have that to help.

And yes, Meg gets a gold medal today! I'm loving hearing that anthem... :)

Missy Tippens said...

It hit 2200 words today! Whew. I'm thrilled the kids have cooperated. And it helped that the couple of scenes I've written were fun scenes. No kiss scenes yet, Pepper and Julie, but I'll be there before too long. :)

Okay, once again diving back in. Wait. That sounds more like the summer Olympics. So instead, I'm going to go plunge down another mountain. :) Will check in again later.

Missy Tippens said...

BTW--Gina. I'm making frozen pizzas as I type! Kids love them and it's so quick and easy. :)

Leigh said...

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone -- that's part of why I love to hang out over here!

And a huge CONGRATS to Meg!!! What wonderful news on your book contract! :-)

I'm hoping to squeeze in a bit of writing time during DS's piano lesson. It's only 30 minutes, but it's better than nothing! Gotta keep plugging away like those Olympians!

Ausjenny said...

Congrats Meg on the book contract.

Missy I so wish I was there except I dont like the cold that much and Have never ever seen fresh snow or snow falling which would be cool in more ways than one. Just here Crown Prince Fredrick of Denmark and his aussie wife Crown Princess Mary are at Whistler.

Cara Lynn James said...

Missy, very inspiring blog! I'm enjoying the Olympics, especially the figure skating. All the athletes are amazing--and so determined. I should be as disciplined. My revisions would get finished faster. That's for sure.

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, Jenny, you need to see snow!! It's so beautiful! We rarely get decent snow, but had nearly 5 inches on Friday. It was so cool.

Cara, just try spinning around in circles while you type! :)

Helen Gray said...


Writer's groups don't hang out around here, and I'm too directionally challenged to drive a hundred miles or more to meetings. So I come here for tips and encouragement--which I find in good supply.

Thank you.

The Internet has become very important to me. I've joined ACFW, RWA, FHL, and KOD. I don't participate much, but I soak up information like a sponge.

Actually, it's kind of nice to be able to do the absorbing, no longer having to make lesson plans and carry them out day after day. I'm getting lazy.

Pepper, I started penning stories back in my early thirties when my kids were in elementary school. They're grown now, and I'm having an even better time because I can give priority to writing.

Occasionally I have to go one the DL (disabled list) for a few days because of a bruised ego, bleeding fingertips. or even something as serious as a broken spirit. But then I get into rehab--talk to the Lord, dust myself off, and get back into the competition.


Vince said...

Hi Missy:

I heard you call. : )

I once heard W. Edwards Deming, the father of Total Quality Management, tell this story:

A lady entered her dog in the Philadelphia dog show every year but it never won a prize.

A friend finally asked: “Why do you do that? That dog will never take a prize.”

“I know,” the lady said, “but he gets to associate with some good dogs.”

To that lady, entering the dog show was a total success. I think we can all enjoy this kind of success.

There seems to be a belief out there in the ether that anybody can be a writer. Just try hard enough and long enough and the call will come. This is what I call the: “If you write it, someone will publish it,” mentality.

Unfortunately, there is something called talent. As much I played and practiced golf, I was never able to become a professional golfer. I just did not have the talent. It took a while and a lot of money, but this fact finally sunk in.

Ninety-nine percent plus of all golfers do not have to talent to be professional golfers! But they are golfers. They golf. They love golf. They hate golf. Should they stop? Should they claim life is unfair? Did they somehow have a right to be professional golfers?

If you want to be a golfer, play golf. If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to hold a book in your hand. Write a book and use a POD publisher. If you want to be a big success like Nora Roberts, and make tons of money, either have the talent or pray for a miracle. In the meantime, try your best and see what happens. Also, try to associate with some good dogs.


Pepper Basham said...

Hey Missy,
I saw you put my name down there besides Julie and a nice warm flutter danced through my weary body. Beside Julie, the Kissing Queen? I suddenly feel taller, a little more passionate, and maybe even inspired ;-) I think I might need to go and kiss someone...soon, like a woman who knows how ;-)

You are a sweetie. We all need spiritual rehab sometimes and that description really says a lot, doesn't it? It's interesting that both you and Missy started writing while your kids were young.

I have the first story I ever wrote from when I was 11 years old - typed on an OLD typewriter my grandma bought at a yardsale. She said, "A writer's tool." :-)
I illustrated it too - very SCARY. It was 20 typed pages.

But I didn't start learning the art & craft of writing until about five years 3 of my 5 kids were little and 2 were only in God's mind - not in body yet ;-)

Missy Tippens said...

Helen, I'm so glad you hang out here! Isn't it wonderful to have the Internet?! Can you imagine how it was for writers before if, like you, they didn't live near any groups?

I like your description of rehab. Kind of like physical therapy for writers. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Vince, thank you for hearing my call and coming! :)

I LOVED that quote. And I loved what you said. I'm now praying for that miracle. [grin]

Seriously, you made a great point in drawing the likeness to golf. If someone loves to write, then they should write. No matter what.

You know, I wonder how may Olympic athletes quit their sport when they retire? I bet most stick with it for fun. We have a fomer Olympian here in town who owns a gym and teaches gymnastics. So I imagine some even make a career out of their sport long after they can compete. I imagine you have to love the sport to give your all like these young athletes.

Missy Tippens said...

Oooh, Pepper's hubby, you better watch out!! You're about to have a really great evening! ;)

Pepper, I think that's so cool about your grandmother! My grandmother bought me my first electric typewriter. It was the kind you had to pop in and out the ink cartriage and correction cartriage. :) You know, I actually refused to write a book, even though I was dying to, until I had a computer. I told hubby I wanted to write a book once we finally got one. And I waited! :) But then as soon as we got one, I sat down and started writing. Wrote a book, while nursing my son in one arm, in 4 months. OF course, it'll never see the light of day. LOL

Audra Harders said...

I really hate it when I can't get to Seekerville until the end of the day. But what a great Olympic Day y'all had!

I love the Olympics and all the hard work, nay, devoting their lives to the dream all the atheletes hold. Colorado Springs has an Olympic training facility and I remember stories run in the newspaper about the devotion to their dreams withstood injury, pain, social relationships, just for a shot of getting on the Olympic hopeful list.

I loved your analogy, Missy, but I'm not in league with those folks. If I'd displayed that kind of devotion to my writing, I think my husband would've had me committed, or maybe even traded me in on a different model wife, LOL!

Great, great post, Miss! Olympians rock!

Helen Gray said...


It makes me weary just remembering the days before my first computer. Typing the stories wasn't the worst of it. Those carbon copies were a nasty pain. And not having the Internet for research was a severe limitation.

I feel positively decadent now. All manuscripts stored on hard drive and backup discs. Revisions are no longer a nightmare.

Actually, there was a time in those early days when I was a member of an RWA chapter not far from a church my husband pastored for ten years.

It was after we left there that I became overwhelmed with the busyness of life, discouraged from rejections, and shelved my efforts. There was a ten year hiatus before retirement and resuming pursuit of the dream.

Hanging out here with a gang who 'gets' it is a help.


Audra Harders said...

OMG, Meg!! Congratulations on your sale!! Missy, how do you keep the secrets you do??

Meg, I'm so happy for you I'm Snoopy dancing for joy instead of walking the dog for points : )

Leigh! 40K is an awesome milestone! Like Missy said, you've bypassed the sagging middle and the finish line is in sight! You go, girl!!

Missy Tippens said...

Helen, I'm so glad you're having another go at this journey!

Audra, I guess the athletes do take it further than we do. How many writers do you know who move to another state (or country!) to live with a coach at like, age 12?? :)

Project Journal said...

This was well worth the wait and definitely as much fun to read as Myra's post *wink*

By the way, I like the Kelly Clark is from Vermont, woot woot!!! *grin*

Also, HANNAH KEARNEY lives in my town!!! Woohoo! We're soooooo proud of her!!

Anyway, just wanted to drop by and see what you wrote about.

Great job, Missy!

KC Frantzen said...

Vince for president!

Super info there...

And Missy - thanks for all this great research. It sure is encouraging!!!

(On that note, I took the plunge... sent off my 1st entry into a contest earlier today. Yay! Thanks to you guys!!)

Have a good one!

Missy Tippens said...

Wink right back atcha, Hannah! :) And would you believe I wrote it Saturday?? :)

That's so cool about the Hannah connection. I bet it's exciting for y'all.

Missy Tippens said...

KC, woo hoo for you!! I'm so excited about your entering that contest! We'll keep our fingers crossed for you.

Meg Moseley said...

Thank you for letting me share my first-sale excitement here. I'm still getting a kick out of seeing my name and "sale" in the same sentence. :)

We're watching the ice dancing right now, and one of the Canadian girls just fell--twice--but she got up and kept skating. Awwww, now her partner's giving her a hug. That's off-topic but not exactly. We all fall down, and we all need hugs. And then we keep skating!!

Missy Tippens said...

Meg, I'm watching, too! There have been several falls tonight. Just heartbreaking. But some have ended up with great scores anyway.

Pick up. Dust off. Keep going. Our new motto. :)

Project Journal said...

Well done, Missy! And didn't it feel so GOOD to get it done early too!? That's what Mom would say.... : )

Yeah, the whole town is just so proud of her!

How about that figure skating last night? Anyone see that?? It was really great!! And the stories were too!

KC Frantzen said...

Thx Missy!

Now that I'm "in" - I'm entering another.

Here is the link in case any other children's authors want to jump in - the water's warm!!

Thank you ladies, and gentlemen too. Sure appreciate your help.

Missy Tippens said...

Yes, Hannah, I did see it the last couple of nights! So fun. :)

KC, thanks for the link! I'm glad you're on a roll. :)