Friday, December 28, 2012

The Best of the Archives: The Write Attitude by Debby Giusti

This post first appeared in Seekerville on July 16, 2008.

What makes the difference between a person who moves forward with their writing despite rejection and those who give up and forsake their dream?


Hymen’s is a restaurant located on Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina’s historic district. It’s a no-frills type of place that specializes in great seafood and quality service. Everyone who’s employed there—from the Hymen brothers who own the business to the busboys and dishwashers—work hard to uphold the excellent reputation that keeps customers coming back year after year. Attitude is so important at Hymen’s that the company policy, a piece written by Chuck Swindoll, is given out to everyone who comes through the door.

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company. . . a church. . . a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. . . we cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. . . I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you . . . we are in charge of our attitudes.
~Charles Swindoll~

I keep my copy of Swindoll’s words near my computer as a reminder of the importance of having the right mindset in this industry.

Yes, even published writers worry. Will the editors like the next story idea? Will I finish my current work in progress on deadline? Is my writing improving?

In her book, THE ARTIST’S WAY, Julia Cameron talks about the negative voices that bubble up when we reach for the stars. “Why do you think you can write a book?” that voice taunts. “You’ve written one book, but can you write a second?”

Cameron advises countering the negative by writing positive phrases over and over again on a sheet of notebook paper, just as a child would do who’s been disruptive and has to copy
I will not talk in class fifty times. The repetition arms us with ammunition to shoot down the negative inner rhetoric so positive progress can be made.

A Nike advertisement provides the following words of encouragement:

All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you're not good enough or strong enough or talented enough; they will say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. They will tell you no, a thousand times no, until all the no's become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly. And you will tell them yes!

~Nike ad~

Frank Soldovere was a great man and good friend who worked hard to make this world a better place. Everyone who attended his funeral was given a card with the following passage by Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.
~Theodore Roosevelt~

Attitude is a choice we make everyday that gives us the courage to move forward with our writing career. People will tell us we’re crazy. The inner voice calls us a fool. Editors may reject our stories, but we remain focused on our dream, and because we believe in ourselves and in our work, we overcome the odds and succeed.

Attitude—the Write Attitude—makes the difference between someone who wants to write and someone who does.


Wishing you abundant blessings!

Debby Giusti

Seekerville will be giving away a copy of The General's Secretary, Debby Giusti's January release from Love Inspired Suspense, to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. Coffee will be served shortly.

    This article becomes more relevant all the time. Thanks for the repeat.


  2. Deb, I've copied and printed this... and Charles Swindoll's great words on attitude....

    And saved it in my inspy folder too, for the kick in the head or the butt as needed.

    Steve Prefontaine was an Olympic runner and global champion who died young in a car crash. His coach, Bill Bowerman (Oregon) was one of the founders/developers of Nike. He used to craft shoe bottoms (soles) on his wife's waffle iron to try them out... Through so much of what they do/say/espouse as a company (Nike), they ask: "What would Pre do?"

    Steve didn't follow the accepted rules of running. He was raised in a tough area of Coos Bay and he was a tough kid. He ran his way, always, but he raised the bar for runners for generations. My kids have all read his story. Watched the movies about him. They study the man behind the legend because no one handed Pre anything.

    He worked. And worked. And worked some more. Today athletes are given crazy money. Back then in the days of the AAU, Pre worked as a bartender while training for international meets and going to college. He never stopped. Back then, he had few options. But he never stopped.

    I just saw Les Mis for the first time. Attitude. Believe. Strive. I realize I have so little to whine about that I should put a hard stop on whining about anything forever!!!


    Sorry, talking too much, but this wonderful post touched me with its authenticity. You rock.

  3. Ah, I can see why that's in the Best of list. That is a wonderfully inspiring post. I have not gotten my attitude adjustment for the day. I should probably hang some of those sayings around my home to keep me in line every day :)

    Happy Friday everyone!

  4. P.S. everyone, if you're entering the Great Expectations contest, it closes today!

  5. Perfect post to read with the New Year ahead. Thanks for the motivation! And don't enter me in the draw because I've read (and LOVED) The General's Sectretary.

  6. Morning Seekerville,

    Love this post of Debby's. Thank you Tina for putting it up. As Kav says-so timely for the New Year coming up.

    We were just discussing attitude at the dinner table last night and how much it affects our lives and our health.

    There was a study done of people who lived to be over 100 years old. They wanted to find out what they had in common. The expected to find their health revolved around diet and exercise. But no that wasn't part of the picture because one of them smoked cigars, another ate fried food all his life, another never ever exercised.

    But they did all have three things in common. Attitude was the primary thing. They all had a positive outlook on life and saw humor and good. They all had a sense of purpose and they all could accept loss.

    So there is proof of attitude.

    Thanks again, Debby for a great post.

  7. Oh yes, since fried food isn't part of the equation, I'm bringing a platter of Krispy Kreme donuts. Help yourselves.

  8. Where's Vince today? i guess i'll just have to pop in later to ready everyone's comments. Attitude, it's way underrated. Thanks for the devotional today. Looking forward to reading The General's Secretary


  9. Helen,
    Thanks for the coffee, which I need this morning!

    Welcome, everyone!

    Warm cinnamon buns and apple strudel, plus plump bagels with cream cheese and jelly, are on the breakfast bar. Assorted fruit, as well. Enjoy!

  10. Debby, thanks for the 'positive pills.' Attitude is so important -- and giving encouragement to others and to ourselves, too! Be happy with small successes.

  11. Ruthy, thanks for sharing Steve Prefontaine's story. His name is familiar, but I didn't know the details. I need to get his book/DVD for my son who loves to run.

    Determination and drive are a great combination. We seem to have less of it going around these days...except in the writer community perhaps.

    Anyone who's not committed to writing would give up long before publication, IMHO. And if they published one book, I doubt they'd hang in for the long haul.

    Ah, Les Mis, my all-time favorite play. Saw it on Broadway and then everytime it comes to the FOX in Atlanta. Read the book in French during college, but haven't seen the movie yet. A treat for the New Year!

  12. Annie, thanks for the heads-up about the contest. I've been on deadline...sent the book in a 10 PM last night! YAY!!! Now I need to catch up on things that have been pushed aside by Christmas and the writing. Like entering contests!

    Happy Friday to you, Annie!

    Is everyone still basking in Christmas after-glow?

  13. Sending hugs to KAV!

    Isn't The General's Secretary the story that made you miss your bus stop? I'm so sorry!

  14. Debby, Such a moving post and what motivation. I've heard the last line of Charles Swindoll but never the whole thing. Thanks for sharing.

    Sandra, I never turn down Krispy Kreme. I'll have two. Then kindly remove the box from in front of me. :)

  15. Thanks for the donuts, Sandra, and the insight into longevity! I have this skewed view that work is good, and we need to keep working as long as we can...ministry, volunteering, writing, part-time job, cottage industry. Retirement from one job should open doors to new challenges that await those who want to make a difference.

  16. Hi Marianne,

    Stop by often! Hopefully Vince will pop in later.

    Anyone snowed in today?

  17. Hi Cara,
    Love your "Positive Pills" comment. Something I need to take along with my vitamins!


  18. Bridgett,
    The first time we visited Charleston and ate at Hymen's Restaurant, which has the very best seafood in the city, I was surprised to find the little cards with Swindoll's Attitude! They always have plenty available so customers can take copies home.

    I was impressed by the restaurant and their focus on attitude. It's a casual place with a long line out front. Everyone seems happy working there.

    The Hymen brothers, as well as their parents, often stop by the tables to ensure the diners enjoy the food. Lots of attention to detail and concern for the customer. It's my top pick for good eating!

  19. What an awesome post! I love the quotes. :-)

  20. Hi Jessica,
    Thanks for stopping by today! Happy New Year!

  21. Debby,

    Great repeat post! Just the booster shot I need--I am away from home for the holidays where my "Believe" pin is on my writing desk. Thanks!


  22. Enjoy your holiday, Piper!



  23. A great post, Debby!

    Perseverance is impossible without keeping our eyes on the goal - but it has to be the right one. If I'm doing this for myself, I'll give up at the first bump. My goals have to be higher - they have to keep me accountable - and they have to mean something.

    The quote I keep on my desktop is "I seek not mine own glory." It helps me keep the important things important.

    Have a great writing day, everyone!

    (And pass those Krispy Kremes! Virtual food = virtual calories, right?)

  24. I'm printing this off and giving it to my husband. Attitude is my husband's favorite sermon theme.

    Most of the "successful" people I know have been through hard
    times and had less than perfect lives, but they keep going no matter what is thrown is their way.

    There is so much truth to this post and I thank you.

    Connie Queen

  25. Debby, your heart shines through all you write. Thank you for this inspirational post. :)

  26. Jan, you're so right.

    Love your desktop quote!

  27. Hi Connie,
    Your husband must be a very smart man! :) Lucky him to have you.

    Happy New Year!

  28. Cheryl,
    You're so sweet! Hugs and Happy New Year!

  29. Definitely print worthy and so very inspiring. I haven't beat myself over the head about the next book yet. I'm in the 'got to work' mode. However, things keep pulling me away. If I hadn't given myself permission to take a few weeks off after judging I know I'd be freaking out about now.

  30. >> The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude <<

    Okay, that gets printed in large font and posted somewhere I can see it ... a lot.

    A stunningly relevant 'repeat post' as we head into the new year.

    Thank you Debby!

    Nancy C

  31. Debby I love your post today, the streetsigns is a great place to be. Indeed Attitude makes all the difference in winning and losing. Reading today makes you want to conquer tomorrow with a more determined attitude.
    thanks for sharing -love to be in your drawing for book.
    Don't need to tell you Happy New Year with your attitude I know it will be.
    Paula O(

  32. >> I've been on deadline...sent the book in a 10 PM last night! YAY!!! <<

    That deserves at least another cheer ... hooray!

    Nancy C
    P.S. Don't put me in the drawing :-)

  33. WOW, Debby, I wanted to copy and paste all of those great quote and save them for my obituary. I want them on that card they hand out to everyone who comes to the funeral.

    Then I got to wondering is I should be planning my funeral and decided to just leave the posts here and hope I could find them....after I'm dead.

    Wait, no that won't work.

    This is a challenging post on many, many levels. Thank you.

  34. Mary Connealy, that needed a spew alert. You crack me up.

  35. I always think of writing as such an unusual choice, for all of us.
    Mostly, we'd make more money flipping burgers.
    Mostly, we'd have less tormet.
    And yet we write. And mostly, I think we write because we can't stop. So it's not even a choice it's just being who we are.
    I come back to this poem.

    Part of The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost
    I shall be telling this with a sigh

    Somewhere ages and ages hence:

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

    I took the one less traveled by

  36. Christina,
    Glad you're not "freaking!"

    Life does get in the way though, as we all know.

    Here's to a productive New Year!

  37. Nancy,

    Glad you liked the one string idea! :)

    Attitude is the key, isn't it?

  38. Thanks, Paula, for your kind words. You're in the drawing!!!

  39. I'm still cheering and thanking the Lord, Nancy! :)

  40. Mary,
    Tell Ivan to contact me should he need inspiration for your obit! :)

    I love Two Roads...

    And you're right about flipping burgers! Perhaps a part-time job in the New Year!

  41. A truly timely (and timeless) post--definitely worth repeating! Love all the wonderful quotes, Deb! Rereading these words of wisdom is giving me more food for thought as I ponder my "My One Word" list. I've got it narrowed down to 10, and a couple are starting to stand out as very strong contenders.

  42. Connealy, I love Robert Frost... and The Road Less Traveled....

    And Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening....

    And so many others.

    Did you know he failed at farming.... and writing.... and just kept trying, eventually becoming successful at both.

    Life is about not giving up.

    Hey, I'll keep this stuff for you and I'll READ IT at your funeral.

    Between the fast dance songs.


  43. Hi Debby,

    Thanks for the pep talk! I think this post was written before I discovered Seekerville, so I'm glad you re-posted it!

    I try to keep this in mind when dealing with my family, because most of the time, no one changes their behaviour to suit me, and so I try to adjust my attitude. It helps!

    Have a great day!


  44. Myra, are you choosing a word for the upcoming year?

  45. Love Robert Frost's attitude. We can relate, can't we, Ruthy?

  46. Sue,
    Lovely way to approach family situations. Thanks for sharing!

  47. yeah, right, like Debby and Ruthy are gonna outlive ME!!!

  48. Are you saying we're older than you?

  49. Yes, Deb, I'm working on choosing a word for 2013. I downloaded the book My One Word to my Kindle and have been reading it and doing the exercises in my journal. I missed out on this last year so wanted to be ready this time around.

  50. Hi Debby:

    I read this post years ago and thought it was insightful and I enjoyed it very much. And that was that.

    When I read it again this morning it set lights off in my head! It just occurred to me that ‘mental’ attitude has a direct ‘physical’ analog in an airplane. A plane’s attitude is described as, “The orientation of an aircraft's axes relative to a reference line or plane, such as the horizon.”

    For example: in a car if you’re driving north, you are going to be going north. In a plane, however, the nose could be pointed north but if you are actually flying sideways, then you may well be traveling to the northwest. Your compass could also indicate that your are flying north while you are headed full speed towards the earth.

    Two planes can be going the same speed at the same heading, say 270 degrees (west), and one plane has a correct attitude and is doing fine, while the other plane has a bad attitude and is just a slight move away from stalling, becoming like a rock, and falling out of the sky.

    Flight instructors will tell you that students are always getting into dangerously weird attitudes which can cause the plane to lose its lift and fall to the earth. Humans are not birds so they often do the wrong things by instinct and that makes matters worse.

    One of my favorite lessons while flying was when the instructor would put a hood over my head so I couldn’t see. He would then put the plane in a dangerous attitude and lift the hood so I could only view the control panel instruments.

    “Make your attitude adjustment,” he was fond of saying. He was funny for a guy who flew helicopters into fire zones to rescue troops in Viet Nam.

    Making a wrong attitude adjustment would cause the plane to scream, dip down, and then go into a spin. The instructor would then proclaim, “You just crashed and burned.” After he recovered from the spin he’d say, “Let’s try that again and see if you survive this time.”

    Do this exercise for an hour a day, a few days in a row, and you’ll soon learn how to get rid of a bad attitude very quickly! You’ll do it by habit. At this point, you’ll be able to adjust almost any bad attitude within seconds.

    BTW: I never argued with an instruction about my attitude. What he said, went. Period.

    So I thought this morning: shouldn’t there be an indicator in life that could show that our attitude was dangerously off course? They put good instruments in planes. People are as important as planes.

    What was needed, I imagined, was an exercise to show us when we had gone off course and how to get back on the right path. Something very special that would create within us the right attitude so that we could compare it to our current attitude. In pilot talk: to put our life in fine trim.

    That’s when it occurred to me. Someone has already done this, at least, for writers. I looked up from my keyboard and just three feet away from me, on my wall, was your “Writer’s Prayer”. (The beautiful fancy one in full color that VIPs get.)

    “Lord, inspire me to write stories that touch readers' hearts.”

    Each subsequent line of this prayer acts as an attitude adjustment, that is, it gives a clear indication of the right attitude. Comparing the prayer’s mindset with your current attitude can quickly show how far off the path you’ve strayed while, at the same time, pointing to the way back.

    One of the great powers of prayer is how prayer can change our attitudes for the better -- even as we are praying. It is as if prayer answers itself in real time.

    I believe that “The Writer’s Prayer” can act as our mental attitude director indicator (ADI).


    P.S. Marianne: I wrote this especially because of you today. I have a terrible cold and I was just going to sleep most of today. Yet now I'm happy that I wrote this. Thanks.

  51. Myra, will you share your word when it's revealed to you?

  52. The Writer's Prayer--an ADI? Thank you, Vince. You always have such a positive look on life. :)

    Seems you're "in fine trim."

    I didn't know about attitude for flying. We live only 30 minutes from the Atlanta airport and Delta pilots abound in our town. I'll be sure to discuss attitude the next time I'm in a Delta gathering! :)

    Sorry about your cold. We all have the crud here as well. Turkey soup perhaps?

    So true about your prayer comment: prayer answers itself in real time.

    Invite God in and good things always happen.

    Happy New Year!

  53. I have this little chihuahua who is stubborn and goal oriented. When I read your words, it reminded me of her. She has this bone that's almost as big as she is, (Literally) and she will get her teeth sunk into a piece of it and try to drag it across the floor. She drops it over and over, but always goes back to it and tries again. Sometimes it might take half an hour, but she eventually manages to get it up on my bed where she then "buries" it under my pillow. Humans could tell her millions of times its too big for her, not to bother trying, but she wouldn't listen, she would do it anyway, and so do I. Have a great weekend!!

  54. I love your little pooch, Misty. A lesson for all of us. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

  55. VINCE-- I read Seekerville for your comments.


    And I would say I have a few friends who are my attitude adjusters.

    No hoods, no crashing and burning. Just kind words and gentle kicks.

    And as a UO grad, I've run on Pre's track. In my own crazy way. Nobody liked my version, though.

    I did think of him as I walked on that track in my graduation ceremony, though. The speaker wasn't so inspiring, but thinking on his story as I made that leap was good enough.

  56. WONDERFUL words of wisdom, sweet Debby---and exactly what I needed to read TODAY! Hugs, Patti Jo

  57. Misty, great example of attitude. Thanks for sharing. Pet your pooch for me!


  58. Virginia,

    Nice to have that connection with one of the greats!

  59. Hi Patti Jo!

    Hope you had a joyous Christmas!

    Happy New Year!

  60. My dad used to say, "It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude." Not sure who said it originally. Great post, Debby!

  61. Love your dad's saying, Natalie!

    Thanks for stopping by this evening.

  62. I took so much away from this thank you.

  63. I found that blog to be very inspiring. Thanks for having the giveaway.


  64. Would love to win Debbi's book

  65. Mary, Rose and Shelia,
    Thanks for stopping by Seekerville!

    Happy New Year!

  66. I would love to win,Enter me!!
    Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!
    Sarah Richmond

  67. Deb ... cannot believe it took me this long to come by and leave a comment, but it was SO worth doing so!! One of the most inspirational posts I've ever read -- THANK YOU!!