Monday, December 19
Don't give up, don't ever give up...
We're talking about advice this week, either the best we ever got or the worst.
I didn't even have to think about it.
I'd gained a lot of weight in the 10 years since I stopped smoking. The 30 pounds I always attribute to giving up cigarettes was closer to 50. I fit cozily into the "obese" part of the Body Mass Index Calculator. I'd lost weight before, several times, and didn't think it would be that much of a problem. But it was. I couldn't lose an ounce. Until my sister-in-law Lynn and I started Weight Watchers the same week back in July. It is a program I can live with and like and hopefully stay slim with. As of now, I've lost 40 of the extra pounds. I still have a ways to go--eating right and exercising. The picture on today's post was taken from the Nickel Plate Trail yesterday when I was walking, a true Winter Wonderland trek! I thought when I started the program, I'd quit when it got cold. But I haven't. I'm not giving up.
I started reading romances in high school in the late 60s, and I read a blue million of them even though there were things about them I found offensive--he's 34, she's 17, come on. Then the Harlequin American line happened, and I felt the first stirrings of I’d like to do this. I bought and read them as quickly as they came out.
And then, in 1984, there was Number 73. Muriel Jensen wrote Winter's Bounty. I was well and truly caught. She wrote not only what I wanted to read but what I thought I'd like to write. Muriel wrote about 70 books for Harlequin/Silhouette, and sometime in the 90s, I sent her a fan letter, not really expecting a response. But I got one. She sent me a long letter and a copy of a magazine--I don't recall whether it was Romantic Times or RWR, but I read it cover-to-cover, over and over.
Somewhere in that letter, Muriel wrote the words, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” I taped the letter to my desk, and the paper was yellowed and the ink faded before I sold my first book. Always Annie came out in 1999 and Muriel Jensen sent me flowers in a sunflower cup that still graces my bookshelf. I'm not all that successful as an author, nor do I expect to be, but I've also never stopped writing. I'm not giving up.
There it is, the best advice I ever got about writing. Or, for that matter, about anything else. I hope you take it.