Monday, May 18, 2009

The Wall

I was reading Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture" today and came across this quote:

"The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They're there to stop the other people."

It made me think about the brick walls (and there have been many) that I have hit (and will continue to hit) in this writing endeavor.

Some include:

1. rejections (one rejection used the word "disappointment". Yeah, that was a hard wall to hit.)

2. lack of faith in my craft/ability

3. lack of direction in my writing (that elusive plot thing!)

4. time

5. days when I have no desire to write anything....and when those days stretch into months

If I am being truthful, some of these 'walls' were more difficult to climb than others. But, I keep climbing.

If there were no walls, there would be no growth. If there were no walls, everyone would publish a book.

What do you think about that??? Maybe OK, maybe a watering down of literature.

What have been some of your walls? What keeps you climbing? How bad do we want this dream and what are we willing to overcome to obtain it?


You tell me.....


Litgirl01 said...

There are always walls...lack of confidence for sure. Very inspirational post!! ;-)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

So I'm a Blue October junkie. Immediately your post made me think of a couple lines from their song "Overweight."

"I want to carry a piece of who I was before
So when I hit the wall, I really hit the wall."

I mean if you're gonna hit a wall, hit it hard. Do some damage. Ya never know, you may just break through to the other side. (I swear I wasn't leading into a Doors quote on that last line.)

When we do get to the other side, think how rewarding it will be. Then maybe we can build a door with a secret knock for all our blogging friends. :)

Anonymous said...

hello - followed a comment here, and I'm glad I did!

What's hilarious is that I just posted about this very same subject! One good thing about writers is that we never have to worry that we're the only one - if a writer hasn't been here yet, they will be!

Cindy said...

A lot of those walls you mentioned are walls I've hit myself. Rejections are hard, particularly if they're form rejections, one after another. Another wall is uncertainty. When to stop submitting a manuscript and work on something new, when to stop editing a manuscript that's not quite there and write something new.

I like that you said everyone would publish a book if there were no walls. Then that would mean there would be no reason to persevere and to be the best we can be. It's definitely worth it to take those challenges as they come and hit those walls, but still continue.

Joyce Wolfley said...

I absolutely agree. If there were no obstacles, would we even want to become published? It should mean something - and the tears, doubts, and cramped fingers are just part of making it special when you achieve success.

Lisa and Laura said...

Great post! And you're so right, scaling all the walls makes this a worthwhile endeavor. We just have to keep writing...easy, right? Ha!

Tess said...

Litgirl - I so relate! Sometimes I have confidence and sometimes it just flees away. How to make it stay, how to make it stay.....

KarenAmanda - love the thought of leaving a secret door! Plus, you got me singing in my head. :)

Weston Elliot - welcome! Isn't it interesting how our writerly-minds think alike sometimes???

Cindy - I do that too often (start a project, then abandon it). I never really thought of it as a confidence issue, but I think you are actually right about that. It makes me want to go back and look at those partially finished manuscripts. Thanks!

Joyce - Yes, that's the thought I got from Randy Pausch and I really loved it. The hard work makes it mean something. Why does that remind me of childbirth/labor? Is that too wierd?

Lisa and Laura - This is my question - is writing easier with two or more difficult? You should address that on your blog, I'm so curious how you guys work it out!

Lady Glamis said...

You know very well what my wall is right now. And I know you've already played a key part in my plans to tear it down. I have a feeling it's going to get better from here on out. You are such an inspiration to me!

LexiconLuvr said...

You mentioned a lot of my walls. I'm so grateful that someone else gets it. Sometimes just getting it done is a huge wall. Thanks for helping me over the wall. I'll be happy to return the favor!

Crystal said...


This is another great, though-provoking post! All those walls you mentioned are the same ones I have, especially numbers 4 & 5. Don't worry, you are not alone!

And--I just have to say this--do not doubt your ability (I know this is better said than done) because I think the voice of your novel rings through quite clear. Call it instinct or whatever but I just know I'm going to see this in a bookstore one day.

So we just have to keep the faith that we're going to conquer those walls!

Crystal said...

Um, meant to say "thought-provoking" in that first line

Martin Willoughby said...

Walls are fine, but what if they've been built too high?

Walls aren't just there to keep out those 'not determined enough', sometimes they can be used to protect those behind them to the detriment of those outside.

Is it a garden wall or a castle wall?

Janna Qualman said...

I agree with your list. :)

MeganRebekah said...

Lack of faith in my writing and my ability is definitely my largest wall. But sometimes I think it's that lack of faith that makes me push myself harder, so maybe these walls can be beneficial!

Danyelle said...

My list looks eerily similar to yours. O:)

Jill Kemerer said...

Ditto. I think the desire to be a top-notch writer right off the bat was my brick wall. I'm tunneling under that bad boy!

Scott said...

Great post, Tess. I think #5 is the worst wall of all. I confronted and failed - perhaps it was the margarita clutched in one hand - that wall last night. I wanted to write. No I didn't. Yes, I did. I intended to write. Yes, I did. No, I didn't. OMG . . . it was just one of those nights where my intents far outweighed my desire. In the end, I did not write.

Will I write tonight? Possibly. Oh, wait, is that #4 peering at me from around the corner . . . and laughing hysterically. I hate it when that happens.

I keep climbing because I love to write. : )


p.s. no margaritas were harmed in the typing of this comment.

Liana Brooks said...

I tend to view brick walls as being a directional sign. When I hit a wall, I'm going the wrong way. I need to change something, twist something around, and go another way to get to my goal.

Currently I don't have any major walls in my life, but I'm exploring some new avenues. And that is no bad thing.

Tess said...

Glam - you are already scaling that wall and will be over it momentarily :)

LexiconLuvr- it helps me,too, to know we are all going through similar things - maybe at different times, but still similar.

Crystal and MeganRebekah - thanks,Crystal. You know, it's not IF you have a challeng, it's WHAT you do about it, right?

Martin - interesting point there. I can tell you like a bit of philosophy -- me too :)

Janna & Danyelle - good to know :)

Scott - too funny :0 I've been there (only replace the margarita for chocloate!)

Liana - it's true what you say. Sometimes we need to look at what we are doing and make sure we are not pounding our head into that same wall over and over. lol.

Wendy said...

My walls are distractions and when my vision becomes fuzzy.

Excellent post! Really painted a visual for me and all I kept thinking about was crashing through -- not climbing up & over...but literally crashing right through the **** thing!

~ Wendy

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

1. The person who told you your ms was a disappointment should be flogged. Seriously. I'm happy to do it. ;)
2. There will always, always be walls. I finally got over one, only to find a whole landscape of them on the other side. We will climb or bust through or go around or turn back, depending on what's on the other side and what it's worth to us.
3. That's actually a concrete/possibly stone block wall in your picture, not brick. :)Sorry...the architect in me couldn't let that go.

B.J. Anderson said...

Ugh. Lack of confidence in my writing abilities is my biggest one. Then there's the messy house, the internet distractions, the kids, the husband, the rejections. Lol, I could go on and on.

lotusgirl said...

My biggest wall now is all that is going on in my life that distracts from writing. I'm looking forward to summer when I can at least have a little more time to write. I think most of your walls are about to fall.

Tess said...

Lotusgirl - I'm looking forward to summer, too - but it wreaks havoc on my writing schedule. How do you find the time when the kids are home from school?

B.J. - I'm with you. That's why it's #2, right below rejections. Should maybe be # 1 1/2 :)

Amy - a public flogging? Hmmm....

Wendy - I love the concept of tearing right through them....excellent idea!

Robyn said...

Tess, you know what my wall is. If my son would get better, I'd happily knock down a very destructive wall! :)

Tess said...

Yes, Robyn. And you are in my thoughts and prayers. *hug*