Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Achieving Your Dreams When You Want to Give Up

by Julie Coulter Bellon

When you are staring at that rejection letter, have you ever felt like giving up? Like maybe you just weren’t meant to be a writer, or maybe your skill and talent just weren’t enough to take you to the next level? Have you ever felt like there was something holding you back from achieving your dream of getting that book published?

I want to tell you about a young man who experienced that very same thing, but his chosen field was basketball instead of writing. From the very beginning he was told that he was too short, too slow, and too chubby to really be a good basketball player. People wondered how tough he really was, and not many colleges looked at him despite his stellar high school record. No one seemed to see his talent and abilities no matter what he did. But even with those challenges, he didn’t give up. He worked on his game, coming up with moves, toughening himself up by playing in physical games where there were no fouls called, and willing himself to find ways to win even when it looked like there wasn’t any way to win. When people said he was too slow, he started with a trainer to make himself faster, both in his running and shooting. Of course he kept working on his other skills of dribbling, footwork, and shots almost constantly. Yet, he also worked on his mental game. He pretended every shot had the game on the line, he ran a gauntlet in his LDS church hallway where he turned off the lights and would dribble down the hall as his friends would pop out of doorways and try to rattle him. Improving very aspect of his game became a focus, but it was still fun for him. He slowly became faster, tougher, and more skilled. And that perseverance has paid off for Jimmer Fredette.

Jimmer Fredette is currently the leading college basketball scorer in the country. He will likely go into the NBA and several NBA players sing his praises. He has scored over forty points in clutch games, and last night he was the major impetus in BYU’s win over previously undefeated SDSU. Audiences are amazed that he can make a shot from almost the half court line, he has circus scoop shots, and he can shoot with both hands---you just never know what kind of defense to use against him because he is so good. He has achieved almost celebrity status and even coined a new term in the basketball world—you just got Jimmered. He has a bright future ahead of him in his chosen field because he didn’t let himself give up, even when he was told he couldn’t do it. He didn’t let the doubters get him down. In fact, he still has his doubters, but it’s not something he focuses on. “I’ve never worried when people said I can’t do it,” he said, “but it does fuel me.”

As writers, I think that we can have a similar experience to Jimmer’s. We can have people doubt our abilities. Rejection letters may paper our mailbox, but we can do the same thing Jimmer did. When people say you can’t do it, make that your fuel to improve. People said Jimmer was slow, so he worked on becoming faster. People said he wasn’t tough so he started playing no foul games and running gauntlets. He worked on improving himself day after day, in spite of the doubters and their opinions. When he had success in high school basketball, but was still overlooked by colleges, he didn’t give up. He continued to work on his moves, but most especially on his mental game. He made himself mentally tough and didn’t let anything take his focus off of his goals. We can do the same thing in our writing. When you are overlooked and rejected, use the feedback you get to continue to improve, but never take your focus off of your ultimate goal. Keep on preparing and practicing like Jimmer did, because the perseverance will pay off. Jimmer is in the running for Player of the Year, he is being interviewed in national magazines and on national sports shows, and his name is achieving a legendary status in college basketball. But what if he’d believed those first people who told him he was too short, slow, and chubby to ever play ball and had given up? His dream would have died when those words were spoken to him. But he didn’t let it die and neither should you.

Be a Jimmer Fredette kind of writer. Don’t give up. Focus on your goals. Use the rejection and doubt to fuel you to be a better, tougher, and focused writer with improved skills and there is no doubt in my mind that you will be successful writer, achieving your dreams of that next published book.

So, every time you think you can’t do it, “Fredette” about it and go to work.


At 1/27/2011 12:29 PM, Blogger T.J. said...

Good anti-giving-up post, Julie! As much as I realize that my first draft is crap, I've also learned that my story is there. At this point, it's fine tuning a lot, but it's only fine tuning and not broad tuning. (Is there such a phrase? There is now.)

At 1/27/2011 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fredette about it? That's awesome. One of the best lines I've heard. Even better then getting Jimmered. By far. I'm going to fredette about it! We're all going to fredette about it and write a novel the will jimmer any publisher on the planet. Ready? Break!

At 1/27/2011 2:01 PM, Blogger Steve Westover said...

Thanks for sharing. I didn't know Fredette's history but that is inspiring. As a BYU alumn I should probably pay more attention.

I suspect we all have our moments of self-doubt but a positive attitude cures a lot of ills.

At 1/27/2011 2:20 PM, Blogger Jaime Theler said...

Great post!!

At 1/27/2011 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened last night at the Marriott Center will go down in history as the greatest basketball game ever played in that arena.

We will never Fredette!

At 1/27/2011 3:05 PM, Blogger Paul West said...

Great blog. Thanks. I needed that right now.

At 1/27/2011 4:02 PM, Blogger Bobdad said...

as i struggle with my daily challenges I realize that there are many among us who are unsung heroes that match Fredette in their unfailing commitment to their hopes and dreams - thanks for sharing an inspiring story that mirrors so many among us!!

At 1/27/2011 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a great video sketch of Jimmer from KSL TV

And here's a great BYU TV interivew with Jimmer (Part I):

And Part II:

At 1/28/2011 10:46 AM, Blogger Michael Knudsen said...

Inspiring. I was wondering when someone would bring Jimmer into the writing world! I wasn't aware of his history either, but it'll sure be getting a lot of national attention now. May the same be said of our future books!

At 1/28/2011 11:29 AM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Michael, I totally agree! Anon, you make me smile. Thanks for all the comments everyone. It's nice to know that you read the blog and enjoyed it.

At 1/28/2011 6:20 PM, Anonymous Sarah Says said...

I was actually at BYU last night and rode the elevator with Jimmer. We didn't realize it was him until later. It's surprising because he's really not that tall. Way to go, Jimmer, defying the odds.


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