The Art of Giving Up

[This blog post originally appeared as a guest post on Courtney J. Halls blog on 3/2/16. Click here to see the original content and comments.]

I feel a bit hypocritical, I’m just going to put that out there. Because even though I’ve always believed that couples who break up should considerstaying broken up (there was a reason things didn’t work out the first time, right?) I’ve gone and written not one but two couples into my latest contemporary romance, DEAL ME IN, that get back together. <facepalm>

Oh, I agree there’s a certain ‘against all odds’ romanticism about couples who finally get it right. Not to mention, the eternal optimist in me gets to win out over the stick-in-the-mud pragmatist. But, I’m forgiving myself for these particular happily-ever-afters, because not only is writing that happy ending part of my job description, it’s not as if these couples part on Tuesday and are having make-up sex by Sunday. No, for each, the dream of the perfect life together takes a while to take shape… and a llama or two… and that’s a good thing.

I mean, let’s face it, if we achieved our happily-ever-after dreams right out of the gate and with little effort, I’d be a celebrated ice dancer right now, married to Ryan Gosling and living in a castle. I think we both know that’s not how my story has played out.

I didn’t marry the first man I dated. Nor am I working at the first career I ever tried. After years of querying agents and attending critique groups and writing… and submitting to editors and attending conferences and writing… I decided it was okay to give up on the dream of being a mega publishing success right out of the starting gate. Or being published by the age of <cough> 35. Because, even though I’d given up on those particular dreams, I wasn’t giving up on me.

So I let go of those old dreams and made new ones that included hanging out with cool fellow authors <waves at Courtney!> and writing stories I’d like to read, and I stopped worrying about those old dreams I’d outgrown. (Although if anyone wants to offer me a movie contract or six-figure book deal, call me!)

I don’t think you want to give up on dreaming either. At the end of the Facebook party celebrating DEAL ME IN’s release, I asked this question: If you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you try? Dozens of people started posting.Open a bakery. Get a nursing degree. Write a book. (Go figure.) And all I could think was: What’s stopping you? Is the risk of failure worse than never having tried at all? And if your stick-in-the-mud pragmatic side doesn’t see how the numbers all add up, can your eternal optimist see how you can keep the spark of your dream alive until they do?

We’ve all been guilty of rewriting our goals when things didn’t go as planned. (New Year’s resolutions, anyone?) But that doesn’t mean we should stop dreaming. Or stop moving toward what we most want. Me? I’d rather get a little creative in the way I give up, because as long as I don’t give up on me, I always have hope.

So if you want to get back together with your ex? I’ll try to see the good you see in him. In the meantime, I’ll be scanning real estate listings across the pond, because a girl can dream, right?

Tell me. What are your dreams? What can you do to keep the dream alive?

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