Posted On September 27, 2011 by Print This Post

Don’t Stop Believing! Words to live by – Karin Tabke

Whether you’re the Little Engine that could (I think I can, I think I can) or Dory from Finding Nemo (Just keep swimming) every writer needs a little motivation to make the journey easier. Karin Tabke is here to show us how.

In light of the abysmal economy and the never-ending flux of the publishing industry, I thought it would be nice to write something uplifting and positive. Part of this blog post I wrote several years ago when I gave a speech at the Pro Retreat in San Francisco, but I stumbled upon it the other day when I was cleaning up some files and it made me smile. It also renewed my own hope, with my own writing career that has hit some bumps along the way.

I’m going to assume since you are reading this at Romance U, we all have the same thing in common: Writing. And because of that commonality, we have all journeyed to this place today.

Writing is also a journey. It can be and usually is, a long, arduous trek. Full of as many twists and turns as a murder mystery. For a few, the journey is a quick jog to the corner grocery store. The long and arduous comes later. Regardless, we are all traveling at our own speed from our own point A’s to our own point B’s. Many of us begin at the same point A, but our subsequent points can vary. They are neither right nor wrong, they are simply ours. If during our journey, we’re too busy looking out the window to where everyone else is going or just came from, we’re going to get a kink in our neck or crash. It’s paramount to our success to keep focused on our goals.

So how do we get to point B and beyond? I could talk about the published path, what to submit, who to submit to and so forth. I could even go into plotting, pacing, sentence structure and grammar. Or talk heroes heroines, and villains. However, none of that information will help you if you do not possess one very important ingredient. An ingredient that is vital to life in general: the belief that you will succeed.

“Don’t Stop Believing,” the signature song of the American rock band Journey, was written 30 years ago. Don’t Stop Believing was the first song I downloaded on my iPod. It’s the one song I actively search for and play each time I sit down to write. Most everyone I know, young and old, have heard the song and know many of the words. It’s timeless. The single most important reason this song has endured through the decades is its message: “Don’t stop believing, hold onto that feeling.”

The minute you stop believing in yourself, your goal or your dreams, you lose something vital. Hope. When you lose hope, you wither up and die. Hope is life. It’s energy. It’s adrenaline. It’s the promise of success, of love, of grabbing the golden ring and hanging on for the wild ride. It’s laughing in the face of every editor, publisher, agent or even loved ones who said you’d never do it, never finish, never be successful.

Hope, defined: to cherish a desire with anticipation; to desire with expectation of obtainment; to expect with confidence.

Believe, defined: to accept as true, genuine, or real; to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something.

When I set upon my publication journey, I knew I was going to sell my book to New York. I knew it as sure as I knew I was born with brown eyes. It was going to happen because I was going to make it happen. While I had my moments of discouragement and wanting to take a break from the writing, I always knew I would come back better than ever, pass Go, and collect my two-hundred dollars.

I refused to stop believing or stop hoping.

Because when hope is gone, the game is lost. The excitement and anticipation dry up. There is no heart, no soul, and no drive. A terrible emptiness can eat you up.

Believing in yourself and hope go hand in hand.

Without the belief that you will overcome and achieve your goals, there is no hope.

Hope and belief, in my opinion, is the fuel that drives our writer engines. You need that engine to power you to your goal, that engine requires huge amounts of emotional fuel to run. If you believe it will happen and hope it will happen, then the engine is running. Now you have to put it into gear and start driving.

With each journey we begin, there is a destination. Sometimes we can wing it and find our way, but to places we have never been, an up-to-date GPS or a map helps, but sometimes even the best-planned trips require taking a detour or unexpected turn. If you get lost, you may have to back track to see where you went wrong. You might even have to ask someone for help with the directions. And then, even when you think you’re back on track, you may come to an obstacle in the middle of the road or the bridge might be out. Even though you can see the other side of the river, you may have to take a very long way around. Sometimes, we just have to change our destination. Detours abound in life, but hope and belief keep us going.

It’s okay to change your mind so long as it’s your decision to make that change. It’s okay to improvise, adapt and overcome when situations change. Finding you way means accepting that there is a roadblock and overcoming it. Sometimes you can plow straight through it. Sometimes you have to build a bridge over it or dig a tunnel to get under it. This usually means delays, more energy spent and recalculating your travel schedule. But sometimes, you find a really cool shortcut.

The writing journey just as any journey requires active participation. You have to make it happen. You cannot throw yourself to the winds of fate and pray good things will come your way. If you do, you’re liable to get swept away as fate can be fickle. You do not want to end up somewhere barren and desolate and out of gas.

I believe that nothing in life worth having comes free. I believe that working hard for something you desire, makes it that much more cherished, valued and difficult for someone to take away. I believe it is the journey that defines us. I believe in the positive and not the negative. I believe that we all have our own paths that only we can travel. I believe in me and I believe in you.

I hope you find your path, your strength and your future. It will be what you make of it. It will be what you hope it to be. It will be what you believe it to be.

So, Don’t Stop Believing in yourself and your goals.

See it, believe it, be it.


PS, Id love to hear about some of your writing roadblocks and how you blew through them!


RU Crew – it’s your lucky day! Karin is giving away one of her backlist books to a commenter today – so get to commenting!

Join us tomorrow for Summer of Groupies and Gratitude with Wendy Corsi Staub


Bio: Award winning author Karin Tabke isn’t just another author with steamy stories to tell, but a cop’s wife who has “seen it all and heard it all.” Some of the hottest stories come from behind the blue wall of law enforcement rather than from in front. Married to a street cop, now retired, Karin is intimate with both and proves it with her sizzling tales of hot cops. Not only are her cops hot, but so are her sexy knights and bad boy lycans. Karin’s Blood Sword Legacy series is a must read for anyone who loves tales of yore when men were men and women were women, and love did conqueror all. Her dark, erotic Blood Moon Rising paranormal trilogy is best described as “Sons of Anarchy meets Rise of Lycans.” Her L.O.S.T. series (w/a Karin Harlow) is paranormal romantic suspense at its “chilling and sizzling” best. You don’t want to miss any of Karin’s deliciously edgy tales of danger and passion!

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29 Responses to “Don’t Stop Believing! Words to live by – Karin Tabke”

  1. Hi Karin!

    Thanks for the uplifting post. So heartwarming to read.

    In the spring of 2009, I made the decision to drag out my first manuscript and give it one more shot.

    Over the next six months, I received some written feedback from agents, which eventually helped me land a book contract and an agent by the following spring.

    So many people say first manuscripts don’t sell and maybe many don’t. And maybe the year break in between the first manuscript I wrote and the second one gave me a fresh perspective.

    Who knows. One thing I do know is that I had to give Cora and Guy another shot. I’m so glad I did.


    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | September 27, 2011, 4:49 am
  2. Hi Karin,

    Writing is a life of solitude. Many encourage, but it comes from within. You have to become your biggest fan. I withdrew from writing and decided it wasn’t for me. It wouldn’t allow it and nagged at me. When I gave in and tried again, I got published. I had to believe first to make it happen. It’s a commitment with precious rewards.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | September 27, 2011, 5:46 am
    • Mary Jo, ditto that!
      Life comes from within.
      I look at the folks who walk aroundd with scowls on their faces and who always have excuses why not, and think, wow, you so don’t get it. Then I skip merrily along my way. I used to stop and try to fix them, but realized they have to fix themselves.

      Posted by Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! | September 27, 2011, 1:52 pm
  3. Karin – great post!

    I’ll print this one out to put in my writing folder for those times when I need a pick-me-up. I’m fairly new to this writing thing (2 years) but I’ve already faced rejection and disappointment. I think the key is surrounding yourself with people who support you during the low times – not “yes men” – but people who will tell you the truth, be a shoulder to cry on and also deliver you a quick kick in the pants when you need it.


    Posted by Robin Covington | September 27, 2011, 7:06 am
    • Hi, Robin! Hang in there! It took me a few years of very hard work, and over 500 rejections before I sold.

      I have always surrounded myself with positive people. I refused to allow anyone to put down what I did or be negative about it. I demanded respect, and I got it.

      That said, my CP’s could be brutal and still are!

      Posted by Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! | September 27, 2011, 1:57 pm
  4. Morning Karin!

    Excellent post, and something I need to have tattooed somewhere. (um…maybe just the title tho) …and like Robin, I definitely need someone (and have someone – hi Jen!) who gives me my kick when I get to be a whiner.

    Great advice…

    Thanks for posting with us today!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | September 27, 2011, 7:25 am
  5. Karin –

    It’s so wonderful to have you back at RU!

    In the 4 1/2 years I’ve been writing, I’ve definitely had both some “Oh, yeah” and “Hell, no” moments. Amazing how the “Oh, yeahs” seem to fade a little faster than the “Hell, nos” do.

    How I’ve gotten through those? Good friends who understand this crazy business, a husband who supports me, going through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and making morning pages an integral part of my daily schedule, and last year, hiring a life coach to help me muck through transition.

    Karin, a question for you: do you have any thoughts or advice for unpubbed writers who have no idea how to aim for this rapidly moving target of being published today? Personally, I’m struggling to decide what my target is anymore.

    Thanks so much for hanging out with the RU crew!

    Posted by KelseyBrowning | September 27, 2011, 8:02 am
    • Kelsey, it’s so nice to be back!

      In answer to your question, nothing has changed except format. Readers still want a good story, so write it.

      If you’re asking about the self-pubbing craze, my advice is to put the absolute best story out there possible. It will be your first reader impression, and first impressions are lasting.
      Write a kick ass story, have it professionally edited and copy edited (some writers use CP’s for this, but I personally don’t think even the best CP comes close to a good editor), write a crazy hooking blurb and pay to have a kickass cover, then get it out there, and be sure to follow up with something new in a few months.

      Posted by Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! | September 27, 2011, 2:05 pm
  6. I think my biggest roadblock, and it returns periodically, is that horrible thought “I’ll never make it; no one’s interested.” It returns less and less frequently now, but it still crops up. The only way to get around it? Tell it to shut the hell up and remember I’m really writing these things for myself. Excellent post, Karin, and so glad you never gave up. 🙂

    Posted by Siobhan Muir | September 27, 2011, 10:31 am
    • Siobhan, it’s easy to think we can’t or we won’t, but we have to train ourselves out of that.

      We have to remember that with each story we get better. With each story we dig deeper. With each story we learn something valuable. The key to success is to keep doing what you are trying to be successful at. In this case, writing something good enough that your target publisher will pay you for.
      It really is within our reach.

      Posted by Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! | September 27, 2011, 2:11 pm
  7. Hi Karin. Wonderful post. This is a keeper for sure!

    My roadblock came last summer. I’d been getting a steady stream of rejections from editors and agents telling me how much they enjoyed my work, but…

    I felt stuck. The feedback assured me I was good enough but no one wanted to take a chance on me.

    At that point, I changed my plan and submitted a manuscript to Carina Press, the first digital press I’d submitted to. They bought the entire series and have been a pleasure to work with.

    I think sometimes we need to accept that our current plan is not working and change it. If I hadn’t changed my plan, I’d probably not be published.

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | September 27, 2011, 11:33 am
  8. Sometimes I ask myself why I write. The frustration of rewrites, cutting entire chapters and the occasional low contest scores take a toll on me. But in some twisted way, writing makes me happy. If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing.

    Everyone has their own method of coping, and I’ve found that pursuing other interests spurs my creativity, even if it means vacuuming or cleaning out the fountain in my front yard. 🙂

    Thanks for being with us, Karin!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | September 27, 2011, 1:06 pm
    • Boy, can I ever relate to this. Except for the part about vacuuming!

      Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | September 27, 2011, 1:28 pm
    • Jen, we all have our own reasons for writing. And those reasons don’t require anyone’s approval (not saying you said that but it just occurred to me there are many writers out there that seem to feel they have to explain why and what they write to other people to feel validated. Screw that!) Anyway, I write for money. BUT, first and foremost it’s the love affair I have with romance that puts my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard every day. I love writing mad passionate love stories. I really really, love my job.

      ps, i go for walks when i get stuck, and damn if the best ideas don’t come to me in the shower!

      Posted by Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! | September 27, 2011, 2:24 pm
  9. Karin – I am a mix of Dory, The Little Engine That Could and one of those clown punching bags that pops back up every time it gets knocked down.

    The problem is, sometimes I’m my worst enemy. Like you, I’m determined to reach my goals. I get frustrated when it takes me multiple drafts to get a story the way I want it, but it’s bound to happen since I’m “learning by writing.”

    Even though I know it’s all part of the process,those negative thoughts are a slippery slope. I recently read a short book called THE WAR OF ART that helped me a lot. (Your post just gave me a much needed nudge, too.)

    I’m trying to relax and accept that the story will take as long as it takes. The hardest part has been learning to invite and accept criticism that helps improve the story.

    I have to say, though – if I had Aladdin’s magic lantern, I know what my three wishes would be: the precise goal, motivation and conflict to make my story rock!

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | September 27, 2011, 1:14 pm
    • Becke, my very wise editor, Lauren McKenna, told me a long time ago, “Never begin a story until you know your hero and heroine’s GMC’s!!!!” She pounded that into my thick head, and she’s right. Every time I have begun a story where the GMC’s were not clearly defined in my head and my characters’ it lead to multiple detailed rewrites. I’m a panster by nature and could not plot a book to save my life, but I must know the GMC’s before I begin a story, otherwise I find myself writing in circles.

      As far as getting constructive criticism of your work, constructive being the optimum word, find someone whose writing is a few levels above your own. I just wrote a blog over at titled Words Don’t Lie, People Do, and it talked about giving and taking criticism of our work.

      There is nothing easy about this business, and it is a business, a business that will eat you up and spit you out. It’s a business with voracious unforgiving readers, but it is also a business where we can tell stories from our hearts and find readers who sigh right along with us. It takes a lot of work to get there and even more work to stay there, but it is just so damn rewarding, it’s worth all of the blood sweat and tears.

      Keep at it, Becke, you are on the road, and will get there!

      Posted by Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! | September 27, 2011, 2:36 pm
  10. Hey ladies, grabbing a cup of coffee, I’ll be right back!

    Posted by Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! | September 27, 2011, 1:19 pm
  11. I believe that nothing in life worth having comes free. I believe that working hard for something you desire, makes it that much more cherished, valued and difficult for someone to take away.

    How true. Whether it’s your freshly scrubbed floor gleaming bright, increasing the setting to “super-duper difficult” on the elliptical machine, watching your dogs get all silly at five-thirty in the mornning because they know it’s walkwalkwalk time, or finally writing that blurb you didn’t believe you could write, it does make life sweeter.

    I needed to hear that. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Posted by Mercy | September 27, 2011, 1:34 pm
  12. Hi Karin,

    I JUST NOW got another one of those “I didn’t connect with your story as much as I should have and so I’m passing on it” rejections on a query. And I did what I always do, moved the agent’s name down to the ‘Regected’ area in my spreadsheet. Then I counted the number of rejections. And then I let myself feel it, that sensation of someone stomping on my heart and tossing me into the gutter. (yeah I know, dramatic, but there you have it).

    The truth is no matter how many times this happens, I don’t think I can ever stop writing. Amazingly, sharing other writers experiences is the only thing that keeps me going (and lots of chocolate). So, thanks for the inspiring post. And thanks everyone who commented, because today, I really needed to hear it.

    Sonali, The Drama Queen. Sob.

    Posted by Sonali Mayadev Thatte | September 27, 2011, 2:13 pm
    • Sonali –

      Sorry to hear about the “R.” Remember, it’s not YOU the agent rejected; it’s the project.

      These are the times that I like to remind myself about my writing strengths. Type them up on a piece of paper and post them over your workspace. I also keep little bits of great feedback in a collage notebook I play around in. I flip through the book when I need a pick-me-up.

      Hugs to you,

      Posted by Kelsey Browning | September 27, 2011, 6:13 pm
      • I do that…I keep a compliments file. Actually it’s called commpliments (I’ll fix that some day) of some of the nice comments people have made on my work. definitely a mood picker-upper.

        Posted by Carrie Spencer | September 27, 2011, 9:14 pm
        • Thanks, Kelsey, Carrie,

          I do that too (great minds?) I go back and look at the nice things people have said and then soldier on. (great now I have Cant Stop believing AND Buffalo Soldier stuck in my head)


          Posted by Anonymous | September 28, 2011, 5:55 am
  13. Sonali, I’m glad the post helped. Having people around you who get it is hugely important!

    Just so you know, I have over 500 rejection letters collecting dust in an outside file cabinet. I probably received at least half that amount in email rejections, those I didn’t bother to print and save.

    Keep writing, and stop counting the rejections! Move forward, always!!!

    Posted by Karin* Tabke aka Harlow! | September 27, 2011, 2:47 pm
  14. Karin..thanks so much for posting with us today! Very inspirational!

    Thanks! =)


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | September 27, 2011, 9:15 pm

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