Posted On May 17, 2013 by Print This Post

Perseverance by Dee J. Adams

Writing is a solitary and often disheartening calling. We pour our hearts on the page and then send them into the world to be rejected. But, if you love it – you keep going – even when it’s hard to do. Dee J. Adams is with us to share her journey and her. . . 

Perseverance

The dictionary defines perseverance as determined continuation with DeeJAdamssomething. Basically, if you stick with something long enough and learn, study and grow, you will persevere. I absolutely believe this is true. I do also believe I am proof. I’ll give you an example.

When I moved to California from Texas, I wanted to be an actor. I studied to be an actor. When I got out of school, I hit the ground running with headshots and agent hunting and audition hunting. Slowly the work started trickling in. I was thrilled to work in commercials and get bit parts in television (mostly sitcoms). I continued to go to acting class and study my craft and continued to become a better actor. But let’s face it… Hollywood is a tough town (as I write about in my latest release, Living Dangerously). An actor has such miniscule control over getting hired that it’s a wonder there aren’t more people going postal after getting a rejection. I knew when my days of being in front of the camera were over. I got a call for an audition and instead of being excited about it, all I could think about was having to drive all the way across town in the dead middle of traffic. It was going to take me about an hour to get to the audition and at least that long—probably longer—to get home. All so someone could take my picture and say, “Thanks, we’ll get back to you.” Which by the way, they rarely do.

So… I clearly needed something new. It was about this time that I had a dream and ultimately wrote it down. Those 450 (handwritten!) pages became my first novel. I had no idea what I’d written and after some research, I discovered I had a romance novel. Well, wasn’t I surprised with that? So now what? My husband enrolled me in RWA for Mother’s Day and the rest is history. I found my local chapter and went to my first meeting and had a giant epiphany. There were others out there like me who heard voices in their heads and kept asking, “What if…” I found my people.

But then reality hit. Every meeting I attended thereafter, I learned something new. And after every meeting, I’d go home and re-write my book. By the sixth meeting I was in tears and didn’t want to go, because I knew I’d learn something new and have to re-write it again. (My first three books were practice books. I love them, but I’m not sure they’ll ever be published.)

DJA_DangerZoneNow we’re at my fourth book, which turns out to be the first book I sold. I mentioned that actors have very little control of getting hired. You can be the best actor on the planet, but if you don’t fit the description the writer/director/producer are looking for then you won’t get the part. (Unless of course you’re either famous or related to someone, but that brings up nepotism, which is also a mind bender on many different levels.) Back to the book… I pitched it to Harlequin minutes after they signed a licensing agreement with and for their NASCAR line. I knew about that deal months before it was announced publicly. I also knew my book didn’t fit into the line and I wasn’t willing to make the changes that the agreement (with NASCAR) stipulated. Years later, I pitched the second book in the series to Carina Press and they liked it and made an offer to publish it. My fear had been that they wouldn’t want the first book because Harlequin had rejected it years before. I later discovered that they are really their own entity and once I mentioned the first book, they also made an offer for that. All of a sudden I sold two books. After ten years of trying. Then I sold the third. And of course, this month, the fourth book is released.

The thing is… I never quit writing. I kept pumping out the words and the stories and when I finally sold one, I really sold four. Except who knows how many I’ll sell by the time I’m old and senile? Hopefully enough to fill a bookshelf or two.

My point is, if you want it badly enough, you will get it. If I’d wanted to act badly enough, I’d have kept up with my acting class. I’d have gone to casting workshops and made all those tortuous trips across town in horrible Los Angeles traffic just to smile for the camera, tell them my name and drive back home. I’d have put up with the rejection of not getting a part because I was too old, too young, too skinny, too fat or too whatever.

I’ll admit I was at the end of my rope when it came to my writing. Ultimately, I couldn’t quit because my daughter was of an age where I wanted to make a point. She watched me writing all those years as she was growing up. She knew the amount of time and effort I put into it. If nothing else, I had to prove to her that if you work hard enough, you can and will get what you want. It just often takes more time than you want.

I hope if there’s one thing you take away from this blog, it’s that anything is possible. Yes, timing and luck work into the writing business, too, but even after eight years, my first published book found its window. You can find your window too.

So, I’m curious, what’s your perseverance story. What were you determined to do and after hard work, you accomplished it?

***

Dee wants to know your perseverance story and will give a copy of Danger Zone to a lucky commenter.

***

LivingDangerously_180Living Dangerously

Living in the spotlight can be murder.

Julie Fraser, Hollywood’s newest “it” girl, arrives on the red carpet to more than just the flashes of the paparazzi’s cameras. A sniper’s shots leave her bleeding and in the line of fire. Her life would be over if it weren’t for the bodyguard who comes to the rescue—taking a bullet in the process.

Troy Mills, a P.I. working undercover, couldn’t stand by and watch an innocent woman die, but now he’s torn. How can he tell her that he’s not a bodyguard, but a P.I.? A P.I. hired to prove that Julie is sleeping with the movie producer he’s pretending to protect.

When a second attempt is made on Julie’s life, Troy realizes that keeping her safe is more important than any supposed affair. And in order to keep her safe, he’ll have to keep her close. But desire and danger are hot on Julie’s heels. Who could have guessed that protecting an A-list actress would not only put Troy’s life in jeopardy, but his heart as well?

***

Bio:

Dee J. grew up in El Paso, Texas and moved to Los Angeles after graduation. She worked in television and commercials for over twenty years both in front of the camera as an actor, and behind the scenes as a dialogue coach. Along with her love of acting, she discovered a love for writing and is the author of the Adrenaline Highs series from Carina Press. She narrated the last three books of the series for Audible. She lives in Southern California with her husband, teenage daughter and two rescued dogs. You can visit Dee on her website at www.deejadams.com

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30 Responses to “Perseverance by Dee J. Adams”

  1. Dee,

    Still sorry we never connected while I was living in LA!

    So give us the rest of the story on your daughter. How does she feel about seeing your fourth book published?

    Congrats on the release of Living Dangerously!

    Kelsey

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | May 17, 2013, 5:47 am
    • Hi Kelsey,
      Thank you! And I’m sorry too! Would’ve been fun to connect. I think my daughter is pretty excited. My husband says she’s proud of me, so I guess they had a conversation and failed to tell me about it. LOL. Thanks for dropping in!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 9:55 am
  2. Hi Dee,

    Speaking of actors, Laurence Olivier starred in films from Shakespearean classics to not so good movies. Asked why, he explained acting was his job. You take the part offered and do your best. Perseverance is a test of the will and, for the most part, worth it.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | May 17, 2013, 6:47 am
    • Hi Mary Jo,
      Yes, I guess the man said it right. A test of will… That certainly sums it up. I tell people who ask about goal setting… “How badly do you want it?” I think if you want something badly enough, you can find a way to get it. Thanks for commenting!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 10:01 am
  3. Well, I heard those voices in my head, too. Finally sat down in 2000 to write a book. Discovered it was a romance. Found RWA. Studied and learned and did the submission/rejection dance. Six years later (and as many manuscripts written) I finally found an editor who liked what I did!
    I’m so happy I persevered and that I got to meet you in the process.

    Thrilled for your success, Dee J!

    Posted by Lynne Marshall | May 17, 2013, 7:55 am
    • Hi Lynne,
      Thank you! One of the best parts of the whole process has been making new, wonderful friends like you! I aspire to your 20 published books! It’s going to take me a few more years to crank out all those words. LOL. Thanks for stopping by!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 10:04 am
  4. Yes! Perseverance pays off. I had a similar journey to yours, Dee J. except mine took about one year longer. : )
    Congratulations on your success, and don’t put my name in for the drawing as I’m reading (and loving) the ARC.

    Posted by Anonymous | May 17, 2013, 9:08 am
    • Sorry…flying fingers. The anon above was moi!
      Thanks again for the awesome reading at my booksigning last night. That acting/voice coaching day job sure pays off. : )

      Posted by Robena Grant | May 17, 2013, 9:10 am
    • Hi,
      Congrats on sticking with it and getting published! So glad you’re enjoying the ARC! (Just FYI – it’s Danger Zone that’s the give-away, so feel free to add your name in another comment if you haven’t read it!)

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 10:09 am
  5. Morning Dee!

    What have I persevered against? At the moment it’s the determination to walk/sit without pain (sciatic) and get my body back to where it was. Before that, I’ve persevered enough to become the best baton twirler, best tap dancer, lift the heaviest weights (for a girl), etc. There’s always something to persevere with! Once I get myself back into one piece, I’m hoping to get back to the writing!

    Thanks for a great post!

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | May 17, 2013, 9:43 am
    • Hi Carrie,
      Oh no! Sciatic pain is the worst! So sorry. Sounds like you are very goal oriented. Good for you! And I agree, there’s always something to persevere with. Wishing you the best of luck and NO pain! Here’s to a speedy recovery! Thanks for commenting!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 10:12 am
  6. Lovely post about perseverance and what it takes to achieve your dream. It also takes a lot of courage to stop pursuing a dream that no longer speaks to you, and to try something new. Kudos to you, on both!

    Posted by Reese Ryan | May 17, 2013, 10:10 am
    • Hi Reese,
      Thank you. I think people just need to follow their hearts. Granted, many things are out of our control much of the time, but I think I’m proof that maybe a first dream doesn’t have to be the ONLY dream, you know? Life changes us and can change our focus and drive to something different. Thanks for commenting!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 11:00 am
  7. Your story echoes mine – except for the whole Hollywood thing. But my point is, I hung in there, too. I’ve belonged to my writing group for nearly 20 years, and have seen so many people come and go, some of them probably far more talented then me. I just wanted this so much that I stuck with it through all the rejections.

    Glad I’m not alone!

    Posted by Jana Richards | May 17, 2013, 11:55 am
    • Hi Jana,
      Good for you!! I love hearing that! And it’s so true in that I’m sure that are fantastic writers out there who just don’t manage to time their stories with the right people/places and they give up! Luck and timing are just as important as the talent these days! Thanks for coming by!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 1:16 pm
  8. Hey Dee J! I’m guilty of perservering in my first career for all the wrong reasons, (fear of failure, fear of change, plain old laziness) and perserving in my second career (writing) for all the right ones, (mostly the logic went something like, “Um, I’m gonna be spending all my time writing anyway, so I might as well learn how to do it as best I can, submit the stuff, and see what sticks.”)!

    I’m glad you perservered! Congratulations on #4!!

    Posted by Sam Beck | May 17, 2013, 12:38 pm
    • Hi Sam!
      Ha. Yes, fear is a strong motivator! So true! I’m so thrilled that YOUR stuff “sticks!” I love your books! Can’t wait to read more! And than you… I hope people like #4. Thanks for dropping in!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 1:20 pm
  9. Hi Dee J! I’m so glad you stuck with writing because I’ve loved your books and can’t wait to read #4! Woot! Congratulations!

    I remember when I started writing I thought, It’s okay if I never get published because I’m doing something I really love. I couldn’t imagine not writing and it filled with my days with joy. Of course in the back of my mind I *really* wanted that contract. And lo and behold I kept at it and my dream came true. I wouldn’t be here, though, without great writing friends like you.

    Posted by Robin Bielman | May 17, 2013, 1:28 pm
    • Hi Robin,
      Aw… thank you! (Both for loving my books and being a great writing pal!) I’m glad you stuck with it! I love your books too. (We’re a regular mutual admiration society. LOL.) It helps to stick with something if you really love it, doesn’t it? Then the sale is icing on the cake. Thanks for coming by!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 2:46 pm
  10. Beautiful post! Much of this business is about being open to what comes your way, to change and growth, and much of it is about courage. A game of last man standing! I’m so happy for you that your dreams have been realized! :)

    Posted by Heather Webb | May 17, 2013, 2:13 pm
    • Hi Heather,
      Thank you! It is totally a game of last man standing! Great way to put it. (I was sure standing a long time. LOL.) And growth and change…super important! If a sale doesn’t happen, you have to look at your material and be critical enough to ask why. What can be better and how can I achieve that? Thanks for commenting!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 2:51 pm
  11. Hi Dee,

    Despite the twisted cycle of frustration, rejection and setbacks, writers persevere. For me, it’s a strange combination of seeking perfection and subconsciously knowing it really doesn’t exist. But I still keep at it because writing fits my curious and observant nature. If I wasn’t tapping out stories on the keyboard, I’d still be writing them in my head.

    I’m very happy to see that your perseverance paid off. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | May 17, 2013, 3:20 pm
    • Hi Jennifer,
      It is a twisted cycle! I agree with that. I’m a perfectionist, but I learned a long time ago that nothing is perfect, so I settle for doing the best I can. Life is so subjective. Not just books, but EVERYTHING, so perfection is never perfection. If that makes sense. I think if I didn’t write these stories, all these people in my head would drive me crazy. At least putting them on paper quiets the voices in my head. Jeez, I’m sounding pretty wacko right about now. LOL. Hopefully, it’s just writer’s brain…. Thanks for commenting!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 3:55 pm
  12. Congratulations, Dee – both on your perseverance and on your new release!

    What a wonderful husband you have, to get you a membership in RWA for Mother’s Day! He clearly did some research. Give him a high-five from me!

    When I joined my local chapter of RWA, I felt like I had finally found my “tribe.” I have lots of good friends who aren’t writers, but only my writing friends understand what makes me tick.

    I’ve been persevering for years, but I guess you could say I’ve taken a sabbatical over the past year. We had to clear out and fix up the house we’d lived in for 20 years, and once that sold we moved to Chicago to live closer to my family – in particular, my son. I have a new “career” babysitting for my 9 1/2 month old granddaughter. I LOVE spending time with her but my writing has gone off-track since we moved here. For several months the move was so all-consuming, I couldn’t even think about writing. Now I’m itching to get back to it.

    My stories are all been revised umpteen times and still aren’t there yet, for the reasons you mentioned. I’m learning by writing, and apparently I’m a slow learner!

    Thanks for an inspirational post! Here’s to your continued success!

    Becke

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | May 17, 2013, 6:17 pm
    • Hi Becke!
      So good to “see” you! I’ll bet your granddaughter is so big by now! Sometimes life definitely gets in the way of writing. It will happen when it’s supposed to so don’t worry. I was a slower too. It’s okay. Glad you found a little inspiration here. I was hoping a few people would. Thanks for coming by!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 7:56 pm
      • Your story is a wonderful example of perseverance paying off! Although I’m glad you also noted that it wasn’t JUST perseverance that sold your book. You had done all the hard work of learning your craft, getting rejections, etc. and you didn’t let anything stop you. Thanks for setting a great example – and congrats on your new release!

        Posted by Becke Martin Davis | May 17, 2013, 8:48 pm
        • Aw…thanks! Notice I’m still learning since I don’t seem to edit my posts. What I meant to say was that I was a slow learner too. Of course it came out “slower.” Haha. (I blame my dyslexia. ) But there are so many factors along with craft. Luck and timing for starters. And just finding someone who believes in your work as much as you do! Thanks again!

          Posted by Dee J. | May 17, 2013, 8:58 pm
  13. Nice post, Dee. Yes, these days authors who want to get a publishing contract need to try everything, and keep trying. Over my years in “the biz” I’ve learned that perseverance is everything. If one editor at a publishing house says No, then try the next desk over. And if you strike out totally in one year, try again the next. Editors and their acquisitions goals change constantly. I (and my agent) tried to sell my first mystery for two years. Finally, I self-published it and THEN received a simultaneous 3-book contract offer from two different publishers. So my advice is try, try again; and if you believe in yourself and your book, consider self-publishing, too. I an now a hybrid author, with half my books published under the Berkley Prime Crime imprint, and half self-published.

    Posted by Pamela Beason | May 18, 2013, 1:14 pm
    • Hi Pamela,
      Thanks! I think you have the exact right idea. (It’s almost anything goes these days.) I still find it amusing that the book I’d pitched to Harlequin so many years ago, still found a home under the Harlequin umbrella at Carina Press. (Not sure if I even mentioned that Dangerous Race is free right now at Amazon and Carina Press to promote Living Dangerously!) I’m following in your (and many others’) footsteps into the self-publishing waters with a new release in June. I’m really excited about that book as well! I agree with you in that I think a hybrid publishing career is a great way to go! Thanks for dropping in!

      Posted by Dee J. | May 18, 2013, 4:35 pm

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