Failure and Surrender

A Challenge at the Keyboard

I had a different topic in mind for this week.  Then I listened to Friday evening’s news and heard about the death of Jean Biden, the 92 year old mother of our Vice President, Joe Biden.

In later broadcasts, in the Saturday papers, and on my computer news page, I read more about the woman and viewed once again video footage of her and her son.

I don’t know about you, and I’m not touching politics here, but one fact about Mrs. Biden grabbed my soul.  If you are a parent, especially a mother, didn’t you feel an emotional tug at the clips of her when TV cameras panned in on Jean Biden at various times during major moments in the last election?  For example, when her son was using his mom and her words in some meaningful way?

I can only answer for myself.  I did.  I reread and reviewed the time Joe Biden mentioned his mother’s comment on failure and giving up.  To paraphrase:  Failure at some point in everyone’s life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable.


I must use this as one of my mantra’s for the rest of my life.  Those words succinctly express what I’ve learned already, but I must paste them around me in my office.  Why?  Because as a writer, I fight failure with every page I write.  The publishing business isn’t easy.  Failure happens, often because of situations a writer can’t control.  But it still hurts.  The failures arrow into our souls and can fester, pushing us to reconsider our talent and what we write.  It’s the time when we must bow to the inevitability that we all will have our failures.  Just as Mrs. Biden told her son.

That’s where the second part of Mrs. Biden’s powerful statement comes into play.

We can’t give up, take our words and ideas, and throw them out with the trash of our daily existence.  We must work at continuing to believe in ourselves and our passion for writing.  Not to do so is unforgivable and denies us the chances to perfect the talents we’ve been blessed with.

I’ve stumbled often and failed.  Sometimes I’ve considered giving up.  In writing and with situations in life.  But my passion for writing, my friends and my family would never forgive me if I did so.

By accepting my failures and learning from them, I have lived long enough to see success—as a person, a professional, and within my deeply loved circle of family and friends.  To give up isn’t an option.  I’d disappoint too many I love, respect and admire.

What do you think about this concept?

Explore posts in the same categories: Character traits, Light bulb moments, Writing

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6 Comments on “Failure and Surrender”

  1. Edie Says:

    I can’t imagine giving up, no matter what happens. This is what I want to do. Yes, yes, yes, I want to get published, and I’m doing everything I can to make it happen. But most of all I want to write. And so I do. And so I keep going. Not for my family or friends, who would support me whatever I do. I do it for me.

  2. Giving up on anything worthwhile in life does not set a good example for my kids, so it’s definitely not in my plans. 🙂

    I can see surrendering one method of trying to achieve a dream if it’s not working, so long as a new approach is then applied and you’re still working toward your end goal.

  3. caseyclifford Says:


    I can’t imagine giving up writing either. I won’t as I expect I’ll die at the keyboard or revising hard copy–some 100 years from now. 🙂

  4. caseyclifford Says:


    I love how you zeroed in on setting an example of not giving up for your children. And revising a goal based on analysis is also a useful example for them. Too often, not revising is a bad by-product of failure that is not analyzed and learned from. 🙂

  5. I agree, Stacey. It’s much harder to give up on something worthwhile when you have your children to set an example for. That’s why I’m so proud to be able to say to them that Mommy followed her dream of becoming a published author, and didn’t quit until she achieved it. 🙂 Now hopefully, I’ll be able to stick to this killer diet I’m on (day 3!).

  6. caseyclifford Says:


    You want to diet, fine. Just don’t let it change the wonderful you who’s the most important element of you. A tip which you surely know already: don’t think diet, think slow life change. That’s makes the new behaviors easier to do in a slow but sure manner, like the tortoise winning the race. And the results LAST!! Just like finishing a book and getting it published. 🙂

    Thanks for dropping by.

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