You know how sometimes you hear something at the exact right moment, and it makes everything okay?

Last year, I saw Lady Gaga’s concert at Citi Field. It poured rain that night, which only made it better.  During “A Million Reasons,” Gaga sat at the piano, drenched, wearing a crystal-covered floor-length coat, and paused before the first chorus, looking straight at all of us through the Jumbotron, like a prophet come down from a diamond mountain.

“If you’re an artist, don’t you dare give up.”

I almost sobbed when she said that. I was deep in edits for my first romance novel while simultaneously navigating the tech-y labyrinths of self-publishing. Frankly, I was also freaking out that I had written a book with mermaid sex in it that omg my dad might read. 😱

I wondered if I should hide the book. If I shouldn’t tell anyone when it was out. If I should try for only a few sales, so I wouldn’t have to give it my all.

As I watched Gaga give us her messy-drenched-exalted everything, I realized she was right. Who am I to give up? Who am I to not give it my all? If a freaky-deaky sunset purple prose mermaid love machine book is living inside of me, I should let ‘er rip. Why hold back, when I had already come this far?

So I published the book, and told everyone. My parents asked for a hard copy. My auntie wants one for her “special shelf.”  The coffee shop on my block wants to sell them, too. As I plan out the rest of the series, and maneuver through the shifting tides of the romance market, I’m reminding myself constantly to not give up. To give it my everything. I owe just a bit more daring to all the daring I’ve already done.

I encourage you to do the same. Let ‘er rip. Give it your everything. Whatever you are making, don’t you dare give up.

p.s. The book won an award. Good thing i didn’t give up 😉

if you're an artist don't you dare give up

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