A person is born "determined" or not.
Maybe. I don't think I was born with a strong will or a strong desire or a strong determination to do anything in particular. As life went on, though, I can see that the strong determination to do something did pop up on occasion. Otherwise, you might call me a "floater," one who goes along with the flow unless something stops me...or speeds me up.
As a public school student, I floated. I liked good grades, but goodness me, I did not go out of my way to make them. Courses were mainly easy with no huge obstacles to learn a subject.
I married, and it has turned out really well. But I did not set out to marry--it just came along, and I lucked out and got a really good man.
Babies just happened, too. My desire to be a mother was nil, but when did get pregnant, I very soon turned out to be a pretty good mother.
Mother bought a piano for me and my sisters, but I was the only one who enjoyed the lessons. But was I determined to be excellent or outstanding? Or did I ever have a great desire to be a pianist? No. The piano was there, I took lessons, and I loved it so much I practiced and played all the time, to the irritation of my sisters who wished I'd "quit banging on that piano." I didn't call it banging--I was playing and having the time of my life. It was fun.
During the Sixties, though, I became restless, probably because the nation had become restless. Young men were burning their draft cards, and women were burning their bras and going to college. My bra wasn't big enough to make much of a flame, but a sudden urge to go to college burned in my chest.
The problem was that we had two pre-school children.
Without relating the boring details, I did enroll, put our kids with a baby-sitter, and my husband worked two jobs so I could do this. (He already had been in the Army and had also earned two university degrees.)
Working for a degree beginning at age 27 became The Holy Grail. I had to have that degree, no matter what happened, and believe me, with two young children, plenty did.
During those years, I worked so hard and lost so much sleep, I literally became sick. I lost weight--way too much--trying to be the best mommy I could be and the best wife, too.
But my main story is the Year of Physics.
Physics? Me? Heavens, how in the world could I get through something so difficult?
During those years, education majors with science as a teaching field at Texas Tech were thrown in with physics and mathematics majors. Some of these young men aspired to go to the moon! This was not fair, but I either had to pass or lose my degree. I could not graduate without physics.
On the first lecture day, I climbed the steps in the huge lecture hall and found an empty seat about one-fourth the way up. As it happened, I sat next to a young pretty blond co-ed. We became acquainted. She was an education major, too, and both of us had science as a teaching field.
In walks the young professor, swaggering, head up, swinging his arms, and threw his book bag on the table down in front.
Really, he grinned and rubbed his hands, he was so arrogant and confident.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he began. "Today you will either learn what I teach and remain in the class, or you will not understand, leave the hall, go to admin, and drop this class."
I shook and almost cried, but I'm not a cry-baby, so I waited.
He began and drew so many figures and problems on the board I got dizzy. I tried to take notes, but there was no way, because he talked and drew so fast.
After forty-five minutes, he stopped and said.
"Now if you understood, remain. If you did not, I invite you to leave now."
At least one third of the class left.
The young lady beside me grabbed my arm. "I didn't understand," she wailed to me. "Did you?"
I told her, "No, I did not understand one thing."
"Are you going to drop?"
"No, I have to have this course, and if you do, too, then stay with me."
That girl and I got through physics.
A young man told me something he'd heard:
"For the labs, write thick reports with hand-drawn illustrations--in ink--you'll get an automatic A, and those grades will be averaged with the lecture exams."
Determined? Oh, yes. But the labs just stumped us. There was always some apparatus on each table we were to manipulate. We had the outcome--we knew what was to happen in the end, so I told this girl--let's work backwards, and we can write the equation and formula backwards, then turn it around.
Don't ask me details, but that's what we did. Also, my written lab reports were about fifteen notebook sheets of paper, complete with drawings and labeled illustrations I found in a physics book in the library. And with no errors.
I passed with a C and a B to go with all my other grades--A's. And that C and B meant the world to me.
To this day, though, I don't know much about physics.
Most of you know I'm now talking about writing. Truthfully, I did not set out to become an author. I only wrote stories for fun. After four completed manuscripts, I discovered electronic publishers that did not want authors with agents, and I could submit electronically. No paper submissions.
Yes, I became determined to get a contract, but I did not go about the process willy-nilly.
First, in my newly found determination, I made a list of about ten new electronic romance publishers I found the the RWA magazine.
At first, I didn't care what their requirements were, I was interested in MY requirements:
~Nice covers without naked bodies
~A website that was inviting and easy to read
~A publisher that offered prints
~And an open invitation to submit, with an exact list of the requirements
I chose five publishers for my first submissions. One was The Wild Rose Press. I was offered a contract within three weeks.
The rest is history.
But my determination now? I still have a high level. Yes, I'm still just as determined as ever to write a good story, submit it, get a contract, and have one more book published.
Of all the things I learned to do later in life--learning to play golf and bridge--becoming an author with multiple books is at the very top of my favorites list.
I'm as determined now as before, and I will not stop until I become bored...or something else stops me.
Many things in life just ordinarily happen, don't they?
But how many things happen completely out of the blue, things so weird and different you wonder how you could succeed?
I'm certain many of you out there can identify. I'd love to hear your story.
Romance...and a little bit of Texas