For this week’s post, I’m going back to the root of what makes this blog so amazing: our discussions on life’s challenges, adversity, and the virtues that build character.

I’ve really enjoyed the past posts where we’ve discussed how the virtues of honesty, gratitude, and patience have challenged us, made us stronger, and helped move us forward along life’s path.

This week, I’ve been most influenced by the virtue of perseverance.

Sometimes, it seems that our journey is all up hill. We encounter a bump along the road at every turn. Nothing goes smoothly or as expected and we begin to question ourselves.

I’ve been going through a bit of that lately. Here are my “bumps” over the past couple of weeks:

Re volunteering: My efforts for the good of the whole of an organization have been misinterpreted by someone who feels I am challenging her authority with respect to her own role. Volunteering has been my life’s blood and my actions are always with good intentions but occasionally misinterpreted due to my enthusiasm or due to someone else’s “issues.” We then ask ourselves … why do I even bother?

Re my work as a writer: My editor and I have mutually decided to part ways (on a professional basis) as we have a different vision for the book and it has been a difficult process for both of us.  As well, neither of the illustrators who had offered to do draft covers for the the book came up with the look I was hoping for so I’ve had to develop an alternate plan. I understand that delays and diversions are to expected in large projects, but how do we keep the faith, keep up enthusiasm, and regroup?

Tech woes: I had to have the hard-drive on my desktop computer rebuilt which caused me an unexpected expense, considerable loss of productive work time, additional time required to rebuild tools such as bookmarks, delete duplicate numerous images that had been created in the process, etc. I generally love Mac products. My tech life since switching to Macs exclusively (for my desktop, laptop and phone) has really been much easier and more productive. But wow! When technology melts down, it takes our enthusiasm with it.

I could probably go on, but I think you get the drift. The past couple of weeks have really taken the wind from my sails.

I think what brought it all to a head for me is that my husband and I have been watching a series of DVD’s this week called the Long Way Round starring heart-throb Ewan McGregor and character actor Charley Boorman. The series follows the two compadres on a motorcycle journey from London to New York … the long way round through Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, and the continental US. It’s quite the journey, and made me realize how tiny my own challenges are  compared to the adversity these two determined riders faced on their epic journey.

I’d highly recommend  getting ahold of this series on DVD if you haven’t already seen it. We could particularly relate as my husband has been a long-time biker and I faced several smaller challenges with him on the motorcycle so I could only imagine the fatigue and the urge to throw in the towel that both McGregor and Boorman faced during different parts of the journey.

How do you deal with adversity?  Is perseverance something that comes easily to you, or is it a virtue that you find you’re constantly working on?  What helps motivate you to stay on track? 

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

50 Responses

  1. Vincent says:

    Most of us really don’t see the value of backing up data until we lose it. In the end costing us much more because of our stubbornness.

  2. Hi Doreen,
    Great post on perseverance. Just the topic of my most recent post on my site. My blog is geared to people who have suffered betrayal in any relationship, business, marriage etc. Maybe your readers would like to check it out.
    I can relate to the computer problems but couldn’t do half the trouble-shooting it appears you did. I also appreciated your comments, including the one with the Madame Curie’s quote.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for visiting my blog, Marlene. It’s always nice welcoming new members to our community.

      Yes, dealing with technology certainly does require a lot of perseverance. Sometimes it’s hard to live with it, but I can’t imagine life as a writer without it! All the best to you.

  3. Wow, Doreen, when I read this it reminded me of our initial struggles on the PWAC board many years ago. Remember? My mom told me that strong women often clash, but that I should hang in there.

    In the end, I think we had such a difficult time figuring each other out because we came from vastly different viewpoints. It was so weird discovering later that we actually had the same overall goals and would eventually love working together.

    It’s been a long time since then and I’m now very happy to count you among my good friends. I hope your current volunteer struggles lead in the same direction.

    Much love, girlfriend. Much love.
    Tracey Arial recently posted…Week Four Election Roundup: Marquette, Marguerite-Bourgeoys and Verdun RidingsMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much for your wonderful comment, Tracey. It’s because of the relationships I have built with people like you, that I persevere the trails and tribulations of volunteer work. For the most part it is good, and most worthwhile. But once in a while, there are difficulties, and your mother is right! It is usually between 2 strong women who may share the same goals, but have completely different ways of trying to achieve them. On occasion, one simply encounters someone who just doesn’t want to “play nice.”

      But I hang in there, knowing that the good of the whole is the ultimate goal. Volunteerism is in my blood and has brought many amazing people into my life. I consider you to be among them. Thanks again for joining the conversation and for being the convicted individual that you are. 🙂

  4. Good post. I found this through Linkedin bloggers helping bloggers.

    Finding inspiration through movies, songs and books always works well for me too. keep it up.
    Patrick Huff recently posted…A Day At The Beach – Without Dogfish HeadMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Patrick: Thx for joining us on the blog. The BHB is a great group.

      I find that music motivates me. But yes, movies and books are definitely great sources of inspiration. It was indeed the “Long Way Round” DVD series that inspired this post on perseverance. Coincidentally, the same 2 fellows made a second epic journey, this time thru Africa, and it is called “Long Way Down” as it captures their motorcycle ride thru Scotland, Europe and down thru Africa to Capetown. Now that took perseverance!

  5. WizardOfWords says:

    Hi Leora and thanks for dropping into the blog. Sorry to hear of your father’s illness. I hope your dedication to him helps make him stronger.

    Yes, I had an external hard-drive but it hadn’t been working properly. Fortunately I didn’t lose any of my beloved Word docs. What’s been the issue has been the time lost in recreating the way I had everything set up and dealing with duplicate iPhoto files. But we persevere!

    Had never thought about backing up the apps and all. I trust my Time Machine looks after that as the backs-ups are now working well, and I believe copying everything on the hard-drive. I agree. Drop-Box is a great tool, and I’m using it for my book. Cheers!

  6. Leora says:

    Perseverance is good! If volunteering makes you feel good, please continue. I’ve been having a difficult time with my father’s illness, but I’ve continued with my photo blog because it connects me with caring people and calms me.

    Regarding the tech woes, I usually try to backup important files immediately unto an external hard drive or unto a cloud space (for example, DropBox). If you are continually working as though your main computer may not be available tomorrow, if it is in the shop, you still have access to important files. I do a lot of manual backups. I also have a family computer right next to my work computer that I use to store some files. Learn how to backup application data files as well.
    Leora recently posted…App Reviews for Small BizMy Profile

  7. Jeri says:

    Simplifying can help, but isn’t always the answer, especially since you seem to enjoy being so busy (and I admire you for that). I think because you are willing to share some of your recent encounters, you are already much further along than others who might clam-up or crack under similiar circumstances. You have a vision for your chocolate book! Even though we always know that “it will get better” the simple act of sharing our woes can work wonders.
    Jeri recently posted…The Indie Writer’s Guide: O Brave New World!My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Jeri and thanks for your comment.

      You’re absolutely right! Sharing the difficulties I was having did indeed bring insights from others who helped me work thru things and provide encouragement. I hope it also provided encouragement to others who might be having difficulty focusing or navigating bumps along the road.

      You seem to be of the same mindset as my husband. He thinks I should step back from some of my volunteer activities, but volunteerism is a huge part of my life. (I’ve written a book about volunteerism as well incase you aren’t aware.) I generally spend 1/3 of my time on my work, 1/3 of my time on volunteer activities, and 1/3 of my time attending to the other demands and joys of life.

  8. Nathalie K says:

    I have a kitchen magnet up that says:
    “We plan, God laughs.”

    Things work out in the end. And if they aren’t working out, it’s not the end…. another quote that makes acceptance easier to practice.

    Surrender to the stars (or world economony or whatever dark forces are at work), breathe deep and do something for yourself… things will come together when the time is right!
    September is around the corner and the start of a new season should bring with it its positive energy…


    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much, Nathalie. Yes, it seems like quite a few people were feeling the tug of the universe this summer. I have indeed taken this week to just stop and smell the beautiful summer flowers.

      A new editor has stepped forward, I’ve pushed back the publication date to Valentine’s Day (the perfect time to celebrate a chocolate book!) and all is well with the world.

      I’m so grateful for the words of wisdom and encouragement I’ve rec’d from readers of this blog. YOU GUYS ROCK!

  9. Bindhurani says:

    It is nice to know how persistent you are on publishing your book. To me, that is my big challenge. Too many ideas coming at the same time and too many projects on hand. Nowadays, I am trying to simplify my life and taking some time to just do nothing. It is so relaxing. My blog is the very first thing I am persistently working on.
    Thanks for sharing the story.
    Bindhurani recently posted…My First give AwayMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Bindhurani. I wish I had the luxury of just doing nothing! It’s been years since I’ve been able to do that. Between house and yardwork, looking after family obligations and doing my paid and volunteer work, I rarely have a moment’s breath. Not complaining, but that’s the way it is for me.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying your blog. I enjoy blogging, too.

  10. Hi Doreen,
    I’m sorry to hear about all your trials and tribulations. Two common sayings come to mind: “troubles come in threes” and “it never rains but it pours.”

    As far as my writing-connected trials go, I haven’t had a serious one recently, but I did have two of the four different publishers I have dealt with go “belly up” on me with the resultant necessity of finding a new publisher and the loss of some of the royalties I was owed for the books they had published for me. It would have been much more difficult for me to deal with these problems had the lost royalties been my main source of income. Fortunately they weren’t and I was able to find a new publisher.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Irene and thanks for joining the conversation.

      Wow! I didn’t realize that 2 of your publishers had gone out of biz. I knew about one of them.

      We writers certainly need to be a tough bunch. It’s not an easy task to earn one’s living from one’s words, but it certainly is a good life most of the time.

  11. Doreen,
    Its understandable that you have had a hard time as of late. In that regard hang in there tough times dont last … tough people do! I think the greatest challenge to any adversity is ourselves and how we perceive it. In reading your blog it seemed as though there would be something around the next bend. Challenge your way of thinking at these critical times and turn the ‘situation’ into a positive experience and nothing else! I would encourage you to blog about it, keep it upbeat and fun.
    I wish you success along the way.
    Jeffrey Burns recently posted…How Do I Start A BlogMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Jeffrey, and welcome to the blog! I think it’s your first visit.

      I think you’re very right. Perception is key to any situation. My friends will tell you … I’m the eternal optimist, always looking on the bright side of every ‘situation.’ But every once in awhile, even us optimists need to change the light bulb in order to keep conditions light. 🙂

  12. I too loved The Long Way Round, especially the part in Russia. Sorry to hear problems are piling up–certainly tech woes are a constant for most of us, as are hassles with writing and volunteering.
    I don’t have a magic bullet, but I find exercise helps me keep things in perspective, also spending time with friends. And remember, things will change.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, Margaret, and welcome to the blog! I think it’s your first visit?

      Yes, I could really relate to the Long Way Round portion on Ukraine and Russia as my ancestors came from Ukraine in the early 1900’s. It’s hard to believe how primitive life still is there. The way the people are farming is likely the way my grandparents farmed before coming to Canada.

  13. Suzanne says:

    Hey, Doreen,

    It’s hard to keep plugging along sometimes when nothing seems to be going according to our plan or schedule. But when this happens I always try to remind myself that there’s a “divine time” for everything and I just need to be patient.

    All the best,
    Suzanne recently posted…Goals and Dreams: Steps to SuccessMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Suzanne. You are absolutely right! I’m already feeling the heaviness of the past couple of weeks lifting and a renewed optimism and dedication to my work returning. I think all the positive vibes that folks have been sending my way have really turned the energy around. On we go!

  14. Cathy says:

    I think the best way to get over a problem is to simply work through it. Go to a place that is quiet and reflect on the entire situation without any disturbances. Think of the pro’s and con’s to your problem solving. If you need to involve other people, make sure you have in your mind a good understanding of the problem and know your stance.

    Going around problems or running away from them always come back to bite you in the end… deal with the event and move forward!

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Interesting comment, Cathy.

      As you know, sometimes we try to deal with issues directly and others oppose or fail to act. Beyond our control. Unfortunate that everyone is not willing or able to do the right thing.

      Thanks for dropping by the blog.

  15. WizardOfWords says:

    Thanks for your comment, Liz. You and I have been sharing this writing and self-publishing journey together and I am so excited that we’ll be able to co-market our books. A book on the fine champagne houses of the world goes so very nicely with a book about artisanal chocolate.

    You’re right in that there will always be unwelcome and unexpected bumps along the journey just as there are with any business. Thanks for helping me put that in perspective, and good luck in your own self-publishing journey.

  16. Liz Palmer says:


    I agree with Susan – You have faced a some obstacles along the way and no doubt your perseverance will win in the end! Focus on your vision. Just look at your writing project like you are running a business – there are always constant changes; just be ready for them.

    I also had some recent bumps – I just let go my illustrator and web designer they weren’t meeting deadlines – I have my vision in mind and a strong will. 🙂 Liz

  17. Here is my belief. Perseverance is not something that’s natural or an inherent attribute. It comes from practice and vigilance when things happen and boy do they. I believe we get better at dealing with each setback or challenge every time something is thrown at us.

    I’m not as good at it as I would like to be, but I try to grow from each experience and then feel stronger when dealing with the next items that happens along.

    I feel your pain my friend, but if there is anyone who can and will rise above it all, it’s you.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Trinchero Family Estates: Ménage à Trois Red WineMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Oh, Susan … thanks SO much for those words of confidence.

      I remember my brother saying quite a few years ago, “If life was easy … we wouldn’t learn anything from it.” I understand that, but sometimes … I just say … I’ve learned enough for now. Can we just have EASY please???

      Always great to hear from you. Thx for stopping by the blog.

  18. Mike says:

    Hi Doreen,
    Your post on perseverance has come at a coincidental time in my life. For the past two years or so, I’ve dealt with adversity such as job loss, reschooling, and job search. Although losing a job wasn’t easy, my decision to go back to school and retrain for a new profession kept me on track. I persevered through one year of homework and exams, plus a PT job on top of all that. It paid off in the end – I now have a job that uses my writing and research skills, and I know this work experience will open the door to new possibilities in the future. The key thing to remember when going to adversity is to remind yourself that the situation is temporary, will make you stronger, and will lead you to better things.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Mike!

      I really admire what you have done in taking schooling at a mature age and launching into a new career. And the fact that you have put those new skills to work on behalf of a great volunteer assn such as Toastmasters. I’m sure all the fabulous experience you have gained thru your work experience and your volunteer roles will lead you to just the right job. All the best, and thanks for the encouragement.

  19. Wow, Doreen. Your post certainly spoke to me today. I’m finishing the slowest freelance summer of my career and heading to my part-time teaching position in a week–which may be shortened considerably with a strike. I hope all goes well with your book project and that the sun shines on your path as you go forward. As much as I’d like to crawl in a hole and let the world go by, taking positive action and perseverence will win out, and I know it will for you, too. All the best.
    Heather Wright recently posted…What I’ve Been Doing This SummerMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your good wishes and for sharing your own situation here with us, Heather. There is indeed strength in numbers, and based on the number of people who have said they are going thru tough times right now, we are definitely not alone!

      Here’s hoping the change of seasons will bring about a change of fortune. All the best to you, my friend.

  20. Wow, you have been going through a lot. Hugs and support to you.

    This morning I feel like I got hit by a train myself. My volunteer work is sucking up my life (not in a good way). I feel guilty when I say “no.”

    I felt I was on my way to revamping my business with the help of a colleague I respect but he bowed out citing too much work (wish that was a problem I had). I am sitting here feeling defeated and lifeless (which I know is temporary). So when I read your posting I know I am in good company.

    Good and bad come and go. This too will pass. Good is coming our way. My heart is with you.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for sharing, Suzanne. Interesting how Heather Wright and Satinka are also going thru some tough times. Sounds like the astrologers (who say the current planetary alignment is causing undue stress for many of us) are right!

      I’m sure that September and the change of seasons will bring new strength and focus to all of us. Hang in there!

  21. Gina says:

    I usually deal with adversity by exercising more. However, I was feeling a bit down the other night, I was behind on blog posts, items to take care of for other people and just wondering how in the world I was going to catch up. Then…. we came home to the internet being out. Not much that I could do about it, so I made a list of things that I needed to accomplish and took the rest of the night off unplugged. Sometimes, you just need to force the break. It was good. 🙂 Hope things are better. What are you looking for as far as an illustrator? Drawing? Painting? Photos? I might be able to help you out.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for the comment and encouragement, Gina.

      Regarding what I’m looking for from an illustrator, the book will have a friendly tone with a certain level of sophistication. You’ll get a better sense of my book if you visit my chocolate travel blog at I will be adapting a similar tone in the book as it is in effect, a travel memoir for chocolate lovers. I’ve approached another illustrator whose work I greatly admire. If she isn’t working on collaborating with me, I may use a photo or two on the cover as I have many from the various research trips I have taken.

  22. You have faced a few obstacles Doreen and have no doubt your perseverance will win in the end. I believe there is always a solution, however we need to accept that it may not seem to be the ideal one at the time.
    Susan Oakes recently posted…Substitution Makes A Difference For Your CustomersMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      So true, Susan. We have to flexible and open minded, and hopefully an optimistic attitude and determination will attract just the right solutions into our worlds.

      Thanks for dropping by the blog.

  23. satinka says:

    I’m sorry to hear of your woes. I hear this is due to some weird planetary alignments, one after another, so don’t be too hard on yourself. I have a friend who is an astrologer.

    I too have had a stressful couple of weeks. I looked at proof #2 of my book, and found a few more mistakes, so I decided it was best to send it to an editor. I’ve looked at the manuscript too much and I’m not seeing the mistakes anymore … so important to get a good editor. So, I’m delayed by a bit, but my editor is very reassuring, saying one of the frequent mistakes an author makes is to publish too soon.

    Stay true to your own vision and I trust your book will be fabulous, Doreen. You have poured your heart and soul into this work, after all. How can it be anything but fab!!! 🙂
    satinka recently posted…Foreign Interests Have Taken Over Our ProvinceMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, Esther. Yes. I know, sometimes the delays are well beyond our control and are definitely there for a reason. I just hope they soon work themselves out favourably.

      You absolutely should have a professional editor for your book. Even as a professional writer with 20 years experience making a living from my words, I wouldn’t dream of publishing a book without the input and guidance of a professional editor. That can make or break a book. Good luck with yours.

  24. Christine says:

    Wow, Doreen. You are having a rough go! Sometimes seeing what others face helps put things into perspective for us, and make us realize that in the grand scheme of things, maybe we don’t have it so bad after all, even though at the time, it might seem as if we do.
    How do I handle adversity? I just try to remember that I come from good stock–and so does Jim. Our parents faced much tougher times than we’ve been through, and they managed. I also rely a lot on the fact that I’m a writer, and when I need to vent, my journal is usually a good place to do it–because it helps me put things in perspective before I talk to anyone about it. It helps me to be able to clarify my thoughts and then share my concerns with my husband, my sister, or a good friend. It also helps me to see that maybe [sometimes] things are not as bad as I thought, and I am able to move on. I hope that is the case with you–that you’ll get through these tough times, and move on.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Absolutely, Christine!

      My motivation for doing the post was to try and encourage others to believe in themselves and their convictions. As someone wrote in a private comment to me, “I think that it’s great you made a post about your setbacks because it’s authentic, and helpful to those who are
      facing their own different setbacks.”

  25. Stacey says:

    Doreen – I also believe that the obstacles you have faced recently are for a reason, in particular the parting ways with your editor and your volunteer work. I can definitely understand your discouragement though. For me perseverance comes when you feel so passionate about and/or committed to something that not a single thing can stop you. This is one of my favorite quotes on perseverance by Madame Curie:

    ”Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

    Her words “must be attained” are so inspiring to me because if you are gifted for something like you are with writing and your volunteer work, you will press on in your heart for the larger purpose. The key thing is, for me, it’s important to make anything you truly want a priority in life by not letting obstacles steer you off the track or delay success. I think to persevere in spite of setbacks requires a certain mental toughness and inner strength to the goal, the dream, a person’s gift. For example, you are being challenged in your volunteering efforts but even though the person may be presenting herself as an obstacle, this is your life’s blood, as you said, which tells me that no matter what keep going because the people you are serving are reaping the benefits of your enthusiasm, and that is so key in your personal success and the success of the organization.

    There are some perseverance resources on my website, VirtuesforLife, such as poems, quotes, and videos that I’d love to share with you and your readers, if you’re interested:

    Best of luck with your book project and volunteer work Doreen! Your commitments are very clear and purposeful.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much for your insightful comment, Stacey. It’s always great to hear from you.

      We have never met, but someone … I feel you know me.

      I am happy to have your website listed on my Blogroll as I know you have many great resources there. I will try and drop in and read more about perseverance.

  26. Patience – Doreen, I have experienced the same/same/but different, only to ‘see’ later on the mysterious reasons for these tests of patience. (my current book cover is a great example)
    I get the whole volunteer business and have always found it very strange that other volunteers feel threatened. Needless to say, I pick and choose quite carefully now and let the bosses (bosses?) do what they will, in the spirit of the whole. Poor people with such a mis-guided purpose.
    Lesley Fletcher recently posted…Back to School Kids 🙁My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Lesley. Yes, I’m with you. Whatever is best “for the whole” re volunteer efforts.

      And yes, people say that everything happens for a reason, and so I’m hoping the delays with my book will end up bringing together all the right components that will really make the book a blockbuster. Thanks for your continuing support. It means much to me. 🙂

  27. Linda says:

    Oh dear. Each one of your trails would be enough to undo most of us. The hard drive melt down…that could be the worst. And, that is also when we really learn how effectively we’ve been backing up data.

    Good luck finding new team members for your book.
    Linda recently posted…My blessingsMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Linda.

      Yes, I had an external hard-drive, but it hadn’t been working and so I was REALLY lucky that I didn’t lose any important data. Just settings that it is taking an extraordinary amount of time to recreate.

  1. July 5, 2013

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