Justin may have been right.

on December 19, 2008 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 21 comments by

My friend Justin is from New York.  I am from Georgia.  And Justin says that a major difference between Northern and Southern parents is this- Southern parents make their daughters feel like they can do ANYTHING.  Never mind your skill set or ability, “baby, if you wanna do it, then darlin’ you can do it”.

I laughed when he said that, thinking, “He doesn’t get it.  They just love us and want us to know that the world is our mountain oyster.”

[If you get that joke, I apologize.]

Yesterday I had a discouraging defeating day professionally.  I got an email about some of my writing that literally sent my heart to the floor. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t even read the entire thing.  I read a paragraph, then closed my computer and watched TV through the blurring tears.  [The Cosby Show is soothing, I don’t care what you say.]

Being that I don’t employ an assistant [currently], I knew I was going to have to finish reading the email myself.  So I put on my working woman face and read it.

And once the shock wore off and my mind began to clear, this popped into my head- Justin was right.

Just because I want to do something, doesn’t necessarily mean I can do it.  Example- I really REALLY want to play the piano, but I can’t. I want to be a back up singer, a famous actress, go on tour around the USA in a bus, and have my own cooking show.

And I really want to be an excellent writer and a competent editor.

I went to the Andrew Peterson Christmas show last night and the first 30 minutes devastated me.  Because I watched some of the people I respect the most as songwriters (Peterson, Osenga, Bebo) perform songs they have written that are so good it makes my insides hurt.

And then there’s me. Nashville’s most recent writing failure.

I was sitting next to my friend Sam and I kept thinking, “DO. NOT. CRY. ANNIE. DO. NOT. CRY.”, cause poor Sam did not sign up to deal with a face smack of my crazy.

And I didn’t cry.  Because I began to sense God calming my heart and speaking rationally to me.  Though Justin may be right and Mama may be wrong about my immense amount of skillz, I’m good, I’m just really new at this.  These dudes who write great music and words that cause deep emotion?  They’ve been doing it for YEARS.  This Christmas show alone has been going on for 9 years.  9 years ago I was a sophomore at UGA.  From then until now these musicians have been practicing their craft full time.

I have been practicing my craft full time since the neighborhood pools closed for the winter.  So.  That’s about 5 months.

I have to work harder and constantly improve as a creative person- in editing and writing.  And meanwhile focus on finding work in the areas that I really excel at- like this kind of writing, where we’re just talking. And writing that cracks you up. And editing stories that need flow and heart. And helping other writers sound better.

And I have to remember that I have time.  Time to get better.  Time to gain the experience I need.  Time to get paid enough to buy trendy clothes guilt-free.

Time to become the writer that the email says I’m not [but my Southern parents say I am].


Tomorrow, an upbeat fun-to-read blog about the AP Christmas Show.  Sorry to be Debbie Downer two Fridays in a row.  Sheesh.


  1. Jennifer
    posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 8:11 AM  |  reply

    Annie, if I wasn’t raising three children who are bound and determined to spend every dime I have, I would honestly pay to read your blog…almost daily you make me smile , laugh until I cry somedays and others I cry along with you even though I don’t have a complete clue about what you are saying (It’s a generational thing). Keep at it girl. One day I will be able to say I knew her when…That, my dear one, will be a day to hoop, holler, and just plain dance!

  2. Southern Gal
    posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 8:18 AM  |  reply

    I second the comment of Jennifer. I would pay to read your writings. You’re a funny, caring, deeply feeling young lady and it all shows up here on your blog. Don’t be discouraged. Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid.
    Love you,

  3. posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 8:44 AM  |  reply

    Annie, you inspire me. You make me laugh, you make me think, and you make me thankful that I started reading blogs and then found yours. Your committment to doing what you love gives me motivation to step out in faith. Don’t ever give up on your dreams, girl. I believe in you!

  4. posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 8:57 AM  |  reply

    I just finished doing an incredible book study on the book Strengthen Yourself in the Lord by Bill Johnson. It’s awesome. I would say “Read it” except that you, my dear Annie, just did in this post everything I learned in the past few months I need to do in the face of discouragement. Keep pursuing your dream. You not only have incredible talent but great wisdom. I’m proud of you, friend!

  5. posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 10:43 AM  |  reply

    i love your writing. and you’re right: sometimes it just takes time to get good at what we’re called to be good at. We expect too much too soon. slow it down a bit and you’ll realize just how great and funny and creative you truly are. xoxox and ps. if you need an assistant, i will work for cookies. love you, girl.

  6. posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 11:11 AM  |  reply

    First off you are an amazing writer and second never think you can’t…because you can! I’ve seen your blog videos..you could act if you wanted to:)

    Miss you Annie

  7. posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 12:29 PM  |  reply

    I read you, AND I know you, and I can say with full confidence: you are not a writing failure.

    You are gifted. And even if you can’t do EVERYTHING, you can do THIS. And one day, when we can afford the cute clothes we want instead of going back into the dresser drawer for our clothes that we’ve owned SINCE HIGH SCHOOL, we will both look back on this discouraging moment and laugh. And then cheers our peartinis. And then breathe a prayer of thanks to God, who hasn’t let us down yet, and sure isn’t going to.

    He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it, Annie Downs. We’re all a work in progress.

    And if all else fails, we could probably have a career doing “Annie & Annie Adventures in Nashville” videos. That’s our backup plan. We should go zorbing.

  8. posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 1:16 PM  |  reply

    you are CRAZY. you are so not a failure. you are living my dream, remember?

    come to california. it will make all things better. =)

  9. posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 3:52 PM  |  reply

    Do NOT give up! Personally, I side with the Southern parents because I really think that you can do anything you want (with prayer and hard work!)

  10. posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 4:50 PM  |  reply

    Annie, Annie, Annie.

    First, I would not pay to read this stuff. I’d just call you and get you to read it to me. Convince you that I was recording you for an audiobook. (You’d buy it. Trust me.)

    Second, your writing is great. Otherwise, I wouldn’t call you to get you to read it to me in the first place.

  11. posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 5:10 PM  |  reply

    Criticism and rejection is inevidable and causes growth. We all KNOW that you are a great writer Annie. Ask God what He wants you to do with what you read. Satan is the great discourager especially when you are doing God’s work.

  12. Amber
    posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 7:01 PM  |  reply

    Well, Annie…I’ve got to say… I haven’t posted a comment before, you don’t know me (Hi, I’m Amber. I live in M’boro, and I stalk your blog…), but…I do want you to be encouraged. I read your blog everyday. Actually, it is one of the things I look forward to most. I am a blog-stalker…yours, and Lisa TerKurst. Daily. I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE to read what you post. You are one of the most interesting people I’ve ever stalked. One of my fav blogs was where you talked about being so transparent w/your friends, being too open, etc. That is so much like me …and I had honestly started to think it was a negative quality. I enjoyed knowing that another Christian woman is the same…and it encouraged me. I actually post blogs on my MySpace account and I’ve mentioned you there. I’ve found a new love for Sara Groves, and I’ve jacked some of your thoughts and made them my “quotes” on MySpace. I kinda think a lot of you… and I’m sure glad you’re in Nashville. Keep your head up! I think you’re highly interesting, highly talented, and full of God’s light. =)
    Merry Christmas, Darlin…
    (and – it MAY be Southern, ’cause I tell my 3 daughters everyday – you can do anything you set your mind to – because I believe in them… and I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with that. In my heart I think, it’s okay to believe in yourself because – Jesus does. If He has ordained you for writing, …do it. No matter the oppositions.)
    [oh – and, nice to meetcha]

  13. posted on Dec 20, 2008 at 12:07 AM  |  reply

    Aw. Listen:
    “I have been practicing my craft full time since the neighborhood pools closed for the winter.”
    Lines like that? You can write honey.

    You know what the best part about failure is? It is that, because we are covered in the blood of Christ and all that good good stuff, any disappointment you receive, any humility you experience, is only specifically designed and intricately allowed by God to sanctify you and make you more and more like your Savior whose birthday is coming up.

    And. I mean. Well. Bring it on, huh?

    Your worst enemy is pride, darlin. Days like this keep us humble and on our knees. Praise the Lord for ugly cries and The Cosby Show.


  14. ginger
    posted on Dec 20, 2008 at 3:16 AM  |  reply

    What you don’t know is that there are others out here who feel exactly the same way. Thank you for voicing what I have been unable to for a while now…you never know how God will use you, do you? 😉

  15. posted on Dec 20, 2008 at 2:12 PM  |  reply

    Well, it seems I’m last in line, because everyone has already said eexactly what I wanted to say.. only much more eloquently.

    Hun, you can do anything that you set your mind to, and with your grit, determination and talent, you’re going to get everything you’ve dreamed of.

    I just want you to know that yours is the first blog I read every single morning and it always starts my day out right… So honey, hang in there and just keep doin’ what you’re doin’ !

  16. posted on Dec 21, 2008 at 12:10 AM  |  reply


    Thanks alot for reminding me that rejection is a part of our writing journey. I was beginning to enjoy myself.

    Seriously, you can write… you know it… and you need to listen to your heart.

    And BTW, Annie fans, Annie wants to go to a Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference and needs some funding or she won’t be able to go … so pray for her, and maybe more… $$$… If God prompts you… And no, she didn’t pay me to say this. I thunk it up all by myself.


  17. posted on Dec 21, 2008 at 12:55 AM  |  reply

    Thank you ALL for your amazing comments. I will email you back tomorrow.

    And Brad. You are so great. And friends, the VERY BEST thing you can do is pray that God will provide a way for me to go to Mt. Hermon. If you will do that, that is more than enough. 🙂

  18. posted on Dec 21, 2008 at 6:48 PM  |  reply

    Can I just tell you – – I wish I had southern parents who thought I could do anything – – my parents would say “sure, you can do that” with a role to their eyes that didn’t really build much self esteem. One thing I’ve found with my southern sisters here in Virginia is they have the guts to try stuff and they are so darn cute trying it.

    I got fired from my first and only job as a journalist. I was told that the reason I didn’t get another job was because my writing skills were so horrible, maybe I should take some classes – – um, gee I had a four year degree in journalism. How stinging is that. Ironically, where God decided to use my writing skills was not in covering wars or injustices around the world – – but as technical writer/software tester for a computer firm. My public speaking skills – – giving tours at a local military museum.

    I have been a lurker here on your blog and I wish I could write about things as well as you do. Don’t give up.

    All things are possible through Jesus Christ who strengthens us – – right?

  19. posted on Dec 21, 2008 at 9:05 PM  |  reply

    sorry i missed this one yesterday, i shoulda been there for ya…you are good annie, and you are so right. somethings take time!! sometimes our “talents” need to be honed a little, especailly when we don’t want to just be “good” , we want to be great!!! don’t let this get you too down. take the criticizm for what it is, learn from it and go out there and make them eat their words!!!! GO GET “EM!!! love you girl, and i’m praying you will find your niche! (i know you will!!!) 😉

  20. posted on Apr 09, 2009 at 8:58 PM  |  reply

    Oh girl, I have parents like yours don’t you just want to say “thank you LORD” for that!

  21. posted on Feb 06, 2014 at 7:21 PM  |  reply

    It’s amazing in support of me to have a web page, which is beneficial in support of my experience.
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