The other night as I waited for the Academy of Country Music awards to air, I sat down to watch GAC and got caught up in Blake Shelton’s Back Story.  Being a writer, I’m always interested in back story, or a person’s past that directly reflects either by change or going the course, how that person became the person they are today.  Really, I was killing time, and I think Blake Shelton is cute, funny and a pretty good country artist.  But I didn’t think hearing his back story would send inspirational shivers down my spine. 

Wow.  Writers all have back story. We have successes, struggles and even failures.  I’m sure we’re not unlike millions of people out there, who have fallen down several times in their lives only to bring themselves up from the bowels of the earth, to become a success.

We can debate what success really means another time, but for me, it’s a feeling of satisfaction that I’ve met and/or exceeded my goals.  I’m an optimist at heart, yet it’s hard for me to not get down on myself when I don’t meet my own expectations.

Blake Shelton’s story cured me of that.  He inspired me.  He taught me that sometimes taking a risk and going for broke, while hard to do, is a route one must take to be truly happy.

His story is simply a case of taking one step forward, then two steps back. When he landed a record deal back in 1998, it took four years before the label, Giant, to put him out to the public. He watched as other artists who came before him and after him, were hitting it big, while he waited on the sidelines.  Finally, his record was scheduled to be released and that very week his record label went belly up.  Yep, he was an artist without a company behind him.  Can you imagine how he felt after 4 painstaking years of waiting?  Luckily, Warner record label took him on.  His first song was a moderate success and then the next two fell flat.  The recording label didn’t want to produce his new song into a video or give him any financial backing.  He knew without a video behind his song, he’d be crushed by the competition.  He made them a gutsy deal…if they produce the video of Ol’ Red, and the song falls flat…he wouldn’t hold them to his contract.  Basically, he said, if I don’t produce a chart-topping song with that video, I’m gone.

What a gamble that was!   He believed in himself, his talent and his goals enough to enter into that Make or Break deal.  As he looked back on that now, he realized what a risk he took.  He was that determined…that stubborn.  

The video he banked everything on was a HUGE success and became his signature song.  But all this took years of hard work and dedication. There were more up and downs in his career, a divorce from his first wife, along with the death of his father.  Blake was not an overnight success.   It was over ten years in the making.  He stuck true to himself and knew who he was.   Perhaps he was driven by stubbornness, love of the craft or simply belief in himself.    Now, Blake Shelton, once a tall, cute, unknown cowboy with long hair and a Stetson, is less rough around the edges, clean-cut and a household name who also co-judges The Voice.

I enjoyed that hour of television…I was truly inspired. I think it nudged me to think out of the box, to take more risks with my career and to be true to myself.  What about you?  What inspires you? Have you ever taken a big risk where you didn’t know the outcome?   Has anyone inspired you lately?   

***And on a side note: did you watch the ACM awards on Sunday night?  Three performances stood out, Tim, Taylor and Keith Urban doing Highway Don’t Care,  the tribute to Dick Clark with Garth and George Strait and then closing the show with Stevie Wonder!!  

I’m happy to give away a 2 in 1 Desire today to one lucky commenter. 

 Look for Charlene’s new Desire — SUNSET SEDUCTION –part of the The Slades of Sunset Ranch series, coming in June.


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45 thoughts on “NOT ENOUGH TO BE SAID ABOUT INSPIRATION and a Giveaway”

  1. Wow! Blake is a perfect example of perseverance!

    People who inspire me :

    Princess Kate – What a gracious, nice, beautiful person!

    All of you authors who work so hard to bring wonderful stories to light.

    People who overcome life threatening illnesses.

    My boss, Melissa, who is the head of our counties Children’s Hospital Miracle Network.

  2. Great post. I love Blake Shelton’s music. Some people that I admire are: my Mom who held our family together after a tragic event and Margaret Thatcher(former Prime Minister of Great Britian) a successful, strong woman.

  3. Hi Laurie G – thanks for sharing your inspirations. I think perserverance is the key. The successful people I know, have been knocked down many times, and come up again, better than ever.

  4. Hi CrystalGB – how wonderful that you’re momma is your inspiration. Does she know how you feel? I get the feeling she’s as strong in her own way as Margaret Thatcher was.

  5. I like Blake Shelton a lot. I think he is honest and is so darn cute. I like his music too..
    I think I have taken a few risk in life, some have paid off and other’s, well you just have to put those bad ones behind you and move on. It’s hard, but I do it.

  6. I never really thought about what inspires me. Basically, I just live day to the next. I had a lot of dreams years ago, but none came through for me. One thing I can think of (after reading this) is my past inspires me. I have come so far from what I used to be and learned a lot of hard lesson early in life. I will never go back there again. I have no regrets about the past because I have learned from it. Another thing is a friend I have been spending more time with, Marla. Her love for cats and helping sick or injured cats has inspired me to find something I want to do with my time. I am now volunteering with her and her cat rescue. This past week, I have been helping her feed tiny kittens who lost their mother. One thing I always wanted to do was bottle feed kittens and now I am doing it. We have a big adoption event this Saturday and I am so excited about it.

  7. Charlene, I just went and listened to the McGraw/Swift/Urban performance on YouTube.
    I love Blake Sheldan’s story. It sounds a lot like a lot of writers who work a long time to get in print and never give up.

  8. Hello Charlene,

    Yes my husband and I watched the country music awards. We love country music. My husbands favorite is Garth Brooks and when we found out he was going to be singing with the my favorite George Strait we were VERY excited! And I love at the end when they gave out the award for Entertainer of the Year and Luke Bryan Cried. It was so touching and very moving. You could tell the heart he had to want to win and his humbleness.
    My husband and I have gone through those times when we didn’t know what was to become of our future but we had the faith to step out anyway. For three years it was a roller coaster of events but what kept us going was our love and dedication for one another.

  9. I think Blake Shelton is such a great country music artist. I too enjoyed watching his backstory. I did watch the ACM’s and really enjoyed the performance by Garth Brooks and George Strait.

  10. I loved so much about the CMA’s, so many great performances. Blake Shelton is one of my favorite people, so funny, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously (at least on the surface.) You could see him holding back emotions though, especially when Miranda won.
    Adored the performance by Tim, Taylor, and Keith. That Keith sure knows his way around a guitar. : ) Garth Brooks and George Strait, Luke Bryan…too many wonderful moments and fabulous artists.
    I’m always inspired by people who know what they want, persevere to get it, and then give back to others in their community to help them achieve their goals.

  11. Hi, Charlene!
    First of all, let me say that I love The Voice, ACMs, and country music. I got to see Blake live (opening for Brad Paisley) a couple of years ago with my son. I had forgotten how many good songs he’s done. My favorite performance of the night was definitely The Highway Don’t Care, and seeing Garth Brooks again. I am just not a George Strait fan, although I do like a few of his songs. I was disappointed by the sound problems during the broadcast, especially Brad’s performance. And I was bummed to miss The Band Perry.

    I think many of us have taken risks, on different levels. Probably the gutsiest thing I’ve done is gone hang-gliding, even though it was in a controlled environment, strapped to an instructor. Instead of jumping, we were strapped in a frame with landing wheels, tethered to a single-engine prop plane, and towed up to 500 feet before disconnecting to glide down and land on the airport runway. It was amazing, and I’m glad I did it in my younger years, since over the past few years, I’ve developed this really odd fear of heights!


  12. I missed the awards, Charlene, so a double thank you from me for sharing Blake’s story. As writers and women, we’ve all had our share of ups and downs. I identified with that sweet guy.
    Your cover is gorgeous!

  13. Hi, Charlene! I have a fantastic husband who always inspires me. I also have lots of nieces & nephews, there will be 15 by the end of the year, who I love to spend time with & are constant sources of inspiration. Last but never least, my faith in God inspires me, I have been fortunate enough to be able to teach 2 religion classes at my Church, so those children, too, inspire me.
    I’d love to win your book!

  14. Hi Kathleen O – Oh, good for you for taking risks and for putting the bad ones behind you. That’s all you can do, right? Thanks for your post today!!!

  15. Hi Janine – you know I am a cat lover too. Recently lost my Snickers, 17 years. I have always had cats in my life…so I admire your work at the cat rescue. Once our family had two sets of litters at the same time. We had 11 cats and luckily found homes for all of them. We kept three of them ourselves. Good for you for learning from lessons from your past and moving on!

  16. Char, I didn’t know Blake Shelton’s backstory. Very interesting. Those huge setbacks can be devastating. Yet I know from experience that setbacks often make us stronger and more determined. The rewards are much sweeter and more deeply appreciated when we’ve had to work our tails off to reach our goals.

    Right now, I’m in the process of packing up and moving 125 miles north to Amarillo. It scares me to death. The unknown is always terrifying especially for someone who hates change. I don’t know if this is the right move for me or not. Yet, I feel in my heart it is. I know I have to do this. I keep telling myself that it’ll all be alright. Now, if I can just get my stomach to unclench. 🙂

  17. Charlene, thanks for this post. I’m a country music fan and love Blake’s music but never knew his boackstory – an inspiring story indeed. I guess one of my biggest role models and in spirations is my hubby – such a steady, upstanding, honrable man – he’s definitely the rock in my life.

  18. Hi Mary – that’s exactly what I thought too. There are a lot of simarilities between the music industry and the writing world. Lots of ups and downs and rejections all over the place!! I hope you enjoyed Highway Don’t Care. I’m a fan of all three Tim, Taylor and Keith and so it was a win, win for me.

  19. Hi Cori – I loved Luke Bryan’s reaction to his win. I didn’t expect it either. I thought it was Blake’s year, but Luke was humble and I loved when he said to his fans, he’d neve take them for granted. I’m glad your inspirational story has a happy ending as well!!

  20. Hi Katie J – Blake’s story shows you what perserverance and grit can do. I always liked him and remembered thinking why isn’t he hitting it big. And now I know his ups and downs story. I love George Strait and overall I thought talent-wise it was the best award show to date. Love Kelly Clarkson’s performance too!!

  21. Hi Robena – thanks for stopping in. I agree with all you said. Love to hear those rags to riches story. It’s the American Dream. Yes, Keith is great on the guitar. He’s a musician/singer and songwriter too. Very talented guy.

  22. Hi Jaye – oh wow. I have to hand it to you. YOU did something I would never try. I’m impressed. I was never that kind of risk taker! I know it’s something you’ll never forget and you’ll look back on it and be glad you did. Congrats!!

    Yep, I think those big production shows all have issues with the sound, which is sad because these performers are so much better than came through on TV that night. I’ve seen many of them in concert…amazing!

  23. For the first time ever I watched the awards from start to finish… it was very entertaining… the music, the jokes, seeing how overjoyed the winners were… My inspirations have been my grandmother and more recently my young nephew… 🙂 Thanks for sharing… did not know some of the info about Blake.

  24. Oh Linda – I know you’ve been worried over the move and I have to give you tons of credit for doing this. You’ll have friends close by and you’ll adjust I’m sure. Kudos to you and you have my best wishes at heart. You are always HOME here too with your filly friends 🙂

  25. Hi Colleen – Thanks for sharing your inspirations with me. I agree about the awards show, the best one I’ve seen and I still haven’t erased it on my DVR. Will watch it again and again.

  26. Hi Elizabeth – yes, we writers take our punches and keep getting up and fighting, don’t we? Sorry you missed the show, but they’ve been known to repeat them.

  27. Hi Maria P – How nice to have lots of people in your life that inspire you!! And yes, our faith is also a big source of inspiration as well. I’m sure the children you teach are inspired by your teachings.

  28. 14 yrs ago my life changed forever,,I had a brain anuersym that burst,,an im lucky to be alive,but it made me realize how precious life is,,I had to retire from the nursing job I loved,,,got the last of my kids graduated,an left a 30yr abusive marriage,,my kids were 28 an 18,,I had protected them all theirlifes from him,but no one could protect me from him,,so I started a new life 1200 miles away from him,,it was so hard but I had to get out,I had stayed as long as I could an when they were grown I got out,,remarried an have never been happier,I never have to worry about voiceing a opinion,or being beaten or slapped or belittled,,or cursed,,I had never known that marriage could be so nice,,it was a leap of faith, to do what I did an I am happy at last

  29. I like listening to Blake’s music. Not many people inspire me, however, I like reading about people who make it on their own without any assistance-who believe in themselves, and go for it.

  30. Char, I love Blake Shelton. He was born and raised here in Oklahoma, in Tishomingo, and he and Miranda Lambert have a place there now. She just opened up a little boutique there, too–can’t think of the name of it but something with pink in it. Anyhow, I didn’t know all this about him waiting for 4 years and then having the company just go under like that. How awful for him. Ol’ Red is still my very favorite song by him. I love the concept and the song itself. Glad he and Miranda are together, as they just seem perfect for each other, and I love their music–both of them.

    As for inspiration, I look around and just see what a struggle it is for so many people–and I always try to see the good side (my husband calls me “pollyanna”–) LOL There are so many people out there who just keep on going when the odds are stacked against them so high, and it makes me think, “They are willing to do this, and I can do what I need to try, too.” Lots of inspiration if we just look for it, isn’t there? Love this post!


  31. Hi Charlene, I can’t believe we missed the show, sheesh, but it should be repeated soon I hope. Blake’s “Austin” is absolutely one of my favorite songs, an inspiration in itself.

    My life’s events pretty much inspire my scribblings. As for people, not to be mushy, but one of my lights is you. That first day I went to an RWA meeting and faced a hundred strangers, you befriended me, and are one of my dearest friends still. As for all the critiques to improve my work, you taught me so much! xox

  32. Vickie – YOU are truly inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing the story about your life. I’m so glad to hear you’re happy now and out from under that terrible cloud of heartache. Yay you!!

  33. Hi Joye – It’s nice to read about truly inspirational stories. If you saw DWTS the other night, you might have caught a legally blind dancer, put on an amazing dance with one of the professionals. She was only 18 or maybe younger and I thought, where there’s passion, there’s determination and inspiration.

  34. Hi Cheryl P – Oh wow, you live really close to Blake. That’s very cool. He’s always boasting about being from Oklahoma…he and Miranda seem like such real people. I think it’s good to be Pollyanna, instead of being a Debbie Downer. I know a few of those and they are not easy people to be around. 🙂

  35. HI Tanya – Oh, my friend…you just made my day with your sweet words. I’m so glad I was there that day to befriend you and make your day easier. You’ve come a long way and are so talented!! Thank you!!

  36. I see people like the Wounded Warriors who have lost limbs or have such horrific wounds yet are so inspiring to others. They have been able to perform seemingly impossible tasks with their determination. These are the people who inspire me.

  37. Hi Jackie – I do know about the Wounded Warriors. I think those people are amazing. They are, after all our soldiers, strong, dedicated and proud. I work with Operation Gratitude and have contributed to the Wounded Warriors through them.

  38. I don’t know of any great risks that I have taken to compare with some of these. Some would say I took a risk when I married at 16, then had to move 14 hrs, away from my folks just 7 months later because of asthma. Well, it worked for 20 years, I should have done more talking with GOD and might have stayed together. He was a good father to our 4 kids, After my divorce, I went back to where my folks lived knowing there was a big risk of getting my asthma started up again, but thanks to GOD it worked out and didn’t happen. There I married a great man and was very happy for another 20 yrs, until GOD called him home. I am inspired by the missionaries who trust the Lord so much and risk their lives in far , dangerous countries , and even raise families there to answer the call from our Lord. I would be happy to win your book that you would be happy to give away. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  39. Thanks for an interesting post. I knew none of that about Blake Shelton. He is such a personable individual and seems like a nice guy. One wouldn’t think it was so hard for him to get where he is. We are lucky he was as persistent as he was. I don’t usually watch award shows, but did watch the ACM Awards this year. I enjoyed it and liked that performers other than country singers were involved. The music industry isn’t as segmented as it appears. I have been impressed with The Band Perry. They are from the town next to us and have not forgotten their neighbors. The gave a fund raising concert a year or so ago for local tornado victims and gave a free concert on Main Street a week ago. The seem to be a nice group of “kids.” When compared to another country star who was also on the show, they look even better. He made it big after graduating from the local college’s first country music program. He has refused to support the program or the school. They were having a fund raiser to support and promote the undergraduate program and requested his help. His reply was they could hire him for his regular concert fee. No give back to the community or people who supported him and helped him on his way.

    Staying with the country theme, Dolly Parton is someone to be admired and inspired by. She has put a lot of effort and money into her home community giving the whole area a financial boost. She continues to help and inspire with the Imagination Library Program she started and supports. She have very humble roots and has enjoyed great success. She never forgot where she came from and what could have made her life better. She has acted on that and helped many others as a result.

  40. I watched Blake grow up singing at the Pontotoc County Fair! My friend went to the same beauty shop as his former ma in law. She would call me with his latest news. He has worked long and hard to make it.

  41. Hi Charlene, I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty Snickers. I still miss Princess Leinani, who I lost 10 months ago. It’s hard losing a pet. The rescue did lose one of the kittens I was helping out with yesterday. She had a bladder blockage. There are two left now and I pray they make it. they are so sweet. I enjoy working with the rescue, but at the same time, it can be heartbreaking.

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