Monday, July 14, 2008

You've Got To Have Heart!

How best to describe a career in writing?

"Going after Moby Dick with nothing but a loaf of bread and a jar of tartar sauce." --contributed by James Fletcher


"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship." –Louisa May Alcott

We are a daring bunch. Venturing out into the chilly depths to seek our prey: The Elusive Contract. We dodge the painful spears of rejection and bait our hook again and again. Even after we manage to snare the wily agent and fearsome editor, our rickety boat must still cut a path through the stormy seas, hoping to discover the ultimate port—Lasting Success As A Published Author.

"If you're going through hell, keep going." ~Winston Churchill

Like many kids, I loved to devour stories. Whether nestled between the covers of a favorite book or played out on the tiny tube of my television set, feed me a story and I'm mesmerized. One classic musical that fascinated me featured a song I still love today. The lyrics capture what every writer needs to remember:

You've gotta have heart…
All you really need is heart…
When the odds are sayin' you'll never win,
That's when the grin should start!

From Damn Yankees, lyrics and music by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.

Now I'm just mixing metaphors all over the place but with good purpose. Whether you equate your dream with a great white whale or the coveted victory of a championship series, the focus is always the same.

You've got to have Heart...

Yet now as I type these words the realization strikes me that we need to dig deeper. Sure we're "hunting" for the right agent and editor. Yes, we want to "win" a shot at the big league. But each writer who yearns for success has a greater goal. One we may forget in our eager quest for the trophy win.

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. --Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)

While we may struggle and sweat, going after our goals with fervor and heart-pounding determination, we lose sight of the greatest quest of all.

To Be A Damn Good Storyteller.

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer. - Ernest Hemingway

To write a story that makes even one reader's heart sing is an amazing accomplishment. Sure the savvy agent hoping for a best-selling author right off the bat may not give your query a second glance. The editor pressured to only select books guaranteed to net a larger profit share may pass on the sale. Does that make you a… *gasp* failure?

Let me tell you right now… HELL No. If you pound those keys and nurture your story until it bursts into illumination, You Are A Success. If your beta readers and critique partners tell you how much they LOVE your story, YOU Are A Success. Truth is, this is a tough economy. There's a plethora of books flooding the marketplace. Breaking in is not necessarily easy. We all need to be determined to be in this for the long haul. Others may get contracts quicker or land an agent while we're still sweating over revisions. Be envious but joyful. Every success that others achieve is great news, my friend. This proves your dreams are achievable. You Can And Will Be A Successful Published Author.

You've Got To Have Heart… Miles and Miles and Miles of Heart. *wink*

"Keep your dreams alive. Understand that to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hardwork, determination, and dedication. Remember, all things are possible for those who believe." -- Gail Devers

Let's set some goals!

I'm reworking my synopsis this week but I also want to shoot for:
Fifteen pages.
Weekly Essay.

How's about you?

Here's to a Week Filled With Heart…

Remember… We Are Writers! Go-go-GO!



Celia Yeary said...

I LOVED your quotes. My favorite,which is along these same lines, is "To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing."
Your essay was wonderful. Keep it up. I love to read them. Celia Yeary

Tiffany James said...


I have missed you the past couple fact, I've missed alot of things! I'm drowning in forgot to-do's, must do's and gotta get done's! And all I want to do is get caught up on the sleep that is so seriously lacking in my life lately! (Didn't I just blog about rest for the writer?? Oops! :0)

When you're right, you're right! It's almost as if this post was written for me personally! Now tears are streaming down my face because you reminded me of why I write: to be a damn good storyteller, to make another's heart sing, to craft character's that readers (even just one reader) loves. I've done that - and it doesn't matter that that one reader was my best friend...because like you said, I'm a success!

Thank you!



Chiron, God bless you for giving us heart. And, yes, thank you!


Sandy said...

Hey, sweetie, you always cheer my heart and make me start again.

Thanks so much,

Chiron said...


Thanks so much!! I love the quote you added. That sums it up. *grin*

Always glad to *see* you!


Chiron said...

Ah, wonderful Tiffany!

Life does have a way of keeping us on our toes. *rueful grin* Yes, you DID blog about rest, as a matter of fact. *wink* We bloggers must remember to follow our own advice, eh?

Keep that energy up (which does require replenishment the old-fashioned way occasionally--SLEEP!!) and Always... embrace Your stories.

You Are A Writer...


Chiron said...


We're like a group heart, sharing life's joys, one beat at a time...

Always so nice for you to stop by!!

Smiles and hugs,

Chiron said...

Yay, Sandy!!

If I can return the favor you do for so many, I am deeply honored. *bows*

Thanks for being YOU.


Inspire said...

Your posts never let me down. Always encouraging and motivational.

As far as quotes go, Mark Twain's wit on writing is by far my favorite.

He said in the opening to 'Those Extraordinary Twins',

A man who is born with the novel-writing gift has a troublesome time of it when he tries to build a novel. I know this from experience. He has no clear idea of his story; in fact he has no story. He merely has some people in his mind, and an incident or two, also a locality, and he trusts that he can plunge those people into those incidents with interesting results.

Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Chiron,

Wonderful post. I love the quotes. How do you continue to write essays and get anything done on your stories?


Tessy said...

I'm trying again, Chiron...I love this post! I have company this week, so won't get much done besides the class I'm taking!

Thanks for the inspiration, Chiron!!!

Chiron said...

Thanks, Linda!

Actually, Saturday is reserved for my essay. So basically I do it on my day off!!


Chiron said...

Thanks for stopping by, Tessy!

Company is fun but it really does take up time, doesn't it? Have fun and trust the socializing will inspire even more fantastic writing!!