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 Gotta 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 and Published Author.
You Gotta 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
Here's to a Week Filled With Heart…
Now you tell me, any classic movies or stories that filled you with heart? Tales that gave you hope or renewed your faith and courage?
Also featured at Pop Culture Divas!