What sets the successful author apart from the aspiring writer?
Perseverance. The determination to move forward no matter how many obstacles appear on the path.
“The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.” ~Author Unknown
Staying true to our focus means we must recognize that the path to success can be arduous. There are always an abundance of obstacles to overcome before we reach our goal. Time restraints or writer’s block can tempt us to toss aside our dreams. Criticism and rejections can poke holes in our optimism. Instead of floating high from exhilaration, our happy fantasy deflates while we look around desperately for some encouragement.
Let me offer up some reassurance on this end. If you feel frustrated or stymied or overwhelmed, you are not alone. If you yearn for a magical flash of inspiration yet find you must struggle ahead with only a bare glimmer to light your way, you are not alone. All writers experience this struggle.
To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone - just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over.... - John Hersey
During the holiday season time is at a premium. For some of us, there’s last-minute shopping to do and presents to be wrapped. Houseguests pop in to share our few precious moments. Children are on winter break and underfoot. In certain areas, severe storms can wreak havoc on our lives, and even worse, knock out the electricity leaving us without internet or PC. Even those who aren't in holiday mode must endure the excessive crowds (which make errands and normal shopping a marathon) and find December's last weeks slipping away. Which begs the question, what exactly can a writer accomplish at this time of year?
My suggestion first off is this. Relax. Enjoy the season. If you can squeeze in a page or two, by all means let those fingers fly! If you can’t… be forgiving to yourself. Trust that you will be pounding those keys when the craziness eases off. Every book is written one page at a time.
“The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling.” ~Lucretius
However this is a great time to consider what qualities to embrace in the New Year. Perseverance is essential for a successful career in writing. To persevere means we persist no matter what. To persevere means to stubbornly push ahead despite the odds. Grit, moxie, or to put it bluntly, you gotta have a set of steel ovaries to make it in this business. *wink*
Harry Potter was rejected by just about every major publisher and if not for a small London publisher would not have seen the light of day. Madeleine L'Engle was rejected by 26 publishers before her novel, A Wrinkle in Time finally made it into print. Imagine... all those publishers rejecting the story that won the 1963 Newbery Medal!
Judy Blume also collected repeated rejections.
"I would go to sleep at night feeling that I'd never be published. But I'd wake up in the morning convinced I would be. Each time I sent a story or book off to a publisher, I would sit down and begin something new. I was learning more with each effort. I was determined. Determination and hard work are as important as talent." --Judy Blume
Next week we’ll set the stage for the New Year so let’s consider what we intend to accomplish in 2010.
Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go. ~William Feather
Let’s “hang on” and remember… We Are Writers!!
Have a lovely holiday season, everyone!