Often writing and trying to get published successfully can seem like scaling the world’s tallest mountain.
Writing as a career isn’t the easiest choice. If you have an option about whether to write or not, then don’t do it! But if, like me, everything you think about is part of some greater story you’re compelled to write then take the following advice to heart.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
About eight years ago when I first started taking my writing seriously, this was the quote I had on my wall. The more I write, the more it rings true. I’ve seen better writers than me come and go from my writing group after finding it all too hard and quitting before they really gave themselves a chance. I’m no genius but I’m stubborn and I’ll persist and persist till I make it.
I’m hanging in there for as long as it takes.
“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” William Feather
Remember the Australian ice-skater who won his gold medal because he was the only one left standing? That’ll be me, if it has to be.
I know now this writing game takes time. My teacher Veny Armanno wrote a novel every year for ten years before his first book (short stories!) was published. My friend Katherine Howell had been writing for over ten years when she finally caught her break.
Sometimes people get lucky. Very lucky. But I think for them the road ahead is just as difficult, though in a different way. Those of us who serve our apprenticeship in the unpublished wilderness are free to develop our skills without time pressures, editorial constraints and marketing requirements. We also grow hides as tough as horny rhinos.
So you writers out there, frustrated at all the work you’re doing for little or no recognition or financial return, just keep writing. Our turns will come! Don’t give up now.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Don’t sit down in the snow and freeze. No matter how many times that story or novel has been rejected, go through it one more time. All this persistence means your skills are improving in leaps and bounds. Redraft. Resend. And hope for the best.
Steven King’s Carrie was in the bin before his wife scooped it out and sent it off one last time. JK Rowling was rejected all over the place. They didn’t give up. They persisted.
And so will we.