I looked up the word ‘perseverance’ today and found the following entry at dictionary.com:
–noun 1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. 2. Theology. continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.
As a writer we all encounter difficulties, obstacles and discouragement whether it is in the form of rejection emails, agents/editors stating categorically that yours was by FAR the worst thing ever written in the history of the human race, or just the little voice in our head that sometimes whispers ‘you can never succeed,’ ‘you aren’t good enough,’ etc.
If there is one lesson I have taken away from writing, it is that perseverance pays off – not necessarily in a monetary fashion, but in satisfaction (for me, anyway). I started writing about eight years ago, when I was downsized from my job at the time. I had always wondered if I could write a novel and I had about eight weeks between jobs, so I took a shot at it. In the beginning though, I wasn’t consistent. I would go for weeks or sometimes even months without writing a single word on the page, as various things came up such as kid’s ballgames, demands from my new job, etc. Finally, after encouragement from a close friend (and writer), I decided to push ahead and finish my story and after almost eight years, The Guardian’s Apprentice was complete.
Am I going to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King? Hardly – I can never hope to rise to that caliber of talent! Am I going to become filthy rich when a publisher offers me that bazillion dollar contract? Nope. Do either of those facts matter? Not really. For me it is the satisfaction of knowing that I did it – I finally wrote my story, and discovered a new pastime that I enjoyed. I had persevered and pushed past those every day obstacles that we all face and finally put my work out there for others to see.
I’ll share a quote with you that I came across a few months ago:
“Remember, even today’s mighty oak tree was once just the little nut that held its ground.”
So when you are writing, don’t listen to those negative voices in your head and don’t let rejection emails douse the flames of your passion – keep writing. Join a critique group such as critters.org, network with other writers through sites such as Facebook and Goodreads and always, always, always be open to constructive criticism (and ignore the inevitable negative crap). Hopefully you will discover, as I did, that it will be worth it in the end and you will reach your goal.