You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.
After running across this quote I looked up the word persist online. Webster’s definition is powerful.
Persist: to go on resolutely or stubbornly despite opposition, importunity, or warning
2: obsolete: to remain unchanged or fixed in a specified character, condition, or position
3: to be insistent in the repetition or pressing of an utterance (as a question or an opinion)
4: to continue to exist especially past a usual, expected, or normal time.
What a great tool to have in our writer’s toolbox. The definition reminds me of the inventor Charles Goodyear. A self-taught chemist, who used up all his financial resources, spent every waking moment and sacrificed his family in order to create vulcanized rubber. After years of failed experiments, he found the right formula when his concoction overheated and boiled over. The rubber that spilled on the top pf the stove is the basis for modern rubber used in tires, rain boots, watertight seals and hundreds of other products.
I am not advocating abandoning family in pursuit of publication. But his persistence is a measuring stick to encourage us all to keep pressing in.
Persistence is an attribute every successful author has. I know of none who wrote their first draft, published it and made millions. Even debut authors who hit the best-seller list took years writing. Not to mention, rewriting and shoveling out piles of disgusting prose to reshape their words into the masterpiece the public reads.
Our first draft is our babies. They can’t stand on their own. Too many adjectives, weak verbs and head hopping to make smooth transitions from scene to scene.
Even final drafts, whether that is three or thirty go through rewrites based on the publisher’s requests. Persistence helps us read that manuscript one more time and find a creative way to satisfy the publisher.
As 2016 winds down and 2017 is just days away I think persistence is going to be my go-to attitude in every aspect of my writing life. Persistent in my time-management. Persistent in meeting deadlines. Persistent in continuing to learn the craft and in paying it forward as I promote other authors. Persevering in my marketing and finding opportunities to promote my work. (Not my strong suit.)
How about you? Is persistence something you’ve embraced or are you still working on it?