Sometimes it seems like I’ve poured my heart and soul into my work and it is isn’t enough. The feedback is critical, my readers wish for more. But I have to keep going.
Why? Because I’m committed to this. I want to write and publish my novels. I want to please readers with my work. It fulfills me.
So how to handle the rocky road, the potholes and washed out places in the path?
I just finished reading The Nearly Ultimate Guide to Better Writing. It has been put together by Mary Jaksch, chief editor of the blog Write to Done. It’s a book of inspiration. Write to Done can be found at writetodone.com and the book is currently free at that website. The essay that has really hit home for me is by Larry Brooks, as he talks about the sacrifices James Patterson made to get to where he is today in his writing career. He never settled, he didn’t quit.
How dedicated am I to this career path? If ‘no’ really means ‘try again’, then it’s important to remember that when I receive a rejection slip, or someone writes a doubtful review about my novel. Sometimes it’s hard to keep that in mind. If I get a few negative messages in a row, I start to wonder why I’m wasting my time. But show me an author who hasn’t received that kind of feedback and I’ll show you a writer who quit. Nearly everyone who has succeeded at writing has had to face rejections, questions about their work, requests to revise, revamp, rewrite, toss it and try something else.
An interesting book is Open, by Andre Agassi. It is fascinating in that he lived his whole life to play tennis, and hated it. His father and then trainer pushed him to work until he began to succeed. Yet he didn’t do it for the love of the game. He trained, worked, sweat because he felt pushed to do it. But it was the sweat and tears, the repetition and training that brought him where he ended up – at the top of the world of tennis.
No one is pushing me. No one says I have to write, to rewrite, to edit, to produce words. And yet I do. There’s no reason to think I can get there any faster than the person who had to practice and train for endless hours to be an athlete, to finish a masters degree in physics, to start their own company from scratch. Just keep working, keep writing, keep pushing. You can do it too.