Thursday, October 7, 2010

Perseverance is key

On my author blog this month, I'm asking authors how they achieved their dream of being published. Everyone so far has said some form of "perseverance." And I'm guessing if we polled 100 authors, they'd say the same thing.

People who get published are the ones who want it bad enough to stick with it.

Who want it bad enough to open themselves up to criticism because they know they won't improve without it.

Or to sink a grand or more into attending a quality writer's conference.

Or to turn down party invitations, turn off the TV, or get up early so they can write.

There's nothing wrong with not "wanting it enough" while you're still in high school or college. (Really, there's nothing wrong if you never "want it enough," but that's another topic for another time.) As cliché as it is, you're only young once. I went through phases in high school - sometimes I wanted to be published so bad I didn't mind giving up time with friends or the Gilmore girls, but other times I did. Other times writing felt like the last thing I wanted to do. That's okay.

A few of you have come to me and said some variation of, "Wow, it took you 4 years to get Me, Just Different published? I don't know if I have that kind of patience."

But you can have it. And if you want to be an author bad enough, you'll find it.

Many of those who are published didn't get that way by being extra talented, having loads of free time, or leaning on special connections with agents and editors. And they didn't have crowds of people standing around them cheering every time they chose to write. No. They became authors by putting their butt in the chair and writing day after day.

Which is what I'm going to go do now because I would like to stay published. Keep at it, my friends.


  1. Only four years . . . sigh. Another key to perseverance is diversity-to-an-extent (which I know you've covered in other places). Running into dead ends when pursuing publication on one manuscript? Start another. Try something a little different. Learn, and use the lessons in a new project. Then try submitting THAT one. Keep going until you find what clicks with an agent or editor. You never know which project it will be!

  2. I read a quote from Kristin Billerbeck where she talks about the importance of "blooming where we're planted." Basically she's saying, it might not be the book/genre/etc. you always dreamed of writing, but if it's the opportunity you're being presented with, you do your best to bloom.

    The balance of that and artistic integrity is a hard one to strike...

  3. Hm... well I've got loads of free time, and that bothers me a little. I'm only in 9th grade and I find myself sitting on my computer all day long looking at pictures, listening to music, and being on facebook. And then writing...
    its almost sad because I don't really have those "friends" to say no too not going to hang out unfortunately. =/
    Does that sound really stupid or odd to you?
    I mean I love having time to write... but it just bothers me... =/
    It makes me feel weird when I'm writing about a friendship between two girls when I don't have that relationship of my own anymore... not past gmail, yahoo messenger, or facebook anyway.

    Good post though :) I definitely want to start sending to publishing houses real soon. As son as I can anyway.