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January, 2008

Roy Austin Towards Atman

The "P" Word
The common denominator
By  Lori Myers

Even as children we learn that with persistence we often get what we want.
I enjoy reading interviews with fellow writers, finding out when they began writing, how they unearthed their literary passion, and what it was like when they received their first acceptance. As writers ourselves, we can relate to their successes and failures because we're all members of a relatively small and select club.

While each writer has their unique story and niche, I unearthed my own special discovery upon reading those interviews. There was a common denominator mentioned in interview after interview, and one I connected with on a personal level. Whenever the writer was asked about the reason for his or her success or about what advice they could offer to fledgling writers, there was always one answer that cropped up. It wasn't "Well, I took a lot of writing classes" or "I attended every conference I could afford." Instead, it was the ever important "P" word. Persistence. Persistence. Persistence.

Writers live and breathe a career that is beset with rejection, much like many other creative professions where it is hard to get a foothold until you prove yourself and finally begin surging ahead. As writers, we all take baby steps at first, tentative, wobbling from side to side. Some decide to finally choose another path, take an easier, more certain route, one that won't create as much anguish. Others keep wobbling for awhile, maybe drop once or twice, but then pick themselves up, brush the dirt off, and try it all over again. We don't quit. We persist. Somehow, someway, that persisting attitude leads to good things, good news, and affirmation of our efforts. We don't know why it does. It just does. It's uncanny.

But maybe you're just starting out in the writing game. You love the creativity, the freedom of making up a plot or laying your emotions out there for everyone to read in a personal essay. You start sending out your "stuff" to editors, filled with self-assurance and excitement. You slap a stamp on that envelope, or hit "send" on an e-mail, knowing the news will be good. You're surprised when it isn't. Some writers quit. Others don't. They persist.

Those writers find ways to not allow that "Thanks, but no thanks" form letter to ruin their lives. Instead of moping or getting mad at the dog, they read between the lines. Can I somehow improve this story? Is it missing something? Do I need a stronger lead in my query letter? Is it actually fine the way it is and I just need to find that one publisher?
Ask those questions . . . and then get to work. Have a list of additional markets ready if those rejection letters are delivered to your door. As soon as you receive one, send your story or query out that same day to the next one on the list. While you have that one going, gather other ideas or compose more prose and send those out, too. Have a lot of your work floating around out there to different publishers and markets. This way your expectations will stay positive. In the meantime, take those rejection letters, fold them into paper airplanes, and fling them through the air. That's always a lot of fun!

But don't stop writing. Keep perfecting your craft. Stay active in the writing game. Join a writers group. Attend a conference or two. Take a workshop. Connect with other writers who are traveling the same gravel path. Don't make rejection the center of your universe because that isn't what your universe is about. You're a writer. Now write!

Benjamin Disraeli, a statesman and novelist, is quoted as saying "Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure." I think that says it all. Persist with your writing Passion. Persist. Persist. Persist.

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Lori Myers is an award-winning freelance writer and co-founder of the Central Pennsylvania Writers' Consortium whose articles, essays, and fiction have appeared in over 40 national and regional publications. One of her articles is part of the archives at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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