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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?
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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