The one trait every writer must Possess.

I'm sure every writer who has ever put pen to paper has experienced the following situation.

You've researched your target market thoroughly, reading past issues to see what types of work they have been publishing, scouring writers forums for feedback from writers rejected by your target market. You don't want to make any of the mistakes they have.

You develop your idea, a nugget that recently presented itself to you from that unknowable region within the writers mind where all ideas are born. You've slaved over the story, slanting it to fit within your target market. Writing and rewriting, editing and re-editing, polishing until the words flow with an eloquence that startles even you.

Your cover letter is a masterpiece of brevity, direct and to the point, wasting nary a syllable, nor a moment of your target editor's time. You're confident the piece will be accepted, after all you've covered all the bases so you turn your attention to other tasks, focus on other works while in the back of your mind you're patiently waiting for that acceptance email.

Time passes, anywhere from three weeks to a year has gone by since you submitted your work to that target market. The email has arrived, you recognize the subject as the one you wrote for the original submission and you hesitate for a moment before opening the email. For a brief second you think to yourself that it has to be a rejection, after all that's been the story of your life lately.

You open the email, secretly hoping it's time for a celebration while at the same time dreading the discovery of the words that will mar the start of a new day.

"Thank you for your story submission. Unfortunately we will not be able to use it. Good luck in the future."


The stages of grief ensue.

SHOCK, "you gotta be kidding me, after all the work I put into this submission."

DENIAL, "it has to be a mistake, they just got my acceptance email mixed up with another writer's  rejection."

"This can't be right!"

ANGER "who do these people think they are? I'll show them."

Anger fuels desperation as you hit the lowest point of loneliness and isolation.

Most of us emerge from the other side with a renewed desire to push ourselves even harder if for no other reason than to show the editor who rejected us that it was they who made a mistake. We accept their decision and move on, forging ahead with an understanding that this is what the writing life is all about.

Those who do not, become trapped in that downward bubble of loneliness and isolation, eventually giving up on a dream that was really nothing more than a passing fancy.

How close had they come when they gave up?

That which drives us onward is a simple trait we know as persistence. An intangible thing that compels us to keep pushing on even in the face of seemingly impossible odds. It is persistence that pushes the writer through those upside down bubbles, the deep valleys that are as much a part of the writing life as the high peaks. The desire to succeed, coupled with a strong sense of persistence, is the driving force that pushes the writer to keep submitting, to keep putting it out there, no matter the reaction.

It is not a trait that can be taught to anyone. One does not learn how to be persistent in the classroom, though some advanced subjects in college require their students to arrive with a high degree of persistence. We learn how to be persistent through out our lives. If we want something important to us, and it is out of reach, we persist in attaining that goal. Be it a new job, good grades in school, or even that shiny new car you've been eying up.

Do you have the persistence to keep going in the face of impossible odds?

What was the worst thing that has ever happened in your writing life that you've managed to push past?

For me it was the loss of ten years of work when a hard drive crashed. One moment I had nearly a million words of work saved to my hard drive. The next moment it was all gone. Vanishing right before my eyes. All I had left were a few print outs.

No comments:

Post a Comment