Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Writerly Virtues Part 3

The road to publication (to use a very tired cliche) isn't a sprint -- it's a grueling marathon.  For every endorphin high you briefly experience along the way, there will be miles and miles of discouragement.  If you're normal, you'll have recurring moments when you're tempted to call it quits.  The important thing is to make sure those moments don't turn into something more permanent.

How many times have you heard someone say "I tried to write a book once"?  Or how about "When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a writer!"  Somewhere along the path, there's a place where the pack thins out.  Somewhere farther ahead, more would-be writers will quietly drop out of the race.

This being said, one of the most vital virtues any writer can possess is the quality of perseverance.  Doors will be slammed in your face.  Some might even hit you squarely in the nose.  If you're a true writer, you'll pick yourself up, wipe off the blood, and start writing again.

It helps if you're stubborn.  Every writer should mix a little mule DNA in with the rest of his genes.  Creativity alone isn't enough to keep you in the race.

Did I say it's a marathon?  Think of how long it takes to write a manuscript.  Add a few months away from it to give yourself creative distance.  After four months away from one of my projects, I've started some polishing and "minor" revisions.  I've now spent approximately thirty hours on thirty pages.  I still have 280 pages left to go.

Perseverance is what really tired, really determined authors eat at the end of a long day.