PASSION: I feel like sometimes people throw this word around on a whim; a romantic or melodramatic whim. Sometimes I cringe when I hear it. But passion doesn’t just refer to over-the-top desire or emotion; also to interest, affection, enthusiasm. And this is where passion molds with writing. It’s what drives this dream of ours; to express ourselves, to put our thoughts out there for others to absorb, to understand how our words can so clearly, poignantly touch another.
DISCIPLINE: Probably one of the hardest yet most integral parts of a writer’s life, for it doesn’t take just thinking. Or plotting. Imagining. It’s the wherewithal to sit down and do. You have to stop the niggling voices (sometimes internal, when they tell you you’re no good… sometimes external, when your physical space is shared), find that zone, sometimes fight through the wall of a blank mind and a blank page. It takes a firm inner voice, one that tells you you’re going to do it, no matter the effort or cost.
PATIENCE: Success as a writer doesn’t come all at once. I could liken it to golf: Tiger wants a record-breaking score. He wants the trophy. But he has take the course one hole at a time, and each goes best if he’s calm and focused. Likewise with writers. It takes steps, many of them, approached with a patient mind and patient heart. And there may be obstacles, hazards, loose impediments along the way, but patience will make our progress smoother.
POSITIVE OUTLOOK: We all get discouraged. I hope I’m not the only writer who wavers between confidence and uncertainty. But even when we question ourselves and our goals, when we see how another writer has found success and wonder where we’ve gone wrong, we must look at the bigger picture. It takes an understanding that every writer is different. We all have different talents within this literary world, and there’s a niche for them all. In addition, no two writers’ plans are the same. We have to believe our time is out there, and that each step we take – individual to our schedules, preferences, resumes, styles - takes us closer to our plan. It’s focusing on that, not where others can be found, or how others (like agents) have thus far perceived us, that gets us through.
CONFIDENCE: Confidence is one of the biggest elements pushing us forward. It’s believing in ourselves and our talents, even when doubt tries to break through. It takes faith in what we’re trying to write and how we’re writing it, because one who doesn’t believe in himself and his words doesn’t stand a chance of making himself and his words believable to his reader.
PERSEVERANCE: We cannot give up. If all these things – passion, discipline, patience, positive outlook, and confidence – have lined up within us, we have no choice but to proceed with perseverance. Throwing the towel in does not grasp us our dream. Fruition never comes if we don’t keep pushing and seeking. We cannot give up.
Can you think of anything to add to my list?
I'll be leaving town this afternoon, with plans to attend a Lit Fest tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it! I'll report back when I return.
Have a great weekend!