Monday, 9 May 2016

The successful ones persist

Eighty percent of success is showing up. Woody Allen

The best way out is always through. Robert Frost

You go on. You set one foot in front of the other, and if a thin voice cries out, somewhere behind you, you pretend not to hear, and keep going.  –Geraldine Brooks


It's well known that J.K. Rowling was rejected by quite a few publishers who strangely thought Harry Potter wouldn't make money. It is less known that Anne of Green Gables, the Narnia books, Wind in the Willows, Watership Down, Little Women, and the Dr Seuss books were also rejected. Beatrix Potter got so discouraged about her books ever seeing the light that she self-published Peter Rabbit, in a time a lot less friendly to self-publishers than ours.

What is the lesson a writer can take away from this? Well, you have to write a good book to start with. But then, don't be too easily discouraged. Think about all the books your friends recommend that you don't like and vice versa. Agents and editors too. (Personally, I would have rejected the Twilight series and Fifty Shades of Grey­–and probably would have been fired.)

In fact, persistence is one of the crucial factors in success. Scientists in one study called it "grit." As children who were competing in spelling bees got more successful, they spent more time on the less enjoyable, but more productive, side of their practice. "Grit" correlated with success in the competitions.



An anecdote I heard once about a famous violinist illustrates this. After he had played a concert in a small city, a man approached him backstage. "Years ago, I played for you. Within a few bars, you stopped me and told me to give up the violin. I did, and I've had a happy life doing something different. But I wanted to know–how could you tell from those few bars that I should give up the violin?" 

"I couldn't tell," the violinist said. "I say that to everyone. The successful ones persist."





Julie Sullivan
@webwight

Got an idea for a feature? Send it to us!writers@britishscbwi.org

4 comments:

  1. Great post, I agree with it all! Success really does come from persisting through it all and doing what you love.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I couldn't agree more! For the lucky few it's a sprint, but for most of us it's a marathon and you need plenty of guts, stamina and downright bloodymindedness for that...

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  3. The writing essentials and other key guides would possibly allow students to proceed further with all those due considerable ideas. blog content writing services

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