Apropos of a previous post, I want to relate little anecdote about persistence.
Persistence is a vital trait to have in this life, but especially so in writing. It is a rare day when you sit down to write and the words flow like rushing water. More often than not, you labor over your sentences, trying to organize the tumble of thoughts in your head into a coherent piece that someone will read and understand. The ability–or bloody-mindedness–to keep at it when the words won’t come, is imperative in order to write. I’ll take it one step further: the ability to start is just as important.
I never met so many aspiring writers as when I started writing my first novel. Now that it’s out on the market, I seem to meet more and more of them. The conversation usually goes something like this:
Aspiring Writer: “So you wrote a novel huh?”
AW: “What made you write it?”
Me: “Oh, lots of reasons…”(This is followed by a recitation of what led me to write the book.)
AW: (wistfully) “You know, I always wanted to write a book…” (This is followed by a recitation of the things they’d like to write about.)
Me: “Then I think you should write your book!”
The point is, that the only thing keeping you from writing is your desire to start and your ability to see it through. Every new, worthwhile endeavor in life requires stepping out in faith, and then following through, no matter how hard or futile the thing seems to be.
I have a friend who rides horses. Show-jumping over fences in fact. She told me that the first thing you learn when you begin going over fences, is that you must go, “Over, under, or through. Never around. Never refuse.” Fitting a horse under a fence would be difficult, but still, it’s a clever, somewhat tongue-in-cheek way of saying that you must not give up. The outcome might leave you with bruises, but you’ll learn from that if you keep trying.