The first thing to know about writers is that they don’t give up.
Lots of people think that being a writer is easy. I mean, how hard can it be to sit around all day and write stories? Well, it turns out, pretty darn hard. Stories don’t come together by magic. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work to get a story just right. J.K. Rowling knew she had a great story idea when she sat down to write that first Harry Potter book. But that doesn’t mean getting it down on paper was a breeze. Nope. She wrote the first chapter ten times. Yes, that’s right. Ten Times! And Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, the author of the New York Times bestseller, Book Scavenger, spent ten years rewriting, and rewriting, and rewriting her manuscript before she thought it was ready to sell. In order to succeed, writers need to have the ability to keep writing, keep trying, keep working without giving up. Just think, spending ten years writing something without knowing if anyone else will ever read it. Wow! That takes a lot of dedication.
Another thing to know about writers is that they are tough.
Grit and resiliance are necessary and important traits when you play football, right? And when you climb mountains, learn how to snowboard or how to do a new trick on your skateboard. But guess what? They are also important traits when you are writing a story. Yes, you heard it. While writing!
A writer might not take the physical punishment of getting tackled by a three-hundred-pound lineman, or hitting the cement repeatedly when practicing a new skateboarding trick. But trust me, getting your 27th rejection on a story that you just spent years perfecting ain’t no cake walk. Dr. Seuss’s first book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street was rejected by 27 publishers. They said it was too different and kids wouldn’t like it. Luckily for us, Dr. Seuss took the hits and kept on going.
Authors have to believe in themselves.
After a story or writing project gets rejected, authors have to decide whether to keep sending it out or put it away on the shelf. To do this they not only have to be determined but they have to trust themselves and their talent. Back to Dr. Seuss. After having so many publishers tell him that his work wouldn’t sell, it would be easy to understand if he set his work aside. But he didn’t. He believed in his vision. He believed in his story. He trusted himself and his idea and he kept on going.
Dr. Seuss said that “It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” When you have a great idea for a story, or an article or a poem and you get frustrated because it isn’t coming together the way you want, remember, it takes time, and work, toughness and self-confidence to stick with that great idea until it becomes as great as you imagined it in the first place. The road might be long, but if you stick with it, you will get there eventually.