Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.—Calvin Coolidge
My lovely writers, your writing is a living, pulsing practice. It is built of many strands of energy, time, opportunities, themes, experiences and influences. Nothing that you have done thus far, even if your writing life has not yet flowered into bloom as you hope, has been wasted. Everything you do, from submitting stories to magazines to joining a critique group, to buying a subscription to a writing magazine is a seed you’re planting. And all you need to do to water the soil of those seeds is to keep writing, polish your work, and seek opportunities.
In other words:
Practice: Make your writing life into an ongoing, deep writing practice, fed by your values and love of the craft, which can survive the test of time, discouragement and change.
Polish: Always strive to polish your work and your writing practice, learn new things, shine your writing, and feed both your muse and your craft.
Persist: What will set you apart is your persistence. In order to do this, writers need to create a writing practice based on a sense of purpose and meaning.
Your writing should feed you as well as speak to an audience. The time you spend writing is your gift to yourself. The time you spend polishing is your gift to your readers.
Whether you seek to publish your own work, or be published by a traditional publisher…whether you write high literary works or fun escapist genre work…your writing relies on you continuing to show up.
Even when you are discouraged.
Even when you fear you’ve lost “the spark.”
Even when you receive criticism or rejection.
Find in yourself the deep well of authenticity that makes your writing yours and tend to it in as many ways as you can think of.
Your writing is a part of you. Love you. Give back to you.