Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Must Have Perseverance

We face many roadblocks to our writing life. In the face of rejection and opposition do you have the courage and characteristic to continue? It’s another one of the key characteristics of bestselling authors. Yesterday I wrote about persistence or the characteristic of consistently pursuing a goal or course for your writing. Perseverance is slightly different but equally important for success.

As I’ve talked with a number of bestselling authors over the years, I can easily think of incidents which could have knocked them for a major loop. They could have quit and disappeared from the marketplace—yet they don’t do it. Instead they persevere through the discouragement and the rejection.

Recently I reviewed Bill Butterworth’s book, New Life after divorce. It will give you one example of perseverance and you can apply it to family illness and other situations that you may face.  It was probably fifteen or twenty years ago I listened to Bill as a keynote conference speaker. On the staff with a major ministry and married with five children, Bill built his work career around a marriage and family ministry. One of his bestselling books was called Peanut Butter Families Stick Together. He told funny, entertaining yet pointed stories. Then he faced divorce and suddenly disappeared for a while off the speaking circuit. This new book chronicles his journey through the pain of divorce yet as the subtitle says, the book provides “the promise of hope beyond the pain.”

Your pain may be completely different but do you have this characteristic of perseverance to reach the next stage with your writing life? I faced my own crisis in this area years ago. Yet my writing life has continued in spite of it.

Or look at the perseverance in the story of Andy Andrews, author of The Traveler’s Gift. A popular speaker, Andy wrote a manuscript which he tried to get published. It was rejected 54 times. How many of us send out our material to this degree? He continued in his popular speaking work but did not have a book for his audience. One day Gayle Hyatt was in Andy Andrews’ audience. She came up to him afterwards and suggested that he write a book.

Looking a bit sheepish, Andy told Gayle, “Your husband’s company (Thomas Nelson) has already rejected my book.” Gayle asked to receive a copy of the manuscript and promised to read it. Andy sent her the book. She showed it to her husband (Mike Hyatt, president of Thomas Nelson) and the book was published.

Note the perseverance in what happened next. When Andy got his new book, he gave away 12,000 copies of the book. Most of those review copies didn’t make much of a difference. But one of those copies got in the hands of Robin Roberts, a producer of ABC’s Good Morning America. Roberts selected The Traveler’s Gift as their Book of the Month. The Traveler’s Gift sold 850,000 copies and the rest is history.

The writing life isn’t easy for any of us. Perseverance is a key characteristic of the writers who ultimately find success.


2 Comment:

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Daniel A. Scurek Left a note...

Perseverance must be key. Still, I don't know when it's time to call it a day. I've been writing plays for 23 years. Finally, two scripts of mine received staged readings in 1994 and one was a finalist in a contest and received a full production. And that's been it. Nothing since.

Even the theatres that showcased my work in 1994 won't acknowledge me now. I don't know why. There's no sense of malice and things went well back then, there's just no interest. From everyplace, I usually only get form rejection slips.

Now I prepare manuscripts to send out with tears in my eyes and my throat tight with emotion and I don't know why I keep doing this.

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Michele Cushatt Left a note...

Wow ... what a post. As the director of a local writers group, and as a writer myself, I've learned there is never a shortage of reasons for writers to give up. It's pure agony at times.

Thank you for revealing the back-stories we often miss, and for the wealth of encouragement to persevere.


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