I'm making a pretty bold statement with my blog post title, but in all my years as a writer, teaching writers, and having friends as writers, I truly believe the most important thing a writer needs is...
It's so obvious to me this morning that before I wrote this post, I decided to do a quick search of the Muffin to see if I had ever dedicated a post to it before. (Another thing about writers--we easily forget what we write!) I hadn't dedicated an entire blog post to it! What sparked this idea of perseverance was a couple of things that happened over the past couple of weeks.
One of my critique group members was recently talking about how she's just not sure she has what it takes emotionally to make it as a writer. She is trying to add to the family funds with her career, and what she is finding out is that it's extremely difficult. And...she has had success! She is a published writer! She is also a mom and a wife, and doesn't love the isolation of the writing career. These feelings are really weighing on her, and it's not that she doesn't have talent or that she doesn't work hard. She works hard every day of her life. It's the perseverance thing--she's not sure if persevering through this rocky road is worth it to her emotionally. I'm sure many of us can relate.
Then I edited an upcoming article for WOW! (which you all will love). It's a very inspirational piece about freelancing and trying to get article ideas accepted by editors. It's not easy! The author wrote a sidebar about one idea she had that took two years and eight to ten queries before it landed in the perfect spot. If she hadn't persevered, the idea would have never seen readers. But here's something else she had: belief.
So is that the second most important thing you need as a writer? Belief?
Needing perseverance and belief is not to say that you don't need talent; but even then, you can improve your talent. Perseverance and belief help you do both--if you want to keep going and you want to get better, you will seek out classes and conferences, critique groups and writing books, and you will improve your craft. I see my novel writing students persevere every month, and those who take the class for a couple months improve their writing even in that short time.
I've had my struggles with perseverance, which I have not been quiet about; but without it, I would not be writing this post to you today. I would have given up a year ago or maybe earlier, when the words weren't coming easy and when time and emotions were not on my side. But I didn't want to give up. I wanted to believe that some day, if I just kept active and wrote a little, I would be on the other side. And here we are.
What do you think is the most important thing a writer needs?
teaches a novel course for WOW! each month, which includes 4 critiques of your work-in-progress. To check out more about her, go to http://www.margoldill.com. To check out her next class starting February 2, go to the WOW! classroom.
Perseverance photo above by Evil Paul on Flickr.com