Quote for the Week
Way back in 1947, in Christian Kleinknecht's book Poor Richard's Anthology of Thoughts on Success, Minnie Richard Smith wrote:
Diamonds are only chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs, you see.
Lately I've been hearing lots of rumblings of despair from both authors of book-length fiction and their freelance-writing compatriots. The general consensus is that the economy is in the toilet, publishing is in recession, and rejections from business clients and editors are descending on us like snowflakes in a Montana blizzard.
What's a poor writer to do?
1. Take some small comfort in the fact that this scenario is cyclical. There are always peaks and valleys in a writer's career. So, be forewarned.
2. Even if you get rejected, know that the time spent writing the book was not wasted. Your skills improved. You learned by doing. Sometimes you have to learn what doesn't work in order to narrow your focus onto what does work.
3. Books will still be published in a down economy. Businesses will still need writers to produce everything from Internet content to print ad copy to educational articles and more. All the things that needed to be written a year ago will still require writers.
4. Decide if a writing career is really what you want. If it is, then grow a very thick skin that withstands rejection and develop your persistence ethic.
What's a Persistence Ethic? It's the mental and emotional fortitude that allows you to persist in the face of rejection. It's what turns lumps of coal into diamonds. It's what keeps you writing and submitting over and over and over.
Ask any geologist how a sparkling diamond can come from an ugly black lump of coal. The answer is that massive pressure and an equally impressive amount of time is required to convert the coal to a diamond. Isn't that what a writing career is all about?
Pressure to create. Pressure to produce. Pressure to do it book after book or article after article. Pressure to promote. Pressure to work with difficult clients, agents, and editors.
Time spent learning the required skills. Time spent learning the business. Time spent submitting and getting rejected. Time spent waiting to hear good news. Time spent going through the process again and again.
If being a professional writer is what you want to be, then resolve to be a diamond by just doing your job.