By Tina Ann Forkner
There is nothing like getting published to make an author doubt themselves. For me, it was the moment after I signed the contract with my publisher up until—well, now. The point is, the doubts that most writers have never fully go away, even after publication, and it can stop a writer in her tracks. So what keeps a writer from giving up? The answer, unfortunately, is complex and many writers do give up.
Where does this knowledge that published authors still lose confidence leave you if you’re still unpublished? You probably aren’t inspired to hear that it only gets harder. Sure, I can tell you the steps that worked for me and how I’m having a great time at book signings, but less glamorous are the hours I’ve sat in front of my computer, the reviews that made me want to go back to doing things like flipping burgers, and about how I still get rejected even after getting published.
I realize this isn’t great news, but don’t put your pen down yet. There is something that you, and I, need in order to write better and be more prolific, but it’s not some sort of supreme wisdom reserved only for authors who top the bestseller lists. It’s perseverance. What does perseverance mean when it comes to writing?
Author Katrina Monroe said, “Writing is like giving yourself really hard homework, every day, for the rest of your life. You want glamorous? Throw glitter at the computer screen.” That’s the best definition of perseverance when it comes to writing that I’ve ever heard. Unfortunately perseverance has lots of enemies. It’s easier to pull weeds in your garden, clean the toilet, or better yet, read a book that someone else already wrote than to write your own book, but doing those things are the coward’s way out. (Feel free to share this point with your family when you need help with chores.)
This is the part of the article where I’m supposed to give you the secret to persevering, but it’s not that simple. I can’t make you sit down at your computer screen, put your fingers on the keyboard, and type without stopping for the next hour, every day, every week, every month for however long it takes you to finish your story. Only you can do that. The bad news is that it’s really hard to do. You know that and I know that, because we are writers. Nobody else is going to understand, therefore nobody else is going to make you do it. You have to do it all by yourself. The good news is, you have it in you to do it.
So do it. Write. And then keep going until you have a bunch of words that eventually, if you don’t give up and if you love them enough, will become a book.
The only secret to persevering as a writer, is to write. Start today, and then get up tomorrow and do it again.
Tina Ann Forkner is a substitute teacher who currently lives in Wyoming with her husband and three children. She loves to garden and spend time outdoors with her family, she is presently knitting a scarf, and has been active volunteering on her library foundation’s board of directors. Tina’s novels, Ruby Among Us and Rose House are published by Waterbrook/Random House.
Learn more at www.tinaannforkner.come
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