Casualties on the Apprentice’s Road

One of my favorite writing students–a brilliant artist, thinker and dang good writer–has dropped out of the race. This person has been working so hard for more than five years, on polishing up and submitting a novel. Unexpectedly, the writer has given up. I’m taking it kind of hard. I wish that writer would hang in there and cling to the three ps: Patience, Practice and Persistence.
Writing Tip for Today: The most successful writers aren’t necessarily the best writers, the smartest writers, the most original writers. The most successful writers are the persistent ones. The successful writer is one who hangs in there when all looks bleak, who resubmits in the face of searing rejections, who never believes he knows it all, who rewrites until she wants to throw the manuscript against a wall, who doggedly works on building a platform even though he hates the whole idea of self-marketing and promotion. I’ve heard that great writing will rise to the top. But in the long run, it isn’t usually the geniuses, those for whom writing comes easy or the original thinkers who are likely to become king or queen of the hill. The top-of-the-mountain prize usually goes to the writer who keeps climbing when the air is rarefied and other writers are plunging into oblivion. A Bible verse talks about “running the race that’s set before us with endurance.” Maybe it applies to writers too.
Try This! Are you discouraged?Is your writing progressing more slowly than you hoped? Most writers don’t support their families from writing income. Most writers take years to learn enough to publish.Take comfort, though. The race is not going to be won by the swiftest or the best writer. Hang in there and remember the three Ps: Patience, Practice, and PERSISTENCE are more likely to win than anything else.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

2 comments on “Casualties on the Apprentice’s Road

  1. I’m tempted to add another P to your list: Positive outlook.

    What writer hasn’t read back over their latest project and thought, “Oh! I’ve written tripe! Why, oh why, did I ever think I could do this?”

    Just knowing that most writers go through that chasm of confidence helps push us to the other side where we can grip something worth hanging onto and pull ourselves back up.

  2. OK Lynn, since 4 isn’t a good number for a list, how about adding Positive and Passionate? I love your thought that we must remain positive, not just for ourselves but for those on the road with us. And passion is a must, for the writer who isn’t passionate will find it harder to write well. Thanks, Lynn! ~Linda

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