- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Commercial & Creative Writing
The Writers' Workshop: Do Not Give Up!
THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE
If you are a writer you will understand the words of Mr. Lombardi! Writing is not a job for the half-hearted. It is not a job for those with self-doubt, or a lack of determination. For every moment of triumph, for every moment when the words are perfectly aligned and the meaning is at its purest level, there are hundreds of moments when a writer appears to be trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.
Those are the moments, when it appears that I do not have a creative cell in my body, that I recall the words of my father. “Bill,” he said, “Just keep moving forward.”
Every year that I was teaching, usually during the first week of the new school year, I would ask my students what they wanted to do when they were all done with their schooling. The most common answer by far was to be a professional athlete. I would then ask them what they were going to do in preparation for that career. Those who wanted to play professional sports usually said they were going to play youth sports, then high school, then college, and then wait to be drafted. Simple as that!
I would diligently point out that less than one-tenth of one percent of athletes end up being good enough to play professionally, and then I would share Vince Lombardi’s quote with them.
A dream is just a dream, and we all have many of them, without dedication and determination. Then, and only then, does the dream have a chance of becoming reality.
MEET THE NEXT GREAT ROCK STARS
If you are familiar with my work at all then you are familiar with Bev, the love of my life. Two of Bev’s sons, Andrew and Matt, formed their own rock band about six years ago. Other members of the band come and go, but Andrew and Matt have been there from the beginning. Andrew has a full-time job; Matt is about to graduate from college and he also works a part-time job. Busy young men, and yet every week they have band practices, and every weekend their band can be found playing the local circuit of taverns, lounges, and other venues.
They make very little money, have achieved very little local fame, and yet every week the same scene unfolds as they load up their van and play with gusto for their loyal fans. Six years! I wonder how many hours have been expended in pursuit of their dreams?
Why do they do it? That question is easy to answer; they do it because they love music and they love performing, and this is the dream they have hitched their wagons to. They are willing to put in the time and work necessary in order to live their dreams. I greatly respect that, and them!
A LOOK TO THE PAST FOR ANSWERS
Harper Lee, the author of the American classic “To Kill A Mockingbird,” dropped out of law school in 1949 and moved to New York City to become a writer. She was 23 years old at the time. Six years later she found an agent. Six years later! She began writing “Mockingbird” in 1957, and finished it two-and-a-half years later. It is now considered one of the greatest novels ever written.
Ernest Hemingway began his career as a sports columnist in 1916. For a couple years he followed that career, and then enlisted to serve in World War I. After being seriously wounded he returned home, travelled to France, wrote 88 short stories over that period of time, and in 1923 he published his first book.
John Steinbeck, the brilliant author of “The Grapes of Wrath,” left Stanford University in 1925 after five years of study and no degree. He worked odd jobs across California, including working alongside migrant workers and as a warehouseman. Eventually he had to borrow money from his parents, but finally in 1929 he published his first book. Stardom and acclaim did not come to him, however, until 1939, with the publication of “Of Mice and Men,” followed the next year by “The Grapes of Wrath.” For fourteen years he worked in relative obscurity until he found acceptance in the literary world.
The title says it all....now...believe it!
- The Writing Workshop: Writers of the World, You Are Appreciated
Writing is an honorable profession, as is music and the arts. Be proud to be a writer;what you write will live on forever.
- The Writers' Workshop: You Can't Do That!
Do you struggle with SEO while you are writing? Are you confused about content vs views? This article takes a look at that struggle and offers some suggestions.
WHAT’S THE POINT YOU MAY ASK?
Oh, I think you know the point, now don’t you?
We live in a convenience society, and we live in an instant-gratification society. Unfortunately for writers, we also live in a society where book agents and publishers do not have the resources any longer to take on new writers. With the advent of ebooks, the hard-copy publishing industry is in trouble financially, and that means tightening their financial belts and only betting on established writers.
We all want it now! We want to be recognized, discovered, heaped with praise and riches, and now would be best because we live in a fast-food society and waiting is for, well, somebody else.
Look at the examples mentioned earlier. Steinbeck toiled in writers’ Limbo for fourteen years. Hemingway put pen to paper with hardly an outside notice for seven years. Harper Lee couldn’t find an agent for six years.
Still, they all kept writing, and they all kept perfecting their craft, and they all kept following their dreams.
The internet has opened up possibilities that were unforeseen by Steinbeck, Lee, and Hemingway. Sites like HubPages give writers a forum on which to practice their craft. Online opportunities for passive income abound, and everywhere you look there are stories of writers being discovered because of their online presence. Still, there are no guarantees, and if you are not determined this business will eat you up and spit you out.
I know writers on HubPages who are discouraged because their views are low, and to those writers I say…. who cares? Harper Lee had no views….zero….for six years, but she kept writing.
I know writers on HubPages who are discouraged because they still have not seen a paycheck for their efforts, and to those writers I say…. who cares? Steinbeck did not see a paycheck from his writings for four years, and then it was the sale of one short story. Still, he kept writing!
Have you felt like giving up on your writing in the past?
Let's chat about no regrets
Writing is hard work, or at least it should be. If you are easily discouraged you may want to pursue another line of employment. We all begin with a modest amount of talent and a plethora of aspirations. Then reality hits! There are millions of artists with modest talents. There are millions of musicians, sculptors and writes with modest talents. How do we rise above the human sea of modest talents?
Through hard work, passion, and determination, that’s how!
Whatever modest talents I may have are completely overshadowed by the amount of determination that I have. I will succeed at writing! What I do not know I will learn. What I am lacking I will gain. I was not put on this earth to be mediocre and I was not put on this earth to cower when I meet obstacles.
If I do not have the views that I want then I need to work harder. If I have not been noticed yet by those who can advance my career then I need to improve my writing skills. The burden of proof is on my shoulders, and if I expect someone to give me money for my work, then my work had better be worth the money.
There are few overnight success stories in the Arts. Most successful writers have worked long and hard for their success. The literary streets are littered with the bodies of those who gave up when the going got tough, but I refuse to be among those bodies and you should refuse it as well.
If you have a passion for writing then for God’s sake write! If you have a dream then for God’s sake chase it. Do not let the naysayers determine your future; do not let the lack of adoration determine your next step. Your next step should be obvious…..you move forward and write!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)