We don’t talk about them. The ones we’ve left behind, the people who quit. Like the family heirlooms left beside the Oregon Trail by pioneers who had too many hopes and not enough reality.
Many potential writers have fallen by the wayside when confronted by the realities. Completion of the manuscript isn't the end of work or the beginning of success. Success doesn't happen until we clench our jaw, bend into the wind, and face the facts.
People take to paper and pen, keyboard and computer, and complete a manuscript. Maybe the story has been festering, growing in their brains since grade school. The written word. Theirs. All their own. But now what? What do they do now that they’ve written the book that’ll put their name on the New York Times bestseller list and a seat beside Oprah?
Now they begin the stages of Quit Now or Gird Your Loins.
The process is familiar, the hope and rejections. Rejections of grammar, of style, words, characters. Ad nauseam.
The next stage is Denial, followed closely by its boon companion, Raging. When Justifying peeks in and Dejection elbows through the door, loads of people quit right there. Or commit the monumental error of vanity press, falling for their honeyed words, “…just another check and you’ll become a star.”
Those who go on meet up with Dejection also. But it's what happens afterwards is the key.
Believe in yourself. Reality is the whack of a baseball bat that most don’t survive. How you greet this somber, black-caped stranger ends with two different results. Either the door slams shut and life goes on. Or opens wide and Life Begins.
“Lightbulb!” – Gru, Despicable Me.
Education and knowledge clarifies the mistakes.
Encouragement from unknown acquaintances motivates us to continue. To improve.
Role models, helpers. In the fall of 2010, I met two bloggers who answered an essential requirement that I did not know I needed. Marcy, the quiet star that is about to explode into a supernova. And Charity, my pearl of great price.
Faith. Success is like running two miles. At first, it is exhilarating. Then something pinches and reality sets in. You think, “I can’t do this. Maybe I should stop. Rest. Give up.”
Everyone experiences the same feelings. The questions.
Is this too hard, can I do this, am I good enough?
The ones who snarl, gird their loins, and GROW are the ones who succeed. They call themselves Writer and I am proud to know them.