Writing Requires Perseverance

Author:
Publish date:

Beyond the obvious need for a writer to have talent and a fruitful imagination, he must also have perseverance to become a published author. Occasionally, a writer's first novel is extraordinary, or he writes a masterful proposal, and his book lands on the fast-track to getting published. But most first attempts fail to find a space on bookstore shelves. The failure to sell one's first novel will end up discouraging some writers, causing them to imagine they don't have the talent needed to get their books published. After investing so much time and emotional energy into writing a book, it can be disheartening when a multitude of agents, let alone publishing houses, reject your work.

J-Dalton-Jennings-author-writer
Solomon's-Arrow-book-cover

Column by J. Dalton Jennings, author of SOLOMON'S ARROW
(July 2015, Talos). Jennings is a 58 year-old retired graphic artist, who
resides in North Little Rock, Arkansas. He is divorced, with two wonderful
daughters and two feisty granddaughters. In addition to earning an
Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from the University of Arkansas
at Little Rock (UALR), he is a certified Psychological Counselor. He
also served for six years as an Avionics Technician in the
Arkansas Air National Guard.

But don't throw in the towel; a true writer will not let a literary stumble deter him from reaching his goal. A true writer writes, he writes some more, and then he writes even more, which indicates he has confidence that the next project he undertakes will be a success.

(What makes an agent more likely to sign one client vs. another?)

Many published authors have had their first novels rejected. I can attest to this fact, because it happened to me, not once but twice before my first novel was published. In 2008, when I began writing in earnest, the first book I tackled was non-fiction. I had planned on writing it for many years before I sat in front of my computer and began the creative process. The subject matter was important to me and I poured my heart into that book. Unfortunately, it never sold, though my agent, Jeff Schmidt with NY Creative Management, keeps trying.

My next book was a novel, an epic that I knew would sell. Even though it was good enough to get me an agent—who said he loved, loved, loved my book—it too has yet to be bought. Did that discourage me? Not at all. One week after finishing the final draft of my first novel, I went back to the creative well to write my next novel, SOLOMON'S ARROW.

Approximately one month after my agent began the process of submitting my first novel to publishers, I completed the manuscript for SOLOMON'S ARROW and send it to his inbox. Two weeks later, I was checking my emails at the local library (I didn't have an online computer at the time), when I opened an email from Jeff that contained such terrific news I nearly jumped out of my chair and did a happy dance. He had sold my second novel, SOLOMON'S ARROW!

Image placeholder title

Are you a subscriber to Writer's Digest magazine
yet? If not, get a discounted one-year sub here.

When a writer gets this news, it's like Christmas and one's twenty-first birthday and a couple of other holidays all rolled together with a cherry on top. As one might expect, the email put a smile on my face that has not yet disappeared. However, the joy I felt in that moment might never have been realized had I given up on my dream when my first book was rejected. This is the main reason why a writer must have perseverance.

Writing is not easy, it is an emotionally grueling occupation that takes a toll on the writer. There have been many times when I anguished over the fate of my characters or racked my brain to resolve a plot problem. George Orwell wrote, “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” It has also been said that a writer must open an emotional vein and bleed on the page. This is the price a writer must pay if he wants his readers to experience the truth in the stories he crafts. In a very real sense, those descriptions of the writing process are accurate.

(Agents define their "ideal client" -- hear what they have to say.)

Writing can be torturous, but it can also be fulfilling—and at times glorious. When that time comes, and it will come if you keep working at it, the reward of seeing your book in print is like no other. And from that moment forward, you can call yourself a published author . . . but only if you have perseverance.

------------------

Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers' Conferences:

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 3.39.23 PM

Your new complete and updated instructional guide
to finding an agent is finally here: The 2015 book
GET A LITERARY AGENT shares advice from more 
than 110 literary agents who share advice on querying, 
craft, the submission process, researching agents, and
much more. Filled with all the advice you'll ever need to
find an agent, this resource makes a great partner book to
the agent database, Guide to Literary Agents.

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Cleland_1:17

Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!

20_most_popular_writing_posts_of_2020_robert_lee_brewer

20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.

Malden_1:16

Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.

writing_mistakes_writers_make_talking_about_the_work_in_progress_robert_lee_brewer

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.

Kelly_1:15

Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.

capital_vs_capitol_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Dulan_1:14

On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.