I’ve found over the years that my writing life has ups and downs. Specifically, there are times when I feel like I can climb the literary Everest without one of those sherpa guides, and others I feel like I need to trash-can the whole idea of being a writer.
Today, my writer friend Tom reminded me of a time not so long ago, maybe eightteen months or so, when I was dejected and determined writing was a waste of time for me. He reminded me of this at a booksigning sponsored by the northwestern Pennwriters group, where I was surrounded by other writers and would-be writers, discussing my novel The Elf Queen and the sequel, due out next year, and sharing all our writing with each other.
Hmm. Guess that shows you never know what’s coming around the bend, right? As agent Irene Goodman says, “If you quit, you aren’t an author any longer, and that’s the end.”
Or as Nancy Panuccio says:
There’s a misconception that, in order to be brilliant at something, you need to be blessed with innate remarkable talent. Not so, according to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success. Gladwell, who studied the most successful musicians, composers, artists and athletes in history, reports that the difference between success and non-success, between genius and mediocrity is 10,000 hours. That’s right. Anyone from Jimi Hendrix to Bill Gates to Hemingway who has succeeded has done so on the back of at least 10,000 hours.
Thank you to Tom, Jean, Eric, Jeff, Carm, Ed, Paul and all of you who reassured me that I was on the right track after all, and encouraged me to keep going. Shame on those who felt it was more useful to tear down my work. I’ve got to approach this more philosophically. All the time I’ve put in, writing novels, over the last forty years? Apparently I’ve paid those dues. Now to start on the next 10,000. Back to the word processor!!