If there’s one thing I’ve learned about achievement it’s this: you have to keep going and persevere with what you are doing. More than anything else, perseverance will see you through to the end.
Perseverance is almost like a skill and it contains a few different elements that you should be aware off in order to make the most of it.
Writing And Perseverance
In general terms, perseverance is about not giving up. It’s about keeping going, day after day, until you get to where you want to be.
To do that successfully, you first have to form some positive habits, the first of which is self discipline.
Writing is a long game, like anything that is worth achieving. You are not going to find success as a writer overnight. As I mentioned in my article about mastery, you need to be prepared to put in five to ten years of consistent hard work before you can hope to see any real results from your efforts.
Of course it is possible that you may find some success in a shorter time period, but in general, success doesn’t kick in for real until you’ve dedicated yourself for a decade or more. That’s across the board, not just in writing.
You hear sometimes about this person or that person’s overnight success, but in most cases that “overnight success” was the result of many years of work before people sat up and took notice.
No one should expect to find success straight away, but many people do expect this to happen, either out of ignorance or naivety, or through sheer arrogance and the wrongful belief that a skill can be picked up and mastered so quickly.
Obviously, the more work you put into writing the quicker you will find success at it. It’s really up to you how much you want to dedicate yourself. For most people with average dedication, things will take a while to shape up.
For this reason, perseverance has to be cultivated. Part of that is also cultivating the self discipline to work at your craft every single day if possible.
If you can cultivate the habit of writing every day, staying the course will be a lot easier.
If you only write when you feel like it you will find it a lot harder to find the perseverance to keep going. Excuses will keep getting in the way, that’s how it goes.
The great thing about self discipline and cultivating the habit of writing every day is that it will soon become ingrained. You want to get to the point where you feel bad if you miss a writing session.
It is that sense of guilt and feeling bad that will motivate you to keep writing. I hate myself if I miss a day writing. I’ve cultivated the daily habit now and I have to do it, even if I only end up writing a hundred words. As long as I get something done.
The important thing is that I maintain the daily habit and that I keep chipping away at my goals and whatever project I’m working on. I know if I keep doing this I will eventually get to where I want to be.
At this point, I’m just shy of making a full time living at writing. The only way to surpass that is to keep writing and keep publishing. The only way to do that is to keep up with the daily habit of writing.
That’s perseverance in action, or part of it anyway. It’s often a slog, but the daily grind is worth it to me if I get better at the craft and keep improving as a writer, which will hopefully translate into better books and more sales.
Focus On The Process, Not The End Goal
You need to enjoy the process and not fixate too much on the end goal. That’s the other secret to perseverance.
If you learn to enjoy just sitting down to write, no matter how good or bad the resultant work is, you will go far.
If you can’t learn to enjoy the process you will eventually give up when things don’t go your way, or when things become boring, or when you don’t seem to be advancing much. Basically any excuse will do.
When you enjoy the process for what it is, such excuses don’t come into it. You just sit down and do it, no matter about the end result.
Faith And Trust In The Process
Trust in the creative process is another factor that will help strengthen your perseverance. I’ve discussed this before in another article that you might like to read.
You need to have faith that things will pan out for you. You have to believe that things will eventually go your way if you keep working hard and working smart.
You need that faith for the times when things don’t appear to be going your way and you feel like giving up.
I’ll be honest with you. Self-publishing these days is a lot harder than it used to be. Competition is much stiffer. It takes more work to gain traction as a writer these days.
If you don’t have that perseverance in place, you simply won’t succeed.
I have the first book in a new novel series out at the moment. Even before I wrote the book, I prepared myself for the fact that it probably wouldn’t sell a whole a lot, and it hasn’t. With novel series you have to think about the long game. In most cases, a series will not fly until the second or third book comes out, that’s just the way it is. More so for new authors without a fan base to help them.
How else could you could put in two years of work (or more, depending on the writer) and not expect to get any return until after the two years are up, when you have finally published three books? The only way to do that is to persevere, to have faith that things will work out and to cultivate the habit of writing daily to get the books done.
Lack of perseverance, lack of faith, lack of discipline…all these things will insure you give up well before the third book is published and probably even before the first book is finished.
If you want to have any chance of success as a writer, you have to work on cultivating all those things I just mentioned. Without them you don’t stand a chance.
It comes down to how much do you want it? How much does being a writer mean to you? What are you prepared to sacrifice in order to become one?
If You Wanna Succeed…
Make writing a part of your lifestyle, not just something you do when you feel like it. Cultivate your self discipline, form positive habits.
Get in the groove and stay there. If you fall out of the groove, fall back in again.
Don’t use the hard work involved or the challenges presented as an excuse to give up.
Do that and you will succeed.