Merriam Webster says persistence is the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.
Has this been difficult? Check. Have I been opposed by other people? Well, I’ve been glossed over or told “no” by countless agents out there. Does that count? Check.
Persistence on the write path goes like this:
- Take first writing class at local community college.
- Start writing book.
- Lose interest, find interest, keep writing book.
- Take more writing classes, attend writers’ conferences, keep writing book, then lose interest again.
- Explore the internet, buy and read books about the Mexican Revolution, watch multiple documentaries, talk with subject matter experts, consult parents re: family history, interview Hispanic Studies professionals at the University of Texas San Antonio.
- Seek input from writers’ group members. Revise book. Lose interest again. Throw up hands in disgust at ridiculously long process.
- Finish story. Think book is great. Hurrah!
- Read book again, decide it stinks, hang head in shame, revise book again.
- Celebrate book’s completion. Fancy dinner with husband. Champagne toast. Sigh of relief. Weight off shoulders.
- Send queries to agents. Dozens and dozens of agents.
- Re-read book after first few rejections. Revise book some more.
- Send to more agents. Wait for agents to respond. Nothing. Nada. Crickets.
- Worry the book sucks and revise again.
- Send to more agents. Some want manuscript. Hurray!
- Agents reject book.
There’s a saying that goes, “persistence pays off”. What’s the alternative? Give up? Fail? Slink off into the sunset with nothing to show for all my hard work? No way.
Last weekend, I sent my revised manuscript BACK to an agent who already told me “no”. She may ignore it, she might read it and say “no” again. But, she might say, “yes”!
I also sent my revised manuscript back to a Texas-based publisher who requested it in June. I’m betting if they read it, they’ll love it, and say “yes”!
If nothing else, they’ll know I’m no quitter!
“The rewrites are a struggle right now. Sometimes I wish writing a book could just be easy for me at last. But when I think about it practically, I am glad it’s a struggle. I am (as usual) attempting to write a book that’s too hard for me. I’m telling a story I’m not smart enough to tell. The risk of failure is huge. But I prefer it this way. I’m forced to learn, forced to smarten myself up, forced to wrestle. And if it works, then I’ll have written something that is better than I am.”
― Shannon Hale New York Times best-selling author of fifteen children’s and young adult novels