I’ve been a freelancer for 37 years. Along the way, I’ve learned many things, including the value of persistence. Personally, I think persistence is important as talent. Without persistence, a manuscript is never started. Without persistence, a manuscript cannot be revised. Without persistence, the right publisher for the manuscript is never found. Without persistence, books are unsold.
Writers have many challenges–rejects, lost paragraphs and pages, and in some instances, cranky editors. Yet authors have to keep at it and we do. Sure, I’ve had times when I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. Instead, I chose to believe in myself and my work. Looking back, I think I learned persistence from my father. If something didn’t work he tried again. If that didn’t work he tried again, until he found a solution.
Persistence doesn’t happen over night; it develops slowly and with life experience. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines persistence as “the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult.” With persistence, the dream of holding a book in my hand becomes a reality. What are the pluses of persistence?
Persistence makes us focus on goals. We realize that we won’t reach a goal unless we keep working at it. The path may be winding, and detours distract us, but we keep trying to move forward.
Persistence leads to new ideas. I just sent a manuscript to the publishing company owner. She read it and said I would receive a book contract if I followed her recommendations. When I saw the two-page list I groaned. After I revised the manuscript I realized her ideas made the book better.
Persistence connects us with publishing experts. Working with the owner of the publishing company has been an ongoing college course. She is a marketing whiz and thoughtful mentor–two things I appreciate. Without her expertise I wouldn’t survive the changes in the publishing industry.
Persistence gives us the energy to try again. Revisions are hard, yet once we get into a project, we have renewed interest in it. Truth be told, I enjoyed revising my manuscript and realized my groans were unnecessary. My publisher and I have the same goal–a quality product.
Persistence leads us to new projects and people. I give talks and workshops related to the books I write. These experiences have connected me with people I wouldn’t ordinarily meet and led to new book ideas. After giving a recent talk, and audience member declared, “That’s your next book!” She may be right.
I’m a grandmother and, despite decades of living, am still working on persistence. In 2007 my husband’s aorta dissected and he had three emergency operations. During the last one he suffered a spinal stroke that paralyzed his legs. At that moment I became his caregiver. So now I have two occupations, family caregiver and freelance writer.
Some friends told me I would have to give up writing to be a caregiver. Why would I stop doing what I love? Persistence has helped me face new challenges and write new books. I’m grateful for the persistence I learned from my father. Hard as writing can be, I am glad to have joyful work and continue to work on persistence.
Harriet Hodgson is the author of thousands of articles and 35 books. Her latest releases are Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss, The Family Caregiver’s Guide, and Affirmations for Family Caregivers. Please visit her website and learn more about this busy author, grandmother, and caregiver.