Tag Archives: creative writer

How to Persevere as a Writer

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”

One of the biggest challenges I’ve noticed over the years with my students is persistence. Simply sticking with the process. Life happens and grand excuses arise. They feel so real and insurmountable. A death in the family, a divorce, a major move, an illness, a flood, fire, or earthquake— all terrific things to write about and great material for your practice, especially in the specific moments of their happening. Not easy I know, especially if you are feeling weak and overwhelmed.

However, I promise you this— when you muster up the energy to write into and through these difficult life experiences, not only will you gain insight and healing, but you will become a better writer, merely by the fact of your persistence. The truth is, most people give up. They bail. But you won’t. You will write through to the other side.

How to persevere in the face of doubt and confusion

Make this your mantra: “I will not agree to be defeated.” You need to make an agreement with yourself and face the monsters of negative self-talk, fear, and rejection. The first step is to face these things head on- cry, tear up your paper, scream at your screen- and get it out of your system. And then you can move on.

Be severe in your approach

Notice how the word “severe” is in perseverance? You need to be severe in your approach and how you deal with doubt, fear, and rejection. No matter the obstacles in your way, you need to write anyway, even if it is simply for the sake of creativity.

Staying motivated

To persevere, fall in love with the process. Writing isn’t always a glamorous profession. All of the edits, re-writes, book proposals, and rejection letters take their toll. Which is why you need to fall in love with all of it and see the whole process as part of your creativity. Stay committed to the writing practice and foster a belief in yourself and in your work, and you will persevere.

I can tell you so much more about perseverance and the role it plays in the writing practice. It’s one of the ten key success principles I examine in my online writing course. If you’re curious about the course and taking your writing from inspiration to publication click here to find out more.

I also have a free mini training course called Foundations for Writers. In this free online writing course, I examine three of the ten key success principles for writers: Purpose, Passion, and Practice.

A Poem for Cheryl Strayed

As host of the recent “Writing, Truth, and Community” event featuring best selling author and creative writer Cheryl Strayed, I was blessed with the task of introducing Cheryl, who has by now, been introduced in so many fabulous and interesting ways by so many fabulous and interesting luminaries, that I was wondering what little old me could possibly add to the mix? So in my poet-like bewilderment and terror, I couldn’t think of what else to do except what I always do with such surges of emotion. Write a poem! She was so genuinely touched, that she mentioned how when she met Robert Redford, though he kissed her four times, he did NOT write her a poem. My life is now complete, I can die a happy fulfilled man!! The poem is copied below. Enjoy!

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Cheryl Strayed (after Wallace Stevens)

I

Among twenty snowy mountains
The only thing moving
Was the eye of a woman with a blue backpack
Called “monster”

II

She was of three minds
Like a tree with three branches
Of grief, of hope, of love

III

The woman whirled in the summer winds
A tiny speck of brilliance in the setting sun

IV

A woman and a mountain are one. A woman
And a mountain, and a grieving heart are one

V

I don’t know which to prefer, the beauty
of subtle thought, or the beauty of mountain dreams—
the woman weeping, or just after

VI

Charcoal clouds drifted across the tops of the sugar pines,
oh dear future sugar. . .the mountains frowned
her solitude thickening, the trail steepened

VII

Oh good people of the city
why do you imagine only golden words?
Do you not see how the blackbirds
nest in her trees, as in yours?

VIII

I know of noble songs, of grand ideas,
I know the woman with the blue backpack
is involved in what I know

IX

When the woman took flight
as now a bluebird might, it marked the beginning
of many endings

X

The sight of the woman
in the blue backpack with her heart full of
birds, full of words,
would make the mountains cry out
in understanding

XI

She walked the spine of California
on winged feet made of glass
on hammered feet of blood and pulp
the mystery and beauty eclipsing the fear
of an unknown. . .the pain of surrender

XII

The river is flowing
the woman must jump in

XIII

It was daytime all night long
from then on, the blackbirds in the night tree were
singing for her, a song abloom with the clarity of love