Friday, November 26, 2010

The Four Must Haves for every Writer

Patience, perseverance, enthusiasm and a firm determination to reach the goal are all necessary, not just for Writers,  but for success in any field. For writers patience is needed in abundance: actually  by daily truckloads that should be deposited at each writer’s feet, as from the time a story is conceived in our minds to the time the final manuscript is ready to journey out to  the doors of various publishing houses and editors, it can be anything from  few months to several years.

We require patience at every step of the way, from the rough, haphazard first drafts that don’t make much sense to others, to  several drafts  and rewrites  that  enhance our manuscripts, to the final edits where we chisel every extra word and polish and polish until the manuscript sparkles. 

Perseverance is what sees writers seek publishing year after year, when rejected manuscripts and stories keep piling up, when  we are unable to break the stranglehold of the slush pile. We know it deep down that its just a matter of time  before we write that break through story/novel  that will propel our manuscripts to the top of the pile and make people in position notice us.  
            
 We  just cannot sustain a writing life without enthusiasm for our stories, characters, and plots. Even when we would rather catch up with all our  other activities, enjoy the freedom that other  people have, we greet the errant muse with enthusiasm when he drops in unexpectedly  at the ungodly hour of 3.a.m, when the rest of the world is safely ensconced in their snug blankets. Better an untimely muse than no muse. Its enthusiasm that sees us switch on our laptops everyday to add more words to our ever growing story. Enthusiasm is something that keeps us going when  criticism piles up against our manuscripts: from the initial  beta readers to agents, from  editors and  critics to the readers. We know that writing is our passion and as long as there are some people who like what we have written, we will be enthusiastic enough to write more for them.


What finally sees us arrive safely at the top of the summit (read  bag a publishing contract) is a firm determination to reach the goal. Determination   is what I  consider inner strength, where we want to see our stories reach out to people and make  a difference in their lives.

 What really helps is visualizing our goals: seeing us holding our published books in our hands goes a long way into bringing our dreams closer to realization.

  Do these four traits constantly surround you? What else motivates you to keep typing when the rejection slips pile up and criticism walks towards us? Have these four traits deserted you at any time? What have you done then? How have you got them back?      

13 comments:

Seema Malik said...

A wonderfully inspiring post, Rachna. I agree with you that writers must have all these qualities in abundance.

Victoria Dixon said...

I'm willing to bet there's not a writer out there who hasn't experienced dips in these traits - moments when weariness or sorrow trumps determination. When patience is gone, enthusiasm has wilted (how many times have I loathed my first ms? For the first year or more - I hate my first drafts and envy those folks who claim they love theirs) my perseverance is based on stubborn habit more than anything else. Perhaps what makes us writers is not that we have these traits, but that we return to them again and again after each departure. Great post!

Cheryl Klarich said...

Rachna, you are such a wise one. Lovely and timely post!

Patti Lacy said...

So nice to meet you! I hope we can become bloggites. I just posted An Audience of One message on another blog and in two Mondays will grapple with the Publish or Perish question.

Hope you stop by to meet me sometime!
Blessings,
Patti
www.pattilacy.com/blog

Lynda Young said...

We definitely need all those qualities. When we start to lose them things begin to go awry. Sometimes we just have to take a step back, have a mini break and reassess and refresh

Dayana Stockdale said...

I definitely have those qualities and think that they are necessary for all writers. There are soooo many roadblocks, both external and internal, and we have to have those things to push past them. I think they all stem from a critical core--passion.

alexia said...

Awesome post! Patience and enthusiasm are the two that challenge me the most, but then perseverence and determination pull me up off the ground and fire up the other two again. I always say, writers are masochists - we're a group of really tough cookies.

SAMUEL PARK said...

Agree with you completely. Of those four skills, I'd say perseverance is the most useful (though enthusiasm comes a close second), and the one I think I have the most of. Thanks for sharing this post--inspirational and a good reminder that so much of writing is about one's spirit and attitude about it.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi friends, thanks for chiming in. I experience major dips in one of these traits sometimes. But somehow, the other three traits manage to pull me up. Its seldom that I am high on all the four traits. What keeps me going is lots of enthusiasm and a firm determination to reach the finish line. My patience and perseverance tends to slip.

Jai Joshi said...

Very true, Rachna.

A teenager asked me once, at a booksigning, what it took to be a writer. I told him discipline and passion. Without discipline we can't train ourselves to persevere and be patient. And without passion we can't be enthusiastic or determined in our goal to write and being published.

Great post, Rachna.

Jai

Lydia Kang said...

What a great post, Rachna. I have a lot of determination. I'm hoping that and making myself a better writer will amount to something publishable!

Ellie said...

An inspirational post, Rachna. You have definitely captured the four traits a writer needs to suceed. I'm sure there are times we've all waivered in these and nearly given up. When I'm feeling low or dispondent about my writing I go to my bookshelf and look at the anthologies I've been published in, which are sandwiched between my two favourite writers - Stephen King and Jasper Fforde!

Caption Competition

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Great post, Rachna. At times I have every one of those traits. At other times, everyone of those traits flag. Usually at "marketing" time. It's a zig zag course from the first idea of a book to a finished book, and then there's the query letters and the synopses to deal with, when I would just like to get a manuscript into the mail and get on with the next story! But, I AM starting to like the query process more. I'll just have to remember those for traits, like mantras. :-)