Thursday, December 09, 2010

Ode to Stubborness

My daughter and I started a Christmas puzzle Sunday evening. It's a scene from the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie, and we've been working on it a little each night.

Last night, though, I really was on a roll in putting it together and reached a point where I knew I could finish it that evening. My reasons for wanting to finish it were twofold:

1) I'm having company on Saturday and didn't want the puzzle mess spread out all over the coffee table

2) I love the challenge of puzzles and was having fun

After watching me work on it most of the evening, my hubby said, "You're so stubborn." Then he helped me put every last piece in place. By 9:30 p.m., the puzzle was complete.

Yes, I am stubborn. Sometimes too much so. But I don't necessarily consider stubborness a bad thing. It keeps me from quitting when things get tough. And in the writing business, things can get really tough.

The huge onslaught of recent rejections for my last WW2 novel left me disillusioned, yes. But instead of refusing to write another word, the rejections spurred me to keep writing. I'm now nearly finished with my next novel and I think this particular work has come from a deeper place than my last novel. I'm really enjoying the process this time around, and even though it's had its share of pitfalls, I've taken a slightly different approach. I've just let God guide me. And it's working.

If you're going to succeed at this writing game and be a published novelist, you have to be stubborn. You must not quit. You must work in the face of rejection, of your own evil inner editor, of potential bad reviews and bad sales. You must clench your jaw, put up your fists, and fight the forces of doubt and fear. You must be stubborn.

So I raise my glass in a toast to my stubborness. Without it, I wouldn't be the writer I am today.

23 comments:

  1. I agree--stubbornness is key! :)

    I recently met with a few other published authors in my area, and all but one of us are between publishers right now. We've all had novels rejected by our editors. We commiserate with each other, and we then we just keep plugging away. It's what writers do. Kudos!

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  2. You definitely need to be stubborn to survive in this business. Good luck on your second book.

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  3. Here's to stubborness, persistence, a thick skin, all stepping stones to publication ... Raising my coffee cup in a toast, Cheers :)

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  4. Hooray for stubbornness--and knowing in your heart that your work is good!!

    Best of luck Melissa!

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  5. Let's call it tenacious! I'm the same way. I just can't let things go, whether it's a puzzle (love them!) or a tricky scene, I continue working on it until it's right.

    Good for you!

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  6. Christine - This just proves that even once you're published, it doesn't mean the rejection stops (darn it anyway!). Glad to see that you're being stubborn, too!
    :-)

    Patti - This is actually my fourth novel. The first one will never see the light of day (thank goodness!).

    Valeries and Joanne - Thank you!

    Jill - Tenacious does have a kinder connotation than stubborn, doesn't it? ;-)

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  7. In this business, being stubborn is a job requirement!

    Good for you. :)

    Cheers to being thick headed! *clink*

    -J.

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  8. Evelyn - It is, indeed! :-)

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  9. True that! Hurray for stubborn!! Well said Melissa!

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  10. I like your attitude and must find some for myself! :)

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  11. Thanks, Colene! :-)

    Gingerella - I'll try and send some your way. First requirement, though, is always copious amounts of chocolate. That seems to help somehow. ;-)

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  12. They do say (no idea who 'they' actually are) that published authors are the ones who didn't give up.

    Here's to stubbornness.

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  13. I, too, love to put puzzles together. We do it often at family gatherings. It's always a challenge.

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  14. Debs - I am definitely determined to be a published author!!!

    Sandi - We love to do it as a family, too. So relaxing and peaceful.

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  15. I'm totally anal about jigsaws, bordering on the OCD. If someone "helps" me by putting *any* pieces in, I throw a strop and break the whole thing up. I don't feel as though I've done it if someone has "helped" me.

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  16. A huge amen!! I too had quite a few rejections from my last book and it only spurred me on to try harder with this one. The day will come when both of us will hold our books in our hands.

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  17. In this business, you definitely need to be stubborn. Quitting is not an option.

    My problem with puzzles is that I can't concentrate on anything else until they're finished. I love them. :)

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  18. Diane - I admit, when hubby was helping me, I felt like I had to compete with him and see if I could get more pieces to fit than him. LOL

    Terri - I am VERY much looking forward to that day!

    Shirley - I fear I have the same problem with puzzles, which is why I refuse to start another one until I get some writing done on the novel. :-)

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  19. Hear! Hear! I will drink to that. Stubborness, commitment, drive, belief - absolutely we all need these to drive us on. Happy writing!

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  20. Happy writing to you, too, Talei!

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  21. I really needed this today. It's hard to be stubborn sometimes, but I will do my best! ;)

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  22. Clink! I'm with ya.

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  23. T. Anne - There are times when I'm weary of being stubborn and just want to throw in the towel. Thankfully, it passes. :-)

    Nicole - Cheers!

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