Friday, April 24, 2009

How Determined are You?

by G.Parker

While the rest of the bloggers worth their salt are at the LDStorymakers writing conference, I'm stuck home doing blogging duty...grin. I'll get my turn next year.

The original article that prompted the title of my blog was called "How do you know when to quit?" That article/blog was written in relation to the YouTube sensation of the Scottish woman who has made an outstanding show on Britain's Got Talent.

This blog is a combination of all of the above -- except for the Scottish woman, I have nothing to say about singing. (She really is amazing, if you haven't been one of the millions to look it up on the internet.) This blog is about writing, and that's what I'm going to focus on.

The article starts out commenting on the Scottish woman's desire to continue taking hold of every opportunity that came her way. They decided to tie that in with writing, submitting and the rejection process. The writer (Toni McGee Causey) then showcased a conference she'd gone to with a guest speaker. The speaker, Christie Craig, is apparently a well known author (though I've never heard of her) who writes funny, romantic, mystery stories (according to Toni).

At the conference, the author dragged a large wheeled suitcase out onto the stage, and talked about how she became an author, overcame her struggle with Dyslexia and worked to get her books out. She asked the audience, when they thought someone should quit submittting. Was it after the first 50 rejections? She then pulled a large Fed-Ex type envelope out of the suitcase opened it and pulled out a stack of papers to let them fall to the floor. "How about the next 50?" Another group of papers were dropped, and the writer could see the letter heads of the letters, so it wasn't a figurative thing -- these were actual rejection letters.

Let me quote the meat of her blog:

"“Or how about the next hundred?” she asked, and pulled another wad of pages out and let those rain down. “Three hundred? Is that when you quit?” And she emptied that envelope and reached into the suitcase and pulled out another one, and asked, “Or is it the first 500? Do you quit then?” Those papers kept raining down, “Or how about the next 500?” and more envelopes, more pages. “How about a 1000? Is that when you stop?” And at this point, I couldn’t have spoken if someone had held a gun on me, I was so choked up. “Or how about the second thousand?” More pages. “Or three? Is three thousand the point where you stop?”"

This whole experience astounded the writer. It amazed me as I read it. To imagine someone getting three thousand rejections and still keep going is mind boggling. Have you gotten anywhere close to that? I mean, we hear about John Grisham and his couple of what, hundred rejections? How about JK Rowling and her two hundred rejections? We hear all about the tenacity and determination of the writer who made the grade and got published, but I think this woman takes the prize.

I'm not sure I've got that kind of drive. I'd like to think I do, but I have to force myself to sit down and write as it is. If I had three thousand rejections sitting at my feet, I think it would be a pretty difficult stumbling block.

What would it take for you? I think it's an amazing story of encouragement and motivation for every writer. Each of you should print the original blog and post it by your computer so that every day you know that you haven't had as much to overcome. Perhaps your struggle to be a writer hasn't been as difficult. Of course each of us have our own obstacles, and perhaps to you, that is as bad as three thousand rejection letters.

I don't. I think I've run out of excuses. How about you?

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