Monday, August 25, 2014

Persistent Writers: Why To Develop Lizard Skin

    The deciding factor for writers who will be remembered and those who won't isn't talent.
     It's lizard skin.
    Certainly, it helps to have talent. But in the beginning, growing a thick skin is just as important. Good but oversensitive writers sometimes give up after their first rejection slip while lousy ones continue on their stubborn, error-filled ways. In the end, it can be these inconsequential (but do-or-die) writers who are the ones to achieve a modicum of success.
     Don't let that stop you. There is a natural order to these things and life is ultimately fair to writers who try, I think. Also cheering is the fact that the really bad ones only get so far before their lacking ingredient--actual talent--becomes obvious to all. (You don't really think the author of 50 Shades is respected for her literary gifts, do you?)
     What I regret are all the good ones who gave up too soon.
     Part of developing the thick lizard skin that enables you to survive in the cold world as a unknown writer lies in simple routine. Reporting introduced me to the discipline of writing every day (whether I wanted to do it or not), so that's what I do.
    I was lucky. When would-be literary giants ask their famous counterparts how they did it, they always say the same thing: I write every day.
     Nobody likes this unglamorous answer. It's like being told to eat the tofu you left on your plate. I've observed that even reporters--who of all people should know better--will reject this answer and ask the famous writer for another one.         
reptile coloring pages     I suppose it's human nature to look for a shortcut. And really, there are shortcuts out there--you could set your cap for the CEO of a publishing house; you could climb to the top of a tall building, threatening to jump unless someone offers you a book contract.
     Or you could write every day until you get somewhere.
    Then you, too, will be able to crawl out from under your rock to sun yourself in the warm glow of publication.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Testing, testing, testing to see if I'm making an idiot of myself on social media again.