“The path from dreams to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it.” by Kalpana Chawla, American Astronaut
For the past two days I have immersed myself in learning about writing at the 2018 Northern Colorado Writers Conference. It was an eye opening experience.
I spent two days with other writers learning about query letters, editing tips, perspective, and creating new worlds through writing. I signed up for a critique session and even pitched my novel in what felt like the speed-dating version of a sales pitch. I heard some amazing keynote speakers and received great advice from literary agents.
The biggest lesson I learned? That the journey to becoming a writer is not about simply typing the words. It’s learning to take a breath and begin what will hopefully be a long and rewarding journey. Success, as it turns out, is not instant. I can’t sprint my way to the finish line. Instead, I need to pack my gear and begin the long trek up the mountain. If I’m looking for immediate reward (i.e. publication), I might as well stop now. But, if my real goal is to keep writing, to let my stories come to life, to share this passion with others, then I’m on the right track.
Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, was rejected over 100 times. One of the author panelists at the conference shared that she had been rejected over 150 times. Most of the authors have several novels that have never been published and most of them have first novels that still sit in drawers. You would think these statistics would be depressing, but I actually found them inspiring. They didn’t give up. Some spent years (many, many years) working towards getting published. But it happened for them – because they persevered.
One of the authors commented that rejection is not the same thing as failure. It’s an opportunity to learn.
At the end of the conference we had the privilege of hearing Jim Davidson, climber, geologist, professional speaker, and co-author of The Ledge give the closing keynote speech. He spoke of resilience, perseverance and hard work – not just for climbing, but for all endeavors that are worth pursuing.
If you get a chance, read his book. Be inspired to start your climb. But don’t forget your gear as you prepare for the long journey ahead. Let’s climb together.