“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
Writing, whether you are a fiction writer or a Freelancer, is an activity where the sky is the limit. It’s a bit like weight lifting in the gym.
It is also an activity that causes so much self-doubt and lack of confidence in people that if we could visualise the heap of forgotten writers it would look like a mountain range. Cloudy summits and all.
No wonder that we have so many novelists torturing themselves over a sentence that they know could be better or a Freelance Writer who buckles under the pressure when it’s time to send in the latest piece.
Reach for the Stars
Writing is a very healthy occupation. It brings the best of a human being out, but it can become a vehicle for self-doubt and a road to becoming a nervous wreck, if you don’t watch out.
When you are writing a story and you realise that the possibilities of what could happen next are as broad and wide as the heavens, you have to keep that balance of thought that gives you the heady feeling of being on a tight-rope. You might fall off, or you might pull it off.
Danger Zones and Conflicts
You’re in a danger zone of not only creating great conflict in your story but within your own gentle soul.
As a writer you are opening yourself up to the world. You are feeling and digesting everything that you find and think about. No wonder that you feel sad when you write sad things and you feel great when you write happiness. You feel it, and that’s right. That’s being a writer of emotions that will grab your readers and bring them to laughter and tears all the way through your work.
A writer who is able to sustain the work and see it through to the end shows his or her tenacity. What is that, exactly?
Will Power? Staying power? Grit your teeth Power?
Self belief is a good trait to have and it ensures that we overcome the nay-sayers and the bring-em-downers in life.
Tenacity, I believe, is the result of having those really helpful character traits in place. Like self-belief, confidence, can-do attitude and many more that all help to make us a tenacious person.
Imagine if you wrote a character into your novel, she is as a tenacious as a Pit-Bull Terrier. You would be forced to write scenes that show these qualities if your story is to ring true. She wouldn’t be swayed in her opinion or “sent-back” by people who say “no thank you” to her, she would ignore them and get on with making your story a great read of derring-do and adventure. The life of a person on the page. The things we aspire to.
Take a leaf out of your Character’s Book
As a writer, you can be like your fictional character, too. To think of your career as a writer as your adventure, to know that up ahead there will be storms and rogue waves to navigate. You are the captain and it is your absolute duty to steer your vessel safely through the waters, calm or heavy, lives depend on it. Your readers need your stories, that’s why they exists as readers who buy your books. There are many more readers up ahead in the adventure who you haven’t yet met, they’ll find you, but only if you make yourself a good captain who knows that it’s not all about yourself only.
Responsibility to make it through and deliver the goods is your task. You will be charged with that task again and again. To write a story of some kind. Your readers will demand more. If you don’t enjoy it, or you wish for the romance of a lifestyle mooning around, telling people that you are blocked, then better change hats and follow another band-wagon in life. If you want to be read and hear your readers make comments on your work, to know that you touched somebody’s heart, then keep at it and never let anything get in your way. Especially, don’t get in the way of yourself.
Tenacity or that Bull-Dog Spirit doesn’t have to hurt.
There is no teeth gritting or angry table smashing needed.
Knowing who you are is a part of the journey and that also means knowing your limits as a person and a writer. People get worried about knowing their limits. They don’t want to know another thing about the self that could reveal your weaknesses. Normally, it’s just the opposite. People discover that they have a hell of a lot more resources available than they thought. It all depends on where you look.
Fear rules the day for these people and achievement in their field is often sporadic, resembling an old car putting along the road, the occasional ‘pop bang’ is sounded as they merrily make their way. Where they are going in life, is anybody’s guess.
Be Like the Weight Lifter
Writing, luckily, is a bit like weight lifting. You can start at the beginning and gently find out what’s best for you. Your mind is different to everybody else’s and that means that your experience as a writer is unique to you – that’s why when you write a romance or a thriller about some guys robbing a bank, it’s going to be very different to all the other romance and thriller books. It’s your take on the subject, not their’s. That’s proof of how unique you are.
Tenacity is the result of you being you, being true to yourself.
When you know who you are, what you are capable of and how you want to do it you will become tenacious and show the Pit-Bull Spirit that a writer needs to get things done.
Looking at weight-lifters again, body-builders or Olympic Weight Lifters, most of us are in awe of their strength, their achievements and their ability to make something very difficult look easy.
Years ago, many people assumed that you had to be born strong to be a champion weight lifter. Today, knowledge of physical and psychological potential has educated the public to understand that if you go in the gym and lift weights twice a week for one hour, you will become stronger and bigger. You’ll get a tremendous appetite, too.
Up until the 1980s many body-builders were joked about, made to appear as if they were all brawn and no brains and television would perpetuate the lie that most men who practised body-building were gay.
Today, everybody’s at it. Pushing weights, benching, squatting and curling. People discovered that they had it in them – and, it doesn’t make you gay. It’s so important to be safe in the gym. Make a mistake and a lot weight comes crashing down on your head. Damaged goods limp home, never to return to the world of weights.
Safety is important because of accidents. Again and again in the gym, you hear instructors telling a person to just do what’s good for you – don’t copy that big guy over there. You can’t, because he’s not you. Just be yourself and lift what you can and guaranteed you will be lifting heavier by next weekend.
Writing a book is a long road, writing a piece to be delivered by tomorrow morning is a powerful roller-coaster ride. Both can be total stress and confusion if try to lift too much weight at once.
Know thy Self and Grow
Knowing who you are will guarantee that you will develop as a writer, you will discover the person you are. That’s inevitable, especially when you are involved in an activity of the mind. You can’t exercise the mind without pushing it. Weight lifters know when it’s time to add a little extra weight and challenge the body to give more.
Writers do the same thing when they set themselves tighter deadlines and work against the clock.
Writers also ‘see’ how they can improve their expression without turning into a perfectionist.
Tenacity will come to you in the form of perseverance, indomitable will, tirelessness, resoluteness and single mindedness that will be your armour throughout a life-time of writing.
Be asTenacious as a Weight Lifter
All the above give you reason to be confident and buoyant about your work. That happy feeling that will carry you through the day and will gleefully sit your but in the writing chair at any time it’s time to write.
Weight lifters are a bit like writers, they have solid goals, they know what they want and they ain’t going to screw up their day by acting like a whimp when it comes to work-out time. They make sure of this by knowing what they are capable of and working with what will make them better and stronger.
You can discover your limits and grow as a writer if you only push the weight that is good for you.
Set your limits but reach for a star.