“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” –George Eliot
This quote was floating arount Twitter today, being tweeted and re-tweeted in every trending writing topic I follow. Every writer out there seemed to be picking it up and passing it along, like the torch in the Olympics. The reason for this? It rings with truth.
By nature, writers are worrywarts. We spend weeks and months pouring our souls into our books, then we send that work off into the world, like a child on the bus on the first day of school. We bite our lips and worry that everything will go all right, but our concerns do not stop us from putting that little one on the bus–or from dropping that manuscript in the mailbox.
But then once it’s gone, you start to fret. Was it polished enough? Had you enclosed a SASE? What if this industry professional does not like it? Maybe you should have changed that line after all. Or held off another day before submitting it, just to go through it one more time. We worry and obsess and twist in the chains of our own anxiety. What if this manuscript gets rejected? What then?
It is never too late to be what you might have been.
Okay, maybe the work gets rejected. Do you stop there? Throw up your hands and declare your writing career at an end? Or do you get back on the horse, read the rejection letter for useful feedback and then make changes to strengthen your work? I hope you do, because if not, that rejection will have been the end of your career…because you gave up.
Persistence is half the battle in the publishing business. The more you do something, the better you get at it. So then isn’t it logical to keep writing, to keep practicing, to keep getting better?
No writer was born a New York Times Bestseller. All of them started somewhere with page one, perhaps not having any idea what they were doing, just driven by the desire to write. What would have happened if Nora Roberts had given up after her first rejection or bad review? The world would be short around 180 books about now, and millions of people would never have had the chance to fall in love with her words. Ask any author, and you will hear stories of writing during breaks at work or longhand in the park or on a lunch hour or while the kids were sleeping. Those writers found time to practice their craft; persistence was the key.
No matter how many rejections you get or how many bad reviews or how many years between sales, the simple truth is that there is always a second chance. Hang in there, learn new things, keep writing, keep submitting. Sooner or later, persistence pays off.
Because it is never too late to be what you might have been.
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