Uncommon Perseverance

The last two weeks we’ve talked about the stages of success. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the one quality that is a “must have”: perseverance.

According to the dictionary, “perseverance” is steady persistence in a course of action, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

This year I worked with a young writer who embodies this quality and has inspired me not to quit when things get difficult.

Uncommon Obstacles

It started last year when he wrote and asked me to critique his first YA novel of about 60,000 words, the first in a trilogy. I had an opening and told him to send it. He asked if I could print it off on my printer as he was a soldier deployed in Iraq and without a printer. He’d written the book there. (It was a very good and suspenseful story.)

Last month I heard from him again. The second book in the trilogy was finished. Could I look at it? And yes, he was deployed again and was sending the manuscript from Iraq.

Lessons Learned

I thought about the whining I had done over the years about being tired, the excuses I gave for being too busy to write every day, and the lack of support of a weekly writers’ group. And then…there’s a young soldier with a wife and two little ones back home who is deployed in a war zone–who grabs his spare minutes and writes two lengthy novels! I know he gets little sleep, I know he’s busy, and I’ll bet my bottom dollar he doesn’t have a weekly writing group!

But he writes.

Today I considered skipping my writing stint because my back is really hurting. Then I thought about the obstacles Kevin overcomes to write–and I sat down to write anyway. Time to develop some of his uncommon perseverance. (Enjoy today’s art, also courtesy of this young soldier. Love that frog!)


NOTE For those of you in the San Antonio, TX, area, I wanted to give a little plug for our fall conference: Southwest Texas SCBWI Fall Conference It’s Saturday, September 17, 2011 from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (CT)

The SCBWI event is featuring:

  • Andrea Welch – Editor, Beach Lane Press (Simon & Schuster)
  • Elena Mechlin- Agent, Pippin Agency (HarperCollins)
  • Kristin Daly Rens – Editor, Balzer and Bray
  • Author Diane Gonzales Bertrand
  • Kim Murray, Online Media Specialist with Piccolo Media
  • Richard Johnson, InteractBooks

Check it out!

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