Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Single Most Important Quality a Writer Needs

There are a lot of things a writer tries to be.

Creative. Funny. Clever. Good at networking. Intelligent, talented, lucky.

All those things are important, and I think can definitely make our writing journey go that much smoother. Whichever talents God has blessed us with, we should use them to our advantage. Use our strengths to make up for our weakness, collaborate with people who can do certain things better then us, and, without beating ourselves up for our weak points, try to do better.

All this is well and good.

However, there is another quality that is absolutely more important than any of those things. It has nothing to do with which school we went to or which agents we know or what genre we write in. You can take the most wacky, wild, obscure path to success and you will find it, if you only have this one thing.

That one thing is persistence. Keep working, constantly and consistently, and you WILL get where you're going. Flaws and weaknesses in any other area can be made up for with basic persistence. If you know your writing is weak in certain areas, write and practice and read and get feedback and write some more until you've learned to do it better. If you really don't know much about marketing and publicity, learn what you can and don't stop until you've found someone else who can do the job as well as you want them to. Just don't stop.

Maybe we've heard this a lot before, and maybe I'm not the best person to be reiterating this advice since I'm still in the trenches myself. But to me its a good and nice thing to think about on down days, when I feel like I'm going nowhere. I was talking to my brother about my querying process and how many rejections I've gotten so far and how many letters I have out at the moment and he said it showed "dedication." I'm glad he thinks so, because if I can be dedicated and keep it all up every day then I know eventually something good will happen.

For all of us, because we will never stop.

Sarah Allen


  1. Oh man, I think you and I are sharing some brainwaves, cause this is exactly how I've felt recently. I actually just blogged about it:

    Your take was a bit more eloquent though, haha. I was just like, "Meh, let animated cats sing it for me."

  2. Dedication and self-talk keep me going. That's for sure.

  3. I could read that advice a hundred times and feel it with fresh conviction every time I do. Thanks, Sarah. You're so right-- we need the Little Engine That Could mentality.

  4. Love this post, especially the stop sign picture. I don't know about you, but the road signs around me aren't so encouraging. ;) My word for 2013 is commitment, which is going to take a lot of persistence.

  5. Absolutley! Giving up is one of the worst things you can do.

  6. Being persistent and stubborn are very important qualities when trying to succeed at anything.

    It thins the herd and helps us get better with each attempt--if we learn with each step.


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