Copyright © 2000 Julie Elizabeth Leto

PERSEVERANCE is a word I constantly have to check on how to spell. Just seems it should be all Es, you know? Anyhow, I may not be able to spell it, but I can tell you what it means. In my case, it is synonymous for success.

I’m going to assume that you have talent. That may or may not be true, but after a while, you’ll know. All writers suffer from self-doubt and weak egos from time to time, but real writers find a way to get beyond that. They’ll experience a lucid, defining moment when they realize they really do have a way with storytelling that could appeal to large numbers of readers if only a publisher or editor would given them a chance.

Talent is a must in the world of writing. I don’t believe it can be learned. You have it or you don’t. CRAFT can be learned, honed and perfected. Part of “making it” in publishing is polishing your writer’s skills. If you do that, and have some talent, you can get published, right?

If you have one other thing…patience. Perseverance (with an A for positive attitude). Some people sell their first novel. Others, like me, sold their fourth…and that took nine years. The trick for me was not quitting. I took breaks, but never for long. I learned to revise—an absolute must—and I’m an expert on taking criticism. But I stuck with it, even after loads of rejections. In hindsight, most of them were right. The work I was submitting wasn’t ready for publication. I didn’t know that then, but I did know that one person’s opinion typed in a form letter or jotted in nearly illegible handwriting wasn’t going to make me give up my dream…and my future career.

A is for attitude. That’ll help me remember how to spell PERSEVERANCE. I hope it helps you learn how to stick with it until you make your dream happen. Good luck!