11 Dec


As I walked in the door of Patty’s Parlor of Pain, better known as Aarstadt’s Fitness Center, I saw a saying framed, hanging on the wall. It said:

That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do it is increased–Perseverance

Perseverance: The dictionary definition is–steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Because of painful arthritis, an eighty year old farmer’s wife in Virginia could no longer hold her needle to embroider. A small paintbrush was much easier to hold, so she tried painting. She decided to show her farm and country scenes at the county fair, but only won prizes for her jams and canned fruit. There were no blue ribbons for her art.

Later, an art collector from New York City was traveling through the village and noticed several of her paintings for sale in a local drug store. When he showed them to his friends in the art circles of Manhattan, they loved them. Soon, ‘Grandma Moses’ gained an international reputation.

Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before he got financing for his dream of creating the “Happiest Place on Earth”. Today, due to his persistence, millions of people have shared the joy of Disney.

Colonel Sanders spent two years driving across the United States looking for restaurants to buy his chicken recipe. He was turned down 1,009 times. Can you believe it, over a thousand times? Because of his perseverance, Kentucky Fried Chicken is still a successful business today.

This quote is from Kathryn Stockett’s website, talking about her best-selling novel, The Help. “It has been an incredible ride since I started writing The Help in September 2001. After more than sixty rejections from agents, I am still surprised to see The Help on a shelf in a bookstore.”

We are what we repeatedly do.

If we repeatedly write, we are authors.

Perseverance is also about rewriting. Not just once or twice, but many times. If you’ve received 20 rejections for a story, maybe it needs another major revision, or maybe you need to put it away. Then write another story, or two, or three.

Perseverance is not conditional, it’s enduring. It’s grinding away at a novel, even when you don’t feel inspired. It’s finishing the novel and revising. It’s sending out your work, over and over and over and, learning more about writing so you can continually improve.

Perseverance is hanging in there when all you want to do is hide under the bed.

I’d like to assure you that as I did power squats and leg lifts yesterday, my power to do them increased, but… Maybe next week.

Has perseverance helped you in your writing career or your life?


Posted by on December 11, 2012 in artist, books, character development, Idaho


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20 responses to “Perseverance

  1. Clarissa Southwick

    December 11, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    Great quote, Stephanie. Perseverance is not my forte. I’m always grateful for advice on how to do better.

  2. stephanieberget

    December 11, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    Thanks for posting, Clarissa. I struggle with perseverance, too. It’s easier to give up, but then we don’t achieve anything, except maybe sitting on the couch watching really bad TV.

  3. Judith Keim

    December 11, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Hi, Stephanie! Great post. I believe in perseverance, having had to practice it for many years as I improve my writing skills and decide just what it is I want to write. I’ve cried, I’ve sworn I was through with this nasty business but I can’t stop doing what I believe is within me. So each morning I get up and write.

    • stephanieberget

      December 11, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      i think we all go through the crying and quitting then get back to writing because we’re writers.

  4. Peggy Staggs

    December 11, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Perseverance…My husband reminds me all the time, I am stubborn. Is that he same thing?

    • stephanieberget

      December 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      I think stubbornness is the same thing as perseverance, maybe better.

  5. Janis McCurry

    December 11, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    I’m on the fence. Sometimes, I think we hold on too long, when we should realize it’s time to move on. In my life, I should have moved on sooner than I did. I regret it now. In writing, the jury’s still out.

  6. Jennifer

    December 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Perseverance is definitely not my strong suit. Need to work on that one…

    • stephanieberget

      December 11, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      I don’t know. Two small children in the house gives you a certain amount of perseverance.

  7. stephanieberget

    December 11, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    You’ve brought up a tough question. Like you, there have been times I wish I’d have moved on sooner. But in almost every instance, I learned something that I’ve used later. And keep writing. I can’t wait to read your book.

  8. maryvine

    December 11, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    I LOVE the quotes you have here. I also like the blog post. Thanks for the encouragement. Persevere on!

  9. Corina Mallory

    December 11, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Like Jennifer, persistence isn’t my strong suit. Instead of thinking of it as a weakness, I’ve always focused on the flip side. A lack of persistence means I’m very adaptable. If something doesn’t work out, I move on (possibly too) quickly and find something new. But I could do wtih a little more stubbornness. And a little more persistence, especially with this writing thing. Thanks for the post!

    • stephanieberget

      December 11, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      Hang in there, Corina. One of these days, the perseverance will come. I think it comes to people at different times in their lives.

  10. Lynn Mapp

    December 11, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Stephanie, thank you for reminding us of the power of perseverance. We all need a kick in the B-hind from time-to-time.

    • stephanieberget

      December 11, 2012 at 7:39 PM

      Thanks for posting, Lynn. You’re right. A good swift kick does wonders, doesn’t it?

  11. marsharwest

    December 12, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    Great post, Stephanie. I think I’ve also heard a great author (whose name I cannot remember) say something like: The only published author is the one who didn’t quit. Something along those lines. It’s what you’re saying. We’re the only ones to stop ourselves from getting published. I do agree that we grow at different rates and things come at their own best times. Just becaue I thought my first book would immediately be scooped up by a publisher (LOL LOL LOL) didn’t mean it was ready for prime time. I had to learn the craft and again, we all learn at different rates, so it’s taken me 5 1/2 years so far. I can tell I’m getting closer, though and that’s exciting to see the growth. Thanks for this good reminder.

  12. stephanieberget

    December 12, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    Marsha, I’ve been writing about 5 years too. We must think alike. I thought it would be easy to write a book, but the first one or two, or even three books will probably not see the light of day.

    • marsharwest

      December 12, 2012 at 8:22 AM

      And didn’t you think they were good, Stephanie? LOL Loved those stories. I went back to the 3rd one after I developed some craft skills and tweaked it quite a bit, sent it out, still no nibbles. It did final in a contest, so that was uplifting. But a contest final does not a published book make.

      Now, I’ve really re-worked the 4th one and feel like it’s really getting close. Just have to find the right publisher who’ll go along with the older characters. Need to “Margieize” (Look at it through Margie Lawson lense) the 5th book and regular edit the 6th before doing the “Margieize thing. Tedious and long, but makes such a better book. Well worth the effort. I just need to figure out to do it all faster. 🙂 If you haven’t taken a Margie Lawson course, you should look into one. She’s wonderful, puts you through your paces, and you come out on the other end a better writer. Happy writing.

      • stephanieberget

        December 12, 2012 at 8:25 AM

        I’ve taken a short course from her at a conference. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll look into another one.


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