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?