So, this week, we were talking about persistence in writing and life.
I think most of us labour under the misconception that once we’re in the door, with a contract, an agent, a book, then life gets better. We dream of hitting super star status, because we’ll be able to call the shots.
Maybe that’s true, but most of the big name authors I’ve met are the hardest working, most ‘grunt-minded’ people I know. By this I mean, they’re not on a chaise sipping pina colodas and dictating their story to some underling. They all seem to be pulling 50+ work weeks, juggling like mad to keep up with the demands of tours, media, etc.
Persistence, I think, becomes more important as you become more successful. In the beginning, we’re all working to be noticed by a publisher or agent, struggling against self-doubt and rejection.
When we hit any success rung, then it becomes persistence to make sure all our previous hard work wasn’t for nothing.
When you become mega-successful, there’s an odd kind of struggle/persistence you have to do…
When Beyonce launched her solo album, record executives told her that her album didn’t have any hits on it…she says (in I’m Yours television special), “they were right. I didn’t have 1 hit…I had 5.” Interesting though, how this woman who sold millions of CDs, acts in blockbuster movies, had to deal with her label’s rejection and cynicism.
Joss Stone’s most recent album, Colour Me Free, she’s basically promoting on her own, because her record company is so convinced it’s a flop, they’ve refused to put any money in it.
Stephen King had to change publishers when his old one kept insisting he do book signings at Walmart. I think he actually did and had no one turn up.
Janet Evanovich went to a book signing and the store had closed for the night. At another signing, no one showed up.
Janette Oke was at a book signing I was part of. No one went to her table. The woman, by the way, has written more than 75 books (sold multi-millions), and is one of the “mothers” of inspirational romance.
Other stories of persistence:
Maroon 5 was dropped from their label when their first album was a flop. It took them 10 years to get another deal.
The Dixie Chicks were the running joke in Nashville for almost (or maybe more than) a decade. They couldn’t get a record deal to save their lives.
No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom album was paid for by the band because the executives, disappointed with their low sales, wanted to drop them from the label.
Shakira’s first albums sold so poorly, the executives wanted to (or maybe they actually did) drop her.
I think we need to take heart from all of this. Success isn’t a given and failure isn’t a sign to quit. If you want to see your dreams come true, then persist.