Submitted by Suraya Dewing on Thursday 9 May 2019
This is surely the most important quality a writer needs. There are many good ideas. But having a good idea, written well that actually touches reader’s hearts is another matter. It takes persistence to keep perfecting a skill and self-belief. Follow the dream. One day it will be reality. This is the key to success.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston S. Churchill.
In the face of rejection and struggle, writers are called upon to have endless supplies of courage. Maya Angelou dared to speak out when more powerful forces silenced less courageous voices. Her famous series, I know why the Caged Bird Sings is so compelling it cannot be ignored.
She says, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
Listen to the quiet voice within. In a world beset by noise and distractions it’s quiet whispering is the one true voice. Heed its wisdom as it is authentic. Readers connect to authenticity, wisdom and sincerity.
“Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.” W.H. Auden
Up to this point I have said nothing about writing. Why? Because in order to write well we need to be persistent, courageous and authentic. They are the source of creativity.
They enable writers to take readers somewhere they have never been before. They allow the reader to feel the ache and the joy of being in that place. No-one but you can take the reader there.
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Sylvia Plath
Edit. Edit. Edit.
Then be ruthless, really ruthless. Love what you write but never be afraid to murder pieces of writing that add nothing to the story. It hurts to do this sometimes but if they remain they will cannibalise all the good stuff.
A reader is looking for an exciting experience that is easy to read and will add to their lives without wasting their time. Editing out extra words, unrelated ideas and thoughts that add nothing to the story allows the truly exciting, innovative ideas to rise to the surface.
“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
One final gem
This final quote captures what the writing journey is all about and it sums up what I have learned over many years of writing.
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” Octavia E. Butler