I Didn’t Get Angry, I Got Determined

It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.
Theodore Roosevelt

I like this quote because there is so much truth in it. Many of us stop ourselves from even trying simply because we allow fear to stop us from pursuing our dreams. Some of us were even taught that dreams were unnecessary, frivolous, even. We were told to stop daydreaming, or else told that such and such was just a pipedream, as if the very act of dreaming was something to be ashamed of.

How can we possibly walk this planet without dreaming of the future? Is it even possible to go though our days without wishing, hoping or dreaming of something, anything?

When I first started writing seriously, I was afraid to even tell others that my dream was to be published. Would they think it was simply a waste of my time? Was I working toward some unattainable goal? Did I have what it took to write something that someone else would even want to publish?

From early on, I had a clear image of the kind of person who wrote books.
In my mind, a writer was highly educated, someone who had experienced many things in their lives, and had probably travelled extensively. I was a stay at home mom with a high school education. I didn’t fall into any of those other categories. So how could I even whisper my dream aloud? A few family members knew I was “trying” to write, and they probably felt a bit sorry for me(not that they’d ever say.) More than likely they thought it was a passing fancy; something that I would grow tired of eventually, and come back to reality.

But I didn’t come back to reality. I wrote and submitted my work to literary magazines and collected an armful of rejections in secret. I suffered through frustration each time I opened the mailbox and saw another envelope staring me in the face. I felt self-conscious in the beginning, wishing those manila envelopes didn’t have to come through the postal service. What if someone who knew me saw them and figured out my secret? I live in a pretty small community.

Still, I didn’t let it stop me. Oh there were days when I’d declare I was giving up, convinced that my work would never see print, but again I’d pick myself up as each time something compelled me to keep going.

Maybe I’m just stubborn (I’ve always preferred the word determination, myself.) Maybe, more than anything else, a writer needs determination if they wish to see their work published.

Even with determination you probably won’t get things right in the very beginning because all the determination will not make some publisher want to publish your work if it isn’t ready. What determination will do, though, is keep you writing until your work is ready. And once it is ready, that same determination will keep you submitting again and again. Of course you’ll struggle to find your own unique voice. Of course you’ll beat yourself up inside when it seems as though failure is staring you in the face yet again. Of course, self doubt will look over your shoulder all the while you work.

But wouldn’t you rather have all that, wouldn’t you rather not accomplish what you set out to do, wouldn’t you rather change your dream, than to never even try?

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