I commented on this really great post about the power of diligence when it comes to writing (and anything you pursue).
My comments were about being impatient for the external rewards of “success”. I know success is one of those undefinable things, but here is what I want that will make me feel like I’m successful:
– hundreds of blog visitors. Thousands would blow my mind, but I’ll start with something my brain can comprehend: thousands. I do have a lot of subscribes, and I even have people coming to my blog by searching my name. my name! That gets me excited.
– $500 a month in books sold. I think I need more books out and I need to get what I have out re-written so it comes across better. $500 is my starting goal, as I need to build my novel listings and short stories. I think a consistent paycheck of $500 a month would help convince me (I wrote my family first, but it’s really me that needs the external validation) that this writing thing is going to pan out and be a viable livelihood.
Without that knowledge that this could really work, in those moments of self-doubt, I want to remove all my books, delete my blog and my email accounts and close up shop for writing. Then I’ll just go get a safe job and be safe, secure and slightly unfulfilled for the rest of my life. (I should print that off as a reminder).
In the first link on diligence there is a link to a post by Cal Newport (he wrote Study Hacks and How to be a College Superstar- both of which are awesome books), the main message is “Get so good, they can’t ignore you.”
It’s hard to get that good, it’s hard to do the repetitive stuff everyday until you can’t be ignored. I just want to be celebrated RIGHT NOW. (I also want to be rich off my writing, starting next week).
But, if I don’t do the work I can never be celebrated. And a lot of people we celebrate were never acknowledged as success during their lifetime (occasionally, it did come in their later years).
So, back to the grindstone it is with these things in mind:
If we keep practicing, we will get good enough that we can’t be ignored.
I really do love writing and will continue to do so, even if I make $500 or have 500 blog hits per year.
Are you the patient type who can easily spend their time putting in their 10,000 hours of practice to reach excellence? Or would you rather find a magic lamp tomorrow and suddenly have success tomorrow?