Dec. 18, 2022: Perseverance and Resilience
Perseverance is continuing to work toward a goal even when there is difficulty or delay in achieving success.
Resilience is the ability to recover from challenges and difficulties.
I believe these are two of the most powerful character traits one can develop. As a teacher, I often talk with my students about approaches and strategies that can help us strengthen our perseverance and our resilience. In the classroom, there is much I can do as the teacher to create an environment in which these two interwoven skills can grow and flourish.
When I talk with writers about these critical skills, there is always consensus about the central role they play in our journey and ultimate success as authors. The challenge is that we are working in the world of publication, not a classroom. The environment can not be controlled to help us build these skills. The activities and lessons can not be constructed to support our growth. We have no teacher, carefully curating and guiding us. We must do that ourselves.
I have found that there are four simple things that can add up to great growth in this area.
- Effort and process over results
While this is never easy as a writer, we must be willing to focus on our effort and process. Yes, those rejections hurt. That negative review can be soul crushing. Poor sales numbers are discouraging. That less than stellar critique, can shake our confidence. But we have to be willing to acknowledge the effort and process we used to get where we are. Track and celebrate that.
- Don’t fear failure
Failure, as a writer, is not fatal. In fact, there are those who believe that every failure brings a lesson and is a gift that will ultimately help us to grow and get to that next level. The key is then to acknowledge and study the failure to see what we can take away from it. We don’t seek it out, but we embrace it when it happens.
- Seek role models
Look around you and find other writers who have persevered through tough times. Find fellow authors who have shown resilience when faced with failure or rejection. Look for clues as to how they handled the darkest times yet continued on. Find inspiration in their success. Sometimes this might mean reading biographies or blogs of those well-known giants in our field, but it also may be talking with other members of local writers’ groups. Make these writers your unofficial mentors as you watch them work.
- Keep a growth mindset
Remembering that we are truly a work-in-progress, and that just because we are currently experiencing a failure or challenge, does not mean that this is a permanent state. Persistence and small improvements are incredibly powerful in our journey toward our goals.
As Gever Tulley has said, “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”
Embrace the challenges of a writing life to grow in your perseverance and resilience.