Back in May, my family rose at the crack of dawn to help our youngest son achieve a long-awaited goal. My fifteen year old put on his Boy Scout Uniform, then nervously flipped through his Scout book, suddenly afraid that he’d forget the oath that he’s recited since he was ten. He’s generally unflappable and it was hard to see him so nervous.
When it came time for his board of review, he bravely left us behind and faced the unknown. Eagle Review Boards have a code of silence. Scoutmasters aren’t allowed to attend and other Eagles do not reveal the questions that are asked. Like a good Scout, my son had to “be prepared” for anything.
Happily, he earned his Eagle Rank.
I bet you’re wondering right about now, what this has to do with writing.
My son reminded me of something that all writers must embrace – perseverance and courage.
The rank of Eagle is only earned by 2% of all Boy Scouts. And with good reason. The road is long and a boy must give a lot of time and energy to succeed. The boy must want it and have the discipline and focus to meet all the requirements. The path takes many years (in my son’s case – he’s known since he was ten that he wanted to earn his Eagle Rank).
Any of this sound familiar?
When pursuing publication you must want it. But wanting isn’t enough. Writing is a tough business (and yes, it is a business like any other). We writers experience rejection on a regular basis. “No” is a word we hear all the time (maybe more than parents tell their children).
Why do we do it? Because we have a long-term goal in sight too. Often times, no one believes in our writing but ourselves! That’s okay. You have to be your own advocate and number one fan. You have to marshall the strenght to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and keep at it. Like a Boy Scout, a writer has a support network to provide help and encouragement (you don’t have to go it alone). But, in the end, it all comes down to you.
It’s not how many times you fall down that matters.
It’s the number of times that you pick yourself and keep going that counts. That takes courage and perserverance.