3 Attributes for a Successful Writing Career
Blogger: Mary Keeley
Magnificently written books that readers dive into and remember long after they turn the last page are the goal of all committed writers. But the road to that destination is almost always bumpy and loaded with detours and potholes. There are three personal attributes you need to replenish often for a successful journey. Observing these traits as they’re depicted in inspiring movies may reignite them in you.
Perseverance. When you’re feeling weary, overwhelmed, or discouraged, step away from your work for a short time and recharge your resolve by watching the movie Miracle about the U.S. underdog hockey team that won the gold at the 1980 Olympics. Do you remember the scene in which coach Herb Brooks, played by Kurt Russell, made the team do the same drill over and over, way past the players’ perceived point of exhaustion, until one of players finally “got it” and answered coach’s repeated question correctly? The players could hardly remain standing by then, but none of them had given up. That moment was a turning point when they knew who they were as a team. Other players, some of whom were more talented, had been cut by now, and we begin to see why the coach had chosen those players. He knew that perseverance would ultimately win the medal.
As you watch that scene in particular, focus on the determination shown in Kurt Russell’s character and in the players who endured. The coach was reinforcing in them the perseverance they would need as well as the skills. The beauty of true stories like this one is that a realistic goal is within any person’s grasp if they keep on doing the hard work. How might you apply the inspiring message of this movie to where you are in your writing journey today?
Persistence. If you are facing obstacles in your path to publication, or re-publication, and need some inspiration to continue focusing on your dream instead of the obstacles in your way, I suggest you let the movie October Sky encourage you. It is based on the true story of Homer Hickam, who grew up in a poor coalmining town during the 1950s. At the time the only way boys could go to college and escape the mines was if they got a football scholarship. Homer was an average player at best. But his fascination with the launch of Soviet Sputnik 1 and seeing it streak across the sky inspired him to build a rocket. Enlisting the help of three friends and a metalworker who worked for his father, they learned through many failures until they finally had success. Their goal was to enter their rocket in the county science fair. The prize for the winner was a college scholarship.
Observe how Homer persists through rejections, unfortunate circumstances, and his father’s opposition to such a waste of time, to hold onto his dream. What is inspiring about the true story on which this movie based is all four boys persisted to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to reach their goal. All of them went on to graduate from college and have lives of their choosing.
Passion. If you are experiencing a dry season in your writing, don’t languish there. You need a refreshment of passion. One of my favorite movies that is full of passion is Last of the Mohicans. Rita Kempley, a The Washington Post reviewer, wrote: “the film sets new standards when it comes to pent-up passion,” a less than resounding recommendation. But the public felt otherwise. The movie was the 17th highest-grossing film in 1992.
Writers need to be passionate in their writing if it’s going to be at its best. Readers will know if that ingredient is missing from your work. Take the time to replenish the passion in your writing by letting a movie such as Last of the Mohicans fan the flame in you again.
Which of the attributes might you be struggling with right now? What do you do to recharge your perseverance, persistence, and passion in your writing life?
Writers need to nurture three attributes for a successful career. Click to Tweet.
Perseverance, persistence, and passion are necessary for a healthy writing career. Click to Tweet.