Blogger: Mary Keeley
When we consider the basic tools a writer needs today, there really aren’t that many anymore. Technology has greatly altered the items in a writer’s toolbox, but the intangible tools necessary for the writing life will always be the same. And because any one of them might be needed at any time, these tools must be kept in good working condition. Let’s do an assessment, and you can tell me which of yours need a dose of inspiration.
Tool #1: A teachable spirit
A career as a writer is a life-long learning process. Authors can never sit back and think they’ve learned all there is to know. The precursor to a downfall is an attitude that you’ve arrived. There is no such thing in this business. Whether learning is a natural pleasure or not, embrace the reality and win the love-hate relationship with always-something-new-to-learn. Find ways to look forward to the process of improving your craft, branding, staying up to date on social media marketing and the publishing industry in general. Sharing this information among your writer friends keeps everyone sharp and connected. Give yourself little rewards along the way. Whatever contributes to increasing your enjoyment of learning.
Tool #2: Perseverance
When you’re feeling weary, overwhelmed, or discouraged, it’s time for a short break to recharge your resolve. Read an inspiring memoir or biography about someone who, with God’s empowerment, overcame insurmountable obstacles. I highly recommend Louie Zamperini’s story in Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.
If you need something lighter, watch the movie Miracle about the US underdog hockey team that won the gold at the 1980 Olympics. Coach Herb Brooks knew that talent alone wouldn’t win them the medal. Players, some of whom were the most talented, were cut from the team in favor of those who persevered beyond the physical limits of exhaustion in training.
The beauty of true stories like these is that a realistic goal is within grasp if you keep on doing the hard work.
Tool #3: 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, 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. Back then the only way boys could go to college and escape the mines was if they could play football well enough to get a scholarship. That wasn’t an option for Homer, an average player, but his fascination with the launch of Soviet Sputnik 1 and witnessing it streak across the sky inspired him to build a rocket. Enlisting the help of three friends, they learned through many failures. Their goal was to enter their rocket in the county science fair. So they were working against a deadline. The prize for the winner was a college scholarship.
Homer persisted through rejections, unfortunate circumstances, and his father’s opposition to such a waste of time, to hold onto his dream. Long story short, they won the prize and all four boys went on to graduate from college and live lives of their choosing.
It’s true that sometimes writers just have to plow through to get the work accomplished. But these intangible tools can become worn down and fragile. Not if, but when this happens, do what any good craftsman would do and take care of them. That way they’ll keep working for you for years to come.
Which of your intangible tools is worn down right now? Can you think of other intangibles in your writing experience? What inspires you when you are discouraged as a writer? What books or movies have inspired you in your writing life?
Take good care of the intangible tools in your writer’s toolbox. Which of yours need care now? Click to Tweet.
Sometimes the intangible tools in a writer’s toolbox need a dose of inspiration. Here are suggestions. Click to Tweet.