On Courage

Writing is a tough business. It takes determination, skill, endurance, and, as I’ve learned these past few months, courage.

There are several types of courage that we need as writers. The courage to write what’s in our hearts. The courage to submit our work. The courage to face criticism. Today, I want to focus on a kind of courage that I think is under-appreciated by us writers. It’s the courage to get things right.

I think too often we approach edits and revisions with grim stoicism. This is something that has to be done. You are a lazy/amateurish if you don’t get it done. You make this thing perfect, and don’t you dare flinch about it.

As I’ve learned in these past months, however, that actually takes a lot of courage to say that. To say, I’m going to give this story one hundred percent. And it’s not just about facing the amount of work. I’m talking about the courage to say, I’m going to give this my all no matter what.

Let’s face it, when you look at the odds, rejection is inevitable. Even if you make that novel as perfect as you possibly can, it still may never see publication. And when you think of it that way, it’s so easy to say, why would I put all this work into something that might fail?

That’s the courage I’m talking about. The courage to be willing to put your blood, sweat, and tears into something knowing that you may not succeed in the way you hope. To push yourself to the very limit with no guarantee of reward.

It’s that kind of courage that I have had to build in myself again and again over the past fourteen months. And I’ve seen it so many times in my writer friends. It’s something we should celebrate! In my mind, writers are some of the bravest people around. And I’m truly proud to know you all.

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12 Responses to On Courage

  1. Kasie West says:

    Awww, that’s so awesome, and true. It does take courage to write. Rejection is hard, especially when it comes after giving our all on a project. But the world needs entertainment! We must bring it to them! :)

  2. Patti says:

    I guess it’s about being willing to put the work in without the guarantee of success.

  3. I was going to write about Courageā€”I’m glad I didn’t because I couldn’t find the right words.

    It IS scary. Truly. Pushing down The Fear has been the hardest part for me as well.

  4. Natalie says:

    Oh I agree. Writing, hoping for publication, is difficult because so few people actually get their work published. Fear of wasting my time on an impossible dream is probably the hardest part of writing for me.

  5. sraasch says:

    Excellent post :) Thanks — I needed to read this!

  6. Kasie-Yes! I like your conclusion. :)

    Patti-Definitely. You’ve perfectly summed up my post.

    Natalie W.-Yes, The Fear. It’s a stubborn thing. Refuses to go away, it seems.

    Natalie-Exactly. Fear of wasting time. There’s always that little voice in the back of my head, trying to shame me away from writing.

    Sara-Glad you liked it! :)

  7. Hayley says:

    Great post totally boosted my confidence about the piece I just sat down, tore apart and then stappled and tapped back together. Made me feel better, thank you ^__^

  8. We are brave aren’t we? *smile*

    This post made me think of this post by Janet Reid.

    http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2007/11/two-parts-of-brave.html

  9. Awesome. We are a brave breed aren’t we?

  10. Candice says:

    I do fear that I am wasting my time with every edit. That writing at all is a waste of time. But I guess I conquer that fear by pressing forward anyway and telling myself that my writing is worth pursuing…but the fear is still there.

  11. Hayley-Way to go! hehe, glad I could help. :)

    Miriam-Very cool post! Thanks!

    Jessie-We really are.

    Candice-Exactly. I still feel it all the time. It’s literally a constant battle for me. And the fact that we push that fear away is the awesome part. :)

  12. JaneyV says:

    You are inspiring to chickens (like me) everywhere.