“Persistence prevails when all else fails.” That’s one of my favorite quotes. I have it on a plaque. Persistence is one of the few things you can control and we all know how Italian women want control.
Recently, I put together a new workshop for writers. This one is about – you guessed it – persistence. The writer’s journey is a long one and without a little persistence and a few good laughs you’ll give up. Planning the workshop got me to thinking about Noodge 1.
He started playing the drums at the age of 8. He’s 15 now, (I am so not old enough to have a fifteen year-old) and has learned a valuable lesson about persistence. It pays off. He tried out for the marching band drum line last year as a Freshman. He made the cymbals. Cymbals is the place where most kids start. You have to work your way up to a more coveted spot like Tenor drum or Snare drum. There is also the Bass drum, which a Freshman can make. Noodge was disappointed he landed on the cymbal line. He wasn’t even going to be holding a drum.
He worked hard; never missing a practice or game. He rehearsed his part as a cymbal player and he continued to work on playing his snare drum. He knew his marks on the field during the halftime show. He had a difficult person on the cymbal line he needed to learn to deal with.
Auditions rolled around for the 2015 fall season. He practiced that audition piece and when it was time to show the judges what he knew he was ready. He made the Snare drum. This is what he said to me, “I worked hard and it paid off.” That was the best lesson he could’ve learned and I didn’t have to do a thing. Persistence.
Parents need to be persistent. As a parent, you’re going to have to say “No!” more than once. You’re going to have to remind them to do their homework, to choose the right friends, to be active, to read. The list goes on and on. It’s exhausting. It would be much easier to give in to your child’s demands, to let them do what they want, but you must stay strong. You know what’s best for them.
Writers need to be persistent. You have to show up every day. Write something. The first draft will stink. I promise you that, so forgive yourself now and get the work done. Your gem will shine in the editing, but you have to show up to do that too. You need to learn your craft and meet other writers who can be a support to you.
But it’s also about passion. You can’t show up every day if you don’t love what you do. Noodge 1 wouldn’t have practiced, even under the threat of bodily harm, (which no one was going to suggest, by the way) if he didn’t love to play the drums. There have been many times along my writer’s journey where I woke at 5 am to write. Someone said to me once they could never get up at 5. They hadn’t found their passion yet. The only reason I could be up at that hour was because of my love of writing. I have to write. I can’t imagine not writing. I would never get up at 5 am to make a three-course meal. I’d rather starve. Passion is what got me to be a published author. Passion will take you where you want to go too.
If you could be anything at all, what would that look like?