Last week I wrote of the many elements needed to create a fabulous book. One element I forgot to mention, however, is one of the most important of all:
The art of perseverance comes in many forms and is tough to master. Most prevalent is the ever difficult never-give-up attitude no matter what obstacles block your way and knock you down. The motivation to set goals and keep them -- the ability to reset and reboot when you don't.
Another word for perseverance is grit. A wonderful word that brings to mind the hard, sweaty, pushing through a wall of dirt image. The grit to succeed.
...And the satisfaction of completing a novel!
One stepping stone to not only finish a manuscript but produce a well-crafted, can't-put-down story, is having a critique partner or partners. Also doing research, taking classes, attending workshops, conferences and retreats. And being involved with whatever group you can find that offers like-minded writers with the same professional focus as yourself.
Another option: Writing contests.
Contests are offered by nearly every genre and writing organization available. They are a great way to get your work (most often anonymously) judged and critiqued by fellow writers. Many offer the top scorers incentives including a read through -- and sometimes a critique -- by editors from publishing houses and notable literary agents.
Another way to hone your skills as a writer is to volunteer your services as a judge for contests. This is an excellent way to identify what works and what doesn't in a story. It helps us to read and evaluate the written word, to learn and grow as writers.
I know judging and critiquing contests has helped me immensely.
We all need a healthy dose of perseverance just to get through our daily lives. For a writer, working at the business of crafting a novel ... Supersize it!
** Look for future postings with more specific information about critique partners, writing organizations, conferences, and contests.