Looking for 800-CEO-READ? That's us! Learn More

ChangeThis
Share Download

Perseverance Is the Biggest Talent

Norma Hopcraft

August 08, 2018

"After losing my way in life, just a bit, I re-launched a writing career—a childhood dream—and began to send work to literary magazines. I was bursting with hope for affirmation of my great skill and broad experience. Editors would be glad I sent them work. I would be a literary star. I sent out stories and essays confidently at first. Months later I would get a reply in the mail—from The Paris Review, for example (I'm a sucker for the biggest names). I would stand motionless, desperate for acceptance, floating amongst the stars with hope. I'd slip my finger under a loose corner of the flap and tear. Take the slip of paper and hold it up to my near-sighted eyes. The pain of rejection dragged me from the stars into the red-hot magma at the core of the earth. I'd get a letter from a lit magazine and cringe at the pain I was about to feel. I would try to cut off hope—it seemed easier than to be disappointed again. Then I'd hope against hope, wishing for that surge of affirmation from being accepted. But I knew at this point that it wasn't likely. I'd whip through those three stages several times. Then I would say, 'Open it. It might just be what you want to hear.' I was right twice. But hundreds of times I got a rejection, and each one floored me for days, if not weeks. But I chose each time to keep working at my craft. I may be more talented at dogged perseverance than I am at creative writing. It doesn't matter. I have to write. If I don't, Franz Kafka's quote comes true: "A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity." ... So I've bird-dogged my goal: to keep out of the asylum and instead to benefit the world as my Higher Power wants me to do."

We have updated our privacy policy. Click here to read our full policy.