The Undefeated

I got an email from a friend a while back, a fine writer, who was worried about burnout. It scared me. This was a person who kicked on publishing’s door for years. The perseverance, hard work, and accumulated craftsmanship finally paid off – big time. With that came what we can call the penalties of success. The pressure of deadlines, the constant need to hustle sales, the everyday demands on one’s time that cut into writing production – all those things and more are a constant presence. They drain one’s resources, both physical and psychological. I know, I know – every unpublished author dreams of having those problems. I certainly did. So what can we do about it? My friend simply buckled down and got back to work. A couple of weeks after the disturbing email the ship was righted, back on course, and making excellent headway.

That’s it.

As a writer – or an artist of any other description – you’re the ultimate entrepreneur. The whole shebang starts and ends in that gray goo between your ears. That takes courage. I honestly don’t believe there’s a better word for it. You condition yourself to confront the world on your own terms to express your own thoughts. Sure, we need editors and supporters and, if we’re self-confident enough, we learn from our critics and detractors. But you’re the final arbiter. You’re the initiator and you’re the only one who can bring the project to a satisfactory conclusion. If you break down under the weight of demands, disappointments, distractions, and the inevitable rejection that comes with our craft, you can’t win. Be like my friend; get back to work. The sign in the locker room says Winners never quit, Quitters never win. You can pay a shrink a fortune and not get any better advice.

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