The above two sayings are good old British slang relating to courage. Courage was defined by Winston Churchill as, ‘Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities ... because it is the quality that guarantees all others.’
The word courage is often used in the wrong context. Courage is not, feeling or not feeling fear, it is not doing great deeds or with life-and-death situations. But you often need courage to do or feel these things.
Courage is a form of stubbornness. You don’t want to stop whatever you’re doing even when you need to because you’re exhausted or shamed. Courage is as necessary in everyday life as it is in moments of great turmoil. Therefore, because courage is as essential to the writer as breathing, it stands to reason that the writer who lacks courage will never thrive.
I’ll put it in simple words. You as a writer are going to try and sell your works to people who don’t care whether you make it or not – or in this scenario, breathe. You’re going to show all your hard efforts to a variety of people: editors, maybe agents, publishers and hopefully and eventually your readers. You’re going to persuade some or (all of them) how talented you are and they must present or read your work in a world who has never even heard of you.
And all the time you’re doing this you’re not going to succeed. You’ll send out your manuscript or a sample of your work and they’ll come back with little notes saying ‘sorry but not for us’ etc. Or you’ll sit and watch your rankings slide and slide on Amazon.
When this happens you’re going to feel like hell. You’ll take all the rejections seriously and personally. You’ll feel hurt, let down, ashamed and you’ll want to crawl away and die.
But let’s take a handful of magic fairy dust ~ courage. You push the rejections into a deep dark drawer, send out some more tweets/ emails to friends and you take one day at a time and PRESTO! You’ve sold something! You’ll see the magic ranking on Amazon move up a notch and you think you’re going to succeed. Maybe you won’t, but once you’ve sold one you’ll keep going and you’ll sell again.
Perhaps you think, let’s try to self-publish. You’ve had enough of dealing with agents and publishers. And in doing so you’ll have a huge new load on your mind from writing the book to artwork, formatting the e-version, selling and marketing! You might have enough money to get someone to help you, but whatever you do; you’re investing in your talent to write a good story. And it is a story worth spending the time in reading. It doesn’t stop there…as you need to write another and another to keep those readers hooked.
So you’ve made it. You’re selling books every day…but wait a minute…you’ve just received a horrible review. You’ll have people who think they’re far better at writing than you are! For shame! But you’ll also receive those glowing, fabulous reviews that make it all worthwhile. And for every good review there’s always the chance you’ll receive a bad one. Don’t be disheartened. You’ve only got to check out some of the great writers, Dickens, Bronte, Tolkien, Twain, Fitzgerald, Salinger, Steinbeck, Churchill, Shakespeare et al. only to find they’ve all been on the receiving end of some lousy reviews.
I’m always delighted by the good reviews, and I’m always hurt by the bad ones. It is life and it is what makes us human.
So carry on writing your books and find your audience. You might discover some of your friends ignore you; after all you’re succeeding where they’ve failed. You might have to put them out of mind, even your family are not always as supportive as they could be. All the time you’re still facing that chance of failure.
So far you’ve felt pain and rebuff and insignificance. You’ve had your talent and your hope battered, and you’ve cried your private tears, while putting on a brave face in public.
You are just beginning to realise you will never leave the struggle behind. Every book is another chance to fail as much as it can succeed. Every day is a challenge, and every day requires courage.
You have to place yourself in a position to fail, or you cannot succeed. Courage is saying “One more step’… up that mountain, taking your own path. It takes courage, but it only takes the sort of courage everybody can have. The real courage is not to quit when quitting would be the easy thing to do. Remember. All you have to do is take one more step.
Thank you for dropping by and reading my blog post today. I have a lot of writer friends who often write and bemoan their lot, whether it is from a bad review or just a feeling of isolation. I hope I give them the help and support they need when they need it most. A writer’s life is often hard and lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Make good friends, treasure them and help one another, after all it might be you needing their help one day.
Thanks and have a super week!