I had dinner with my friend last night and we always tend to talk about books, writing and publishing. We were talking about querying and agents and just the exhausting process that can be. Last year, she queried her book about ten times before she decided she couldn't handle that at the moment and took a break. And I'm no stranger to querying so we were brainstorming for the summer.
Anyway, we were talking about the eventual things and the things we want and the what ifs. I was talking about a recent experience and she looked at me and said "Beth Revis." I faltered a little because I wasn't sure what she meant. "You know how many books she had to write before she published Across the Universe? Wasn't it like twenty? That's going to be you." (It was 10, I think!) Now, no one wants to hear that so I said "What?" My friend elaborated.
"Beth didn't quit. She knew what she wanted and she kept trying and it made her stronger and look where she is now. I don't think she regrets any of her struggles. I think that's you: you're like Beth. I'm not saying I think it will take you twenty attempts, but I think you're always going to keep trying and then one day it will be better than you thought and you will be stronger for it than all the people who are handed their dreams."
I'm sharing this story not be all "look what people think about me!" because I am not that person. I don't think these things about myself most days. I don't feel like the type of writer that people should love or the editor that people praise or even much of a friend sometimes. I don't feel extraordinary or advanced in any way as awesome as Beth. I'm sharing this story because, ultimately, this is Beth's story. It's Beth Revis who kept pursuing, who never quit, who succeeded--and because of that I think there's strength that we can all find in what she did.
Sometimes other people succeed before us. Sometimes we feel like we've worked harder or longer or "deserve it more." We pour our hearts out into book after book after book only to be rejected. We can't find the words to keep going or the story or we have to re-write again or start over or (insert situation here.) During this, it's important to find strength to keep going. And after my friend's comment, I now have another place to find strength to keep going: Beth Revis...and some delicious cheese fries!
Where do you to turn to for strength? Is there anyone in your life who's offering encouragement, inspiration, perseverance? What keeps you going?