The Page a Day Writers Group

How Do You Spell Success? C-O-M-M-I-T-M-E-N-T

Posted on: April 14, 2010

Oh. My. Gosh. I had to look up how to spell commitment. Did it have two m’s or two t’s? Scary that. Anyway, recently a writer friend of mine told me she just wanted to see if she had what it takes to write a publishable novel. Here’s the thing: what it takes it c-o-m-m-i-t-m-e-n-t. How much are we willing to put into our craft? How many hours? Can we put our egos on hold long enough to hear feedback that includes necessary changes we need to make in our writing? Can we stick it out long enough to get competent, even clever in communicating stories to our readers?

I recently interviewed Robyn Benincasa, extreme racer and founder of the Athena Foundation, an organization that offers athletic training to women recovering from chronic or serious illnesses.  The group also finances participants’ first athletic goal event, such as a 15K or a marathon.

Robyn says, “Commitment is what happens after the fun is gone.”

She was talking about athletic training and what happens to people in the midst of an Iron Man or even a 10K run. Who can push past what is comfortable? Which ones can have fear, be sore, feel like they have hit the wall and finish the race anyway? Who can keep going when the fun takes a hike?

But this applies to writing, too. In the beginning, the idea for a new story courts, then scoops me up and enthralls me. I can’t wait to get my butt in the chair. My 6 mile morning runs, my waking fantasies, and particularly my sleeping dreams when I get to play one of my characters, keep me absorbed and excited through the entire rough draft.

It’s quite a different feeling in the middle of that umpteenth revision needed to get a tricky scene to really work, the next query or queries that must go out in spite of the sting from the latest rejection, or the annoying doubt poking at my chest that a novel or a parenting book I’ve invested a gazillion hours into will never see anything but the inside of a file drawer.

Somewhere I know that if Robyn can compete in these grueling extreme races with resurfaced hip bones and osteoarthritis, and the “goddesses” that work with the Athena Project can coach cancer survivors to finishing a marathon, I can go the distance in my writer’s world and get my work published.

And that’s that.

Happy (and sometimes not so happy, but so what?) writing!

Trish Wilkinson

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3 Responses to "How Do You Spell Success? C-O-M-M-I-T-M-E-N-T"

I thought marriage was what happened after the fun was gone. Don’t quote me!

Claire–lol! Sounds like a dearth of dongle, to me.

Trish, it’s great that Robyn inspired your writing commitment. The achievement of a long held dream is worth every molecule of sweat that we put into it. I know you can do it.!

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Kirsten. I just have to grind out the revisions for these last few chapters of Taking Chances. Queries are going out beginning August 1!

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Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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