Tunes for a Monday Morning
On giving ourselves permission...

Climbing the hill: reflections on persistence

Hillside 1

"Writing is difficult. You do it all alone without encouragement and without any certainty that you'll ever be published or paid or even that you'll be able to finish the particular work you've begun. It isn't easy to persist amid all that. Sometimes when I'm interviewed, the interviewer either compliments me on my 'talent,' my 'gift,' or asks me how I discovered it. I used to struggle to answer this politely, to explain that I didn't believe much in writing talent. People who want to write either do it or they don't. At last I began to say that my most important talent -- or habit -- was persistence. Without it, I would have given up writing long before I finished my first novel. It's amazing what we can do if we simply refuse to give up."  - Octavia E. Butler

Hillside 2

"Of course you must perservere. Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst."  -  Henri Cartier-Bresson

Hillside 3

"The rewrites are a struggle right now. Sometimes I wish writing a book could just be easy for me at last. But when I think about it practically, I am glad it's a struggle. I am (as usual) attempting to write a book that's too hard for me. I'm telling a story I'm not smart enough to tell. The risk of failure is huge. But I prefer it this way. I'm forced to learn, forced to smarten myself up, forced to wrestle. And if it works, then I'll have written something that is better than I am."  - Shannon Hale

Hillside 4

"What is it about writing that makes it -- for some of us -- as necessary as breathing? It is in the thousands of days of trying, failing, sitting, thinking, resisting, dreaming, raveling, unraveling that we are at our most engaged, alert, and alive. Time slips away. The body becomes irrelevant. We are as close to consciousness itself as we will ever be. This begins in the darkness. Beneath the frozen ground, buried deep below anything we can see, something may be taking root. Stay there, if you can. Don’t resist. Don’t force it, but don’t run away. Endure. Be patient. The rewards cannot be measured. Not now. But whatever happens, any writer will tell you: This is the best part."   - Dani Shapiro (Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of the Creative Life)

Hillside 5

"We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are."  - Tobias Wolff

Comments