Stunt-riding your success

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In novelist Bret Lott’s memoir about writing, Before We Get Started, he examines a central question every writer must answer, if they are to keep on writing. Why do we write? The answer is different for everyone, each of us with our own story. But continuing to write is the best, the primary habit of a successful practice. Persistence is the essential element in accomplishment. Talent is great, but those who persist have a better batting average than those with talent but not enough drive.

Lott quotes a thicket of great writers in the chapter called Why Write, Anyway? He invokes the words of John Gardner, author of The Art of Fiction:

A writer’s successes bring him more than praise, publication or money; they also help him toward confidence. With each success, writers, like stunt riders and ballet dancers, learn to dare more.

We work to build that confidence in The Writer’s Workshop, where our group members hear what has succeeded in their new writing, almost as soon as they are done writing it. It’s one level of success that can lead to others — revision, submission, publication. Taking the saddle of success leaves you ready to spur yourself onward, to keep riding, writing.

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