Home > Random Musings, Writing, Writing Advice > The Wisdom of Being Stubborn

The Wisdom of Being Stubborn

I’ve always been stubborn. Insistent. I remember, a year or so, warning a friend: I can be pushy, sometimes. I don’t mean anything by it. Feel free to say no.

Of course, I’m not the obnoxious kind of pushy. I won’t try to sell you a Bible or insist that you take your shoes off when you come inside. Most of time. If they’re muddy, or covered in something that smells like poop, remove them.

If I believe in something or someone, I won’t give it up or walk away easily. I hold on. I push forward. I have crap days where I won’t get out of my PJs and ice cream is served for dinner. Preferably on waffles, as a sandwich.

I don’t have a naturally tough skin. Chances are, if you hurt me, I’ll cry. But I probably won’t do it in front of you.

Like I said, I’m stubborn. I’m the kind of stubborn that’s probably genetic. I come from a long line of tough women, on both sides. And god knows, the minute you tell me I CAN’T do something, that’s the minute I decide to serve up some nice, fried CROW.

Stubborn isn’t always easy to swallow, but it gets you places. It’s has gotten me places. You know what gets your nowhere? Can’t. Never. Those words are a plague of confidence-eating locusts. They will eat up your soul and then start in on whatever’s left.

Anything worth doing is hard. Acting is hard. Writing is hard. Taking photographs is hard. Each thing presents its own challenges. If getting your photos in a magazine was easy, everyone would be Annie Leobowitz. If writing a best seller (and SELLING it) was easy, we’d all be Nora Roberts and Stephen King. If being a successful actor was simple, half of LA would be Johnny Depp’s equal. (That man doesn’t just occupy a role. He becomes it.)

Writing is not easy. It is like trying to transcribe Greek, one-handed, underwater. Selling your writing – whether it’s a novel or a story – is not a picnic. It’s necessary, but not easy. People want to like your writing. Every editor or agent wants you, and me, to be the next Hemingway, Plath, or Gaiman. They want that so bad. Why? Because they all like stories. They want to be in your corner.

When your work is met with compliments, the world is your own little universe of Joy and Awesomeness. When it’s not, it’s like someone took a look at your baby and not only said it was ugly, but excused himself/herself politely from the room. “Thanks, but…” is right up there with “we need to talk.” Nothing, NOTHING, good ever comes after those two phrases.

But the difference between a writer and someone who once wanted to BE a writer? Well, for one thing, you write. To me, that’s a given. The other thing is you endure. Sure, you might get a little neurotic. There might be a cork board where you tack up your rejections. You might compile a spreadsheet. There will be days you will eat nothing but macaroni and cheese, while wearing your favorite yoga pants.

That aside, you endure. Like Kathryn Stockett  (thank you, Jessica, for the link!) did. Not only did she endure, but she did what everybody should do: she went back to the writing and tried to figure out how to make it better. She always sought out her brethren (or to borrow Chuck Wendig’s term, penmonkey) via conferences.

But mostly? She was stubborn. I have to say, I completely approve.

  1. August 11, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I have been known to be a tad stubborn. Ok, very stubborn. Um, yeah, more like neurotically stubborn. Let me tell you that I wouldn’t have it any other way. For all my pushiness, my hardened exterior with an interior the consistency of whipped cream, for all the anxiety, the internal monologues, the crazy nights, the raging torments, I give thanks because I don’t think I would have what I do have without those.

  2. Anonymous
    August 11, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I wish I could +1 this post more than once. PS Yoga Pants + mac and chz = alicia wallow days. completely.

  3. August 13, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    can’t wait to see the help! i read the book and loved it!

    • August 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm

      The movie is AMAZING. Warning: don’t go on a hungry stomach. The food they show Minny cooking looks heavenly.

      • Ali
        August 18, 2011 at 8:25 am

        Even TALKING about it makes me hungry. lol I can’t wait to see the movie and read the book.

  4. August 16, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I am glad you’re stubborn. Your pushing has gotten me to write on more than one occasion when I was convinced that there was no point because my writing sucks anyway. So thank you. And if you ever need a stubborn push your direction, you just let me know. *grin*

    • Ali
      August 18, 2011 at 8:24 am

      I may need a stubborn push, soon. Because I’m nearly ready to make manuscript flambe! *gets gasoline* 😉

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