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Know Jack #289 Still Crazy After All These Drafts

"In life, there is nothing more common than talent and intelligence. What is missing is passion, persistence, commitment, and dedication." ~

Calvin Coolidge

Amazon’s simple self-publishing process has made it inexpensive—free actually—and easy for anybody to publish a book. Writing one is a little tougher. Writing one that breaks free of your circle of friends and family is harder still. Traditionally publishing a book that produces a stream of royalties beyond monthly coffee money is, if there is such a thing, grounds for boasting.

There’s a vast sea of talented writers in our world. As President Coolidge pointed out, talent is not enough to guarantee success. That’s true in almost any endeavor, but we are talking about writing. Talent and intelligence are indispensable to writing, don’t try to leave home without them. However, you won’t get far on them alone.

Passion, persistence, commitment, and dedication are essential to going places. It’s somewhat difficult to separate where passion ends and commitment begins although I suppose if you dissect the words themselves you could arrive at a workable answer. If you did work it out, the answer would be moot in any case. I think the entire package is needed to do much more than just begin.

The remnants of passion are found in trash bins, back corners of closets, and the dark recesses of desk drawers all around the world. These almost forgotten places are home to books begun by talented people. They genuinely felt the fire to write. The two most likely results of their passion are they quit when they got bogged down and the fire went out.

Or they finished their masterpiece novel or a treatise of quantum physics, pulled it from the printer, held their work up for a peek into the bright sunlight of the world of writing, and quickly sought shelter in other less derided pursuits.

You don’t have to be crazy to pour yourself into a book only to see its carcass picked clean by vultures or have your friends give you that special smile, you know the one, and say, “Oh, yeah, it’s really good.” You need not be crazy to be dissected by critics, have your work shredded by editors, and be constantly rejected. No, you don’t have to be crazy to want to do that—but it helps.

It helps because that rave review is coming. You know it is. Somebody is actually going to read that book and say, “Daaammmn!” Somebody will read it and cry or smile. Talent alone won’t get you there, but it is a place you can go if you pay the fare.


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