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Relentless Writing

When asked about the path to publishing my agent Rena will say that everyone has a different path and no one knows the shape that path will take. And—it’s never what they’d expect. She’s right. And yet there is one thing that all agented and published authors have in common—relentlessness. We are relentless writers.

We don’t stop because we’re sick. We don’t give up because it’s hard, and when our butts hurt too much from sitting while we write, we cobble together a standing desk, stand up, and keep on writing. The number of nights I have spent not watching television I’m dying to see (looking at you: Sense8, Westworld, and Handmaid’s Tale) and instead gotten through a revision of just one more chapter are too many to count. My husband might have a count though; you can check with him. But the point is—books don’t write themselves, much to the chagrin of writers everywhere, and even worse, they really don’t revise themselves.

There are hundreds of posts on how to become a published author from wonderful credible sources. There are six things every YA author should know, eight habits of highly successful YA authors, there’s what not to do from a teen reader, and the amazing editor Cheryl Klein’s tips for how to write a YA novel in just a month of NaNoWriMo—and they are all worth reading. Or take a master class with Judy Blume! I mean, I’ll join you.

But the bottom line in any author’s life is that it is a LIFE. A writing life. Writers might pause their writing for a move, for an illness, for recovery from trauma or from child birth or from exhaustion, but a writer doesn’t stop. They are relentless in their pursuit of the perfect prose or the perfect plot or even both. And they never, never, never give up.

So you want to be a writer? Ask yourself: am I relentless? If not: can you be?

That’s what—and all—it takes.

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