Saturday, 10 January 2015

Staying in the Game - Part 2: Stamina

Stamina to my mind is something that professional athletes aspire to, especially those of the marathon and ultra-marathon persuasion. Come to think of it, anyone doing ultra-anything, probably has the have the stamina of a lion in mating season. Yeah, they go at it for days at a time - and without food!
Mating lions in the Chobe (c) Linzé Brandon
So where does it leave the writer?
Should we start getting fit to write for hours and hours at a time? Writing is an intellectual exercise and hours and hours of anything intellectual is bound to be crap because we are not built for effectiveness, productivity and concentration for hours at a time.
So I guess the answer isn't that. But it is time dependent for sure. We have to persevere. We are in this for the long haul after all.
Writing everyday to form the habit, but not just for ten or fifteen or thirty days. We have to do this...forever. If you want to be a writer, this is a lifetime commitment. Of course, when the first book is done, it's done. You move on to the next project: research, planning, writing, editing, until its done, and then on to the next.

Before indie publishing became a viable option with better quality end results, traditional publishing was the only way and many, many writers gave up because of that horrible thing called a rejection letter. And yet many didn't give up. They kept on going. Writing, submitting query letters and manuscripts, until they found a publisher.
They had the stamina to keep going, because they did not see the end in the rejection letter. They dug deep to keep going, no matter how many letters, no matter how long it took. And when it happened, they started on the next book.
Writing is a ultra-marathon with no winners post, only milestones along the way. Set your milestones (eg. write a novel or two every year) and your stamina will grow. We practice to hone our skills, so we must practice to grow our stamina, mental and physical, to keep writing.
Publishing isn't the end, it is merely a milestone on that ultra-marathon journey of being a writer.
So we apply the discipline we need to write everyday, to reach the milestones we set for ourselves, to gain the stamina to keep going.

On a personal note: I have had my share of rejection letters. At the time I had no idea what I was doing, and either ignorance or arrogance kept me going, because this was what I wanted to do.

In 2015 I am going to publish my third novel and two non-fiction books - my next three milestones on my journey as a writer.

Have you set your milestones on your writing journey yet?