We’ve all heard the rejection accounts from the most successful authors. Stephen King was turned down 80 times by publishers, with his horror story Carrie. Harry Potter almost never saw the light of day because of the number of rejections J. K. Rowling had from publishers. After his 27th rejection, Dr Seuss considered burning the book he had worked on over many, many months. Even the amazing Agatha Christie fielded six rejections prior to success with one of the most iconic detectives ever, Hercule Poirot.
Fast forward to April 17,2023 as Susannah Scaroni, paralympic gold medalist, scored her first win after nine attempts at the Boston Marathon, Wheelchair Division. She finished in 1 hour, 41 minutes, 45 seconds. She beat the former record holder by a more than five minutes.
A car crash had left Scaroni paralyzed when she was 5. She determined she would never let that hold her back. Scaroni represented the USA in the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London followed by the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Los Angeles. She touched gold in the 2021 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo. Susannah Scaroni has challenged almost every major U.S. marathon. She captured first place in Los Angeles (2013 and 2014) and winning two back-to-back victories in New York and Chicago Marathons, both in 2022. Boston Marathon was a stunning achievement; she was alone at the finish.
Why mix Susannah Scaroni’s achievement with writing? Writing can be a dalliance or a commitment. Maybe you like the idea of being seen on a book tour, having your name in big letters on a book cover, or wistfully fantasize about a movie deal. The test of attainment is consistency and self-motivation.
It isn’t endless drudgery, but it is a core motivation that you shore up with time management, working when you’d rather binge watch. It is always keeping an eye out for improvement, not just hearing it from the critique group or your partner, but using it when it means starting over or throwing out favorite passages. And it is the commitment in the way an athlete trains with a dedication to self, to the work and to a “room of one’s own.” Every day.
I leave you with a quote from Stephen Covey: “I’m not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”