What determines whether someone–whether they are an athlete, artist, musician, or in any other profession–is successful? It turns out it’s not natural talent, or even intelligence. It’s grit. At least, that’s what Angela Duckworth says in Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
I’ve been listening to this book on Audible, and have been greatly encouraged by it. Duckworth says grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals. It’s working hard to make your future a reality. Grit is a resilience and single-mindedness–the ability to keep trying, even when you fail, over and over again. It’s believing in yourself and what you are attempting to do, even when no one else does. It’s figuring out what you need to do to reach your goals, and never giving up.
Listening to Duckworth’s ideas has given me fresh enthusiasm for tackling the next round of revisions of my book, when I’d much rather be out with friends, enjoying the outdoors, or plopping down on the couch with a movie or book. Well okay, I still do that sometimes–life can’t be all gritty work.
I met book coach Jennie Nash at the San Francisco Writers Conference. Jennie wrote in her blog (www.jennienash.com) that the miracle mindset is what makes her crazy. The miracle mindset is the idea that writers can somehow leapfrog over the hard work and immense investment of time it usually takes to get a book published. Nash says the miracle mindset skips over the basic truth that writing a book that people want to read is hard.
I’ve been learning this all too well as I go through this book-writing process for the first time. It’s easy to be confused and discouraged by conflicting feedback I receive from readers, or from the lack of response of agents to my book proposal. I will admit to some pretty low days when I turned my back on writing and wondered why I was working so hard at something with such a high failure rate.
But I do know why I keep coming back to my writing. I can’t give it up. I have wanted to write a book for far too long to give up. In the meantime, I learn how to be a better writer and improve my book, word by word. Maybe that’s grit.