Well, James Scott Bell didn’t waste any time getting right down to business. I love it. Chapter two begins with a list of ten characteristics he thinks we must have or start developing in order to have a successful fiction-writing career. I created a visual of how I think I measure up:
I love what he said about talent. It’s the least important. “Everyone has some talent. It’s what you do with it that counts.” Gives me hope. 🙂 The cool thing about this list is that it all comes down to choice, except Talent, of course. We can choose to be committed, teachable, and passionate. The first battle is in our mind. “Because what happens in your head affects everything else.” What about you? What are your strengths? Weaknesses? What are you or will you do this year to improve on them?
At the end of the chapter Bell gives us several quotes. What are your thoughts? Did you write them down?
“I decided that I would continue to write as long as I lived, even if I never sold one thing, because that was what I wanted out of my life. ~George Bernau
When I went through this book the first time, I grabbed a hold of my dream like a bulldog in a dog fight. But since then, I’ve had my jaw pried open and a little reality check. I still resolve to write, forever. But to balance everything, knowing what to sacrifice and what not to. If I knew I would never sell a book…would I keep writing? Perhaps not in the same fashion, but since I will never know I guess I will keep trying because you don’t know until you quit or die trying. Lovely. What do I want out of my life? Is the journey to publication that…consuming? So, going back to the whole lifestyle choice thingy…
“You must want it enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft–then you can add all the genius you like. ~Phyllis Whitney
–Yes! Yes, yes, yes! I totally agree. Literary agent Rachelle Gardner had an awesome post on this topic.
Which, I think, goes hand-in-hand with the next quote:
“In Boot Camp, tough sergeants deliberately try to break the morale of inducted men. Those who break they send back to civilian life, or to some more or less ignominious chore in the army life. There are two or three hundred thousand ‘writers’ who ‘write at’ at writing in this country. Ninety percent of them make next to nothing. The few who do get by are those who were not “broken” in the Boot Camp of their own wills, or lack of same.” ~Jack Woodford
So, what say you?