Thursday, March 13, 2008

Half the Battle

Half the battle.

Knowing is half the battle. Accepting things the way they are is half the battle. Trying is half the battle. Getting up when you fall down is half the battle.

I’ve heard these things my entire life. Everything is always half the battle. Getting a date is half the battle.

Recently, I was chit chatting with a friend of mine. He was talking about a story I wrote. His words were encouraging, which for a writer, is a good thing. So often we get so many discouraging rejections and thoughts about what we’ve written that giving up sometimes becomes an option. When you get to that point of thinking, you are losing the battle.

In talking to my friend, John, I got to see something that you don’t see often enough in the writing world: Enthusiasm. He reminds me a lot of, well, me.

I guess you want an explanation, right? Okay, here we go. A little over two years ago I decided to try and pursue the ‘writing thing’ as people around me call it. When I jumped into it, I was very enthusiastic, asking questions, researching, reading everything that I could get my hands on to see how the big dogs do it.

Then I tried to apply that to my own writing. But, I really didn’t get anywhere for a while. However, I kept on plugging away, finally got a couple of acceptances and then really got excited.

That enthusiasm carried over into +The Horror Library+ and the HL Blog-O-Rama. I love to advertise for people—even though sometimes I don’t think I’m all that good at it. NiNe QuestioNs is a direct result of my excitement and dedication to writing and the people involved in it.

I have other things I am excited about, Dark Recesses Press being right at the top of that list. Followed closely by my new project, Theater of Nightmares, a deviation from the normal rules of writing.

But enough about that, back to my friend, John. He is what every writer needs to be, especially starting out: Energetic, enthusiastic, excited. He is halfway there, in my opinion.

Here is why: how many times have you been rejected and gotten down about it? How many times have you thought your writing sucks? How many times have you been told you don’t have what it takes to do this or that or the other? Without enthusiasm (and really thick skin) you would have given in. Throw in some determination and you got yourself a recipe for success.

This is what I see in John. Excitement. Enthusiasm. High Energy. Determination. These things are all half the battle.

I don’t believe in the theory that you have to be talented to be good at something. I believe if you try hard enough, long enough, you can be successful. Those four traits I just mentioned in the previous paragraph are all part of trying and working. It doesn’t mean you’re the most talented person, but it means you are willing to do what it takes to succeed.

I know several writers, who at the moment are better at the craft than my friend, but they are not nearly as dedicated to it, or enthusiastic about it. Some of them tend to give up easily on projects when it isn’t going the way they want to. No, you’re not going to get anywhere like that. A few rejections and some of them are ready to call it quits. Nope, not going anywhere that way, either.

In the last couple of months I’ve read 8 or so stories written by John. He has good ideas and good storytelling abilities. His enthusiasm at becoming better at it is refreshing. I, for one, have that same feeling when I pen a story—I want to get better at it and I want to get published on a regular basis.

So, after all of this rambling on, what have we learned? Not much? Gee, thanks. No, we have learned that enthusiasm really is half the battle. Everything else will fall in line if you just believe in yourself and get excited about what you are doing. That is half the battle. . . along with all those other halves. You’re bound to go right with that positive attitude.

Okay, I’m done taking up your time. I’m AJ and I’m out.

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