When I was still an educator, I stressed the importance of persistence to my students. Every semester, I would share the famous quote from Calvin Coolidge:
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Life has a way of placing obstacles in your way, and they will test your resolve to follow through on achieving your goals. It’s no secret that I’ve faced my fair share of adversity, and many times, I’ve thought that I would never overcome some of the challenges I’ve faced. On the darkest nights, I felt as if my life had been meaningless because I hadn’t been able to complete all five books of the Brotherhood of Dwarves series. That shortcoming irritated me like a splinter in my psyche.
However, last night, I finished the rough draft of book five. It took a total of 14 years (probably twice as long as it reasonably should have), but through perseverance, I was able to see it to the end. No matter what else, that story has been told the way it was envisioned when it first came to me. Obviously, there is still a lot of editing to do, and then the hard work of promotion begins, but the story is there. At this moment, it still doesn’t feel real, but I have achieved the primary goal I set for myself.
Finishing a book is a great rush. There’s a sense of accomplishment that not much else measures up to. Finishing a series is something else entirely. These characters have been a part of my life through so many ups and downs, and in some ways, they were the solid ground beneath my feet when everything else felt like quicksand. To have finished their tale is bittersweet, albeit more sweet. Now, I get to begin the other projects that I’ve wanted to work on and start achieving the other goals I’ve set for myself. And as I conquer these new challenges, I will press on with persistence.
I got busy yesterday and didn’t get to post my Monday Motivational, so I guess technically this is a Tuesday Titillation. However, building on the theme of some of the previous Motivationals, you are in charge of your future. You are in charge of your road to success, even when it seems like obstacles are in your way. Every obstacles is an opportunity to prove yourself, so if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. Take charge, don’t make excuses, and work a little harder today to achieve your dreams.
Just a quick update, book five is almost complete. All fourteen chapters are written, and I’m currently writing the epilogue. The editor is already at work polishing, and the cover art is nearly finished. I can’t wait to share this cover with you. The work is absolutely beautiful, richly textured with depth and energy. It’s a fitting cover to close out the series. I don’t have a firm timetable for release yet because I want the editing to be thorough, but we are close. Hopefully within the next month or two.
I’ve been working pretty hard on the farm lately. I may try to post a couple of updates on the things I have going on here. The labor has been intense, but I enjoy it. Also, it’s good to feel productive with something that I’m building with my own two hands. I’ve wanted to get this going for some time now, and despite the setbacks, I’m still motivated on achieving these goals. So over the next week or so, please look for a post on what’s going on.
I admire the doers–the people who step into the arena, throw down the gauntlet, and give everything they have in pursuit of their goals. Even when they fail, the doers achieve something the talkers never will. The pride and sense of accomplishment that doing offers survive even the most crushing defeat. Also, failure can be our greatest teacher, and those who have fallen yet found the courage to try again do so with renewed strength and wisdom.
Whatever your dream, get started today. Write that book. Start that business. Pursue that degree. As long as you give it your best effort and learn from the experience, you will not regret the decision.
Stop talking; start doing.
For this week’s Motivational Monday post, we have this quote from C.S. Lewis, “You can make anything by writing.” While this quote is geared towards writers, I would like to apply it to everyone. Each of us is the architect of our future, and each of us has the power to design tomorrow as we see fit. I know I am guilty too often of limiting myself because of fears or insecurities, and I try regularly to overcome these self-imposed limitations by focusing on the goals I have set for myself and trusting that I deserve to achieve them. One of the most important steps of building a better future is to believe that you are worthy of success, prosperity, and happiness.
For many of us, that is our biggest obstacle to creating the future we desire, but if we want to rise above our current circumstances, we first have to believe that we deserve that future. From there, we can then begin building the steps to make that future ours. For those of us who are writers, those steps include not only writing the works we have in our heads but also marketing and promoting those books. If your goal is to lose weight or improve your health, those steps will include improving your diet and exercise routines. If your goal is to learn more job skills or expand your education, your first steps will be to change how you spend your free time to include studying and learning.
No matter what our goals might be, we can build the future to get there if we are willing to develop a feasible plan to get there and then stick to that plan until we reach our objectives. Creating a new life is a process, and like any other process, it requires perseverance and persistence whenever we hit the rough patches. However, we really can create any future for ourselves, just as a writer can make whatever our imaginations can conjure.
Someone asked me recently what’s the one historical event I would like to witness. For me, the moment I would most like to experience is the birth of the printing press. In my mind, this is the most significant event in human history. Prior to this point, information was centralized in the hands of an elite minority, and populations were controlled through this lack of access to knowledge. The printing press, however, changed the balance. Suddenly, as the mode of production for written works became more efficient and less expensive, a broader spectrum of people were able to participate in the exchange of ideas. This phenomenon gave birth to the Reformation and Renaissance, which in turn gave birth to the democratic revolutions of the 18th century.
The control and dissemination of information are the most powerful forces in the world. Opinions are shaped, trends are controlled, and markets are manipulated through the flow of information. With enough propaganda and misinformation, millions of people can be convinced of any number of falsehoods. Political careers rise and fall in this manner, and with the internet, the spread of false information can take on staggering proportions. Today, we see once again the centralization of information in the hands of an elite minority (just look at how few corporations control every media outlet in the world). However, much like before in human history, diversity of voices can be the panacea for tyranny.
As a side note, there are actually two moments I would like to witness in terms of the birth of the printing press. One, of course, is the Guggenheim Press in 1439, one of the most widely known and celebrated inventions in mankind’s history. However, two hundred years before that, faced with invasion by the Mongols, Korean religious scholars invented their own printing press in order to preserve sacred texts that the Mongols had been destroying. I would love to witness both events and have an opportunity to observe the similarities and differences between the processes of each invention.
The world is awash in negativity right now. Our newsfeeds are clogged with political diatribes from both sides, and with all the turmoil surrounding the American political circus, the future feels bleak for many people. However, one fact I’ve learned is that regardless of your political beliefs, regardless of what direction you think the country is moving, regardless of whether you support the current administration or are protesting in the streets, if you want your voice to be heard, you will have to persevere and keep working hard at your efforts.
The future belongs to those with stronger will, not necessarily those with righteousness or ability on their side. Your resolve to stick to your principles and work towards your goals are what will be the difference between long-term success and failure. I know this from firsthand, hard-won experience. Life has knocked me down more times than I can count, and each time, I’ve picked myself up and worked a little harder (and smarter) at my endeavors. If you keep your efforts the same, your results will never improve. You absolutely must strive to work harder every day.
No matter what temporary darkness shrouds us, I still believe our brightest days are in the future. I still believe that at its core, humanity is honest, sincere, and peace loving. I still believe that one day we will achieve a society that rewards hard work, embraces diversity, blends competition and cooperation, and provides a safety net so that productive citizens can survive life’s catastrophes. Those of us who dream of that society will have to strengthen our resolve and work that much harder to overcome the turmoils of today.
Here is another update on book five. I’m about halfway through chapter 14, and so far, I’m pretty pleased with it. I’m hoping to have this chapter finished in the next week or so, and then all that’s left is the epilogue. So far, this manuscript is the longest of the series. I haven’t done a total word count yet, but my guess is somewhere in the neighborhood of 100k. There will probably be a little trimming in the middle, but this book will be the most substantial of the five. The first couple of chapters have already been sent to the editor, so that process is underway as well. Also, the artist and I have begun the process of putting together the cover. Exciting days are ahead for fans of the series, so stay tuned.