Perseverance is the backbone of every successful author. The literary world is forged on tales of not giving up, from J.K. Rowling’s 12 rejection letters to Agatha Christie's five years of applying before landing a publishing deal. Every author I interviewed had something to say about perseverance. The ability to ‘keep going’ despite obstacles and set-backs is what sets successful authors apart from those that give up on their writing dreams.

This is part one, of a four-part series:

Part 1: Inspiration & Rejection

Part 2: Perseverance, Self-doubt & Isolation

Part 3: Marketing & Publishing

Part 4: Advice to New Authors

On Perseverance

‘Never give up. Many times, it will feel like the world is against you, but that’s when you dig your heels in and push onward. Perseverance is key to success.’ – Christine Rains

‘Don’t give up! The writer’s life is filled with rejections, doubt, and many tears. It’s part of the process. And every lesson learned along the way makes us better writers.’ – C. P. Patrick

‘There is always a way. If one publishing path doesn’t work out, brainstorm and strategize other options, revise your work, and try again. The word no is subjective. Someone will eventually tell you yes.’ – Caroline George

‘I wasn’t going to let a bad experience be the end. It was only the beginning.’ – Cherie Reich

‘Don’t. Ever. Give. Up. Keep writing. Keep learning from your past rejections and incorporate what you’ve learned in your next book.’ – Kathryn Berla

On Self Doubt

Closely linked to perseverance is the recurring theme of self-doubt and the need to be your biggest advocate.

‘You should always be your biggest advocate. Talk about your books, believe in yourself and put yourself out there…Sometimes that first spectacular “yes” needs to come from you.’ – Jennifer Wilson

‘It wasn’t until my early twenties that I stopped saying “I can’t” and started doing it. I have been writing with fervent passion ever since. Sometimes we are the biggest thing holding ourselves back.’ – Jennifer Wilson.

‘If you want to do it, just do it. As with anything in life, the only way you’ll ever accomplish something is if you pave the road for yourself.’ – J. Kowallis

‘Don’t let fear hold you back. I was petrified I would never be worthy. I would never write anything worth reading. Now I know none of that matters.’ – Nadia L. King

On Working in Isolation

‘This is the most difficult part of the job for me. I’ve walked by clothing stores hiring seasonal employees and had fleeting thoughts of walking in an applying simply to have co-workers for a little while. Writing is the loneliest professional and the way I’ve learned to handle it over the years is to get out of my house.’ – R. S. Grey

‘This is probably the hardest thing for me as a writer, sitting alone for hours. Getting out to write in cafes help with this, but also allowing myself a break at the end or beginning of the day to be around people. Whether it’s for a quick coffee or a dinner with friends, staying social and not locked into your private world is important not only for my mental health but it often helps if I’m experiencing writer’s block or lack of inspiration.’ – E. J. Mellow

‘Writing can become a lonely experience. I fight the ache of silence by working a lot at coffeehouses, scheduling my days so I have writing time and people time, and communicating with my readers and author friends. Talking with a core group of people about my work keeps me encouraged and inspired.’ – Caroline George

‘I used to need my writing critique groups to get out and share with people who understand where I was at, but now it’s easier with the fact you can escape with social media for a connection.’ – Krysten Lindsay Hager

‘It’s not always physical or social isolation that affects writers, it’s the isolation of being misunderstood—of feeling alone, even if we’re not technically alone. Sometimes the non-writers among us might not “get” what it is we do, or they don’t understand that staring at the wall and daydreaming is a legitimate part of the creative process. Connecting with other authors, through social media or local events, is helpful in dealing with the ups and downs of writing and publishing.’ – Rachel Rust

‘I force myself to go out in public to work once or twice a week. Oddly enough, I need silence at home, but not when I'm writing or editing in public... A loud sports bar usually does the trick to drown out the distractions, as long as I can tuck myself into a corner and work for hours. The staff at my favorite place, along with their regulars, have become my friends, and my short interactions with them recharge me for the rest of the week when I work from home—in quiet seclusion.’ – Shaila Patel

Many of you embrace your alone time:

‘I revel in my alone time. I have never felt alone as there are always many characters chattering away in my head. Sometimes I can’t get the quiet I crave!’ – Christine Rains

I love it. I’m a definite INFJ on the Myers Briggs personality scale and personal time is my respite and recharge… I have characters surrounding me all the time.’ – J. Kowallis

‘I’m actually quite happy to have time alone. Lots of it. I regularly kick my family out of the house so I can write (I can’t write if there are people in the house). I also do writing retreats for a change of scene.’ – M Pepper Langlinais

‘I love the isolation. Writing is my form of me-time, it does wonder to my mind. I miss the quiet whenever I have to be away from my desk and have to pause my writing for a few days.’ – E. Mellyberry