By Jim Helvig
When we think of endurance, many things come to mind. Sports, fitness and even relationships are often connected to that term. So what is endurance? The definition is more complicated than you may think…
Endurance is the ability of an organism to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover from and have immunity to trauma, wounds or fatigue.
As authors most of us know that to be successful, endurance isn’t just handy catch phrase, it’s a prerequisite. Only a tiny percentage of us will ever have the luxury of writing a single piece that becomes an instant sensation or a national best seller. For most of us, we need to be prepared for the long haul…to write consistently, producing solid stories that we not only love but that are worthy of publication.
Think about it. When we send our work into the world several things will happen. Elation…that wonderful bliss of completion and satisfaction that comes from doing all of that hard work. Doubt is usually followed by self-recrimination. We asks ourselves, “Was it really ready?” Of course there’s also the aforementioned fatigue. And there will be trauma and wounds, so hang on. Not everyone will enjoy your labors, nor should you expect them to. Visibility is difficult to obtain and even harder to maintain. Publishing is merely the first step in the journey.
Writing is, with few exceptions, a solitary endeavor. So how does one build that endurance from within to “resist, withstand and recover?” The glib answer is to keep writing and that’s true but it’s also so much more complicated than that.
Work, family, social commitments, and the day to day necessities of life are exhaustive enough. Add in writing schedules, research, and that pesky but all important “building a social media presence” thingy, and book promotions, sales, signing events…..are we having fun yet?
So how do we eat an elephant? Of course, one bite at a time! To build our writing endurance it’s vital to set goals and task that are both realistic and obtainable. While it’s important to be consistent, it’s imperative to balance your writing activities with experiences that will strengthen your writing immune system in order to avoid frustration and burn out.
Go to a seminar or workshop. Get together with other authors (or readers) and have coffee. Toss around some ideas and swap stories, laugh and enjoy yourself. Read. Then read some more…read outside your normal genre. Volunteer at a library, VA or shelter to help with their literacy programs. Be involved in something that helps to recharge and inspire your interest. Find that balance and your writing cannot help but get stronger and more relatable.
I guarantee you’ll have more new ideas than you can shake a stick at and your writing immune system while shrug off attacks like a pack of super heroes!