Friday, December 16, 2016

Talent, persistence, and luck

"The other day I had a letter that asked me to what I attribute my success. Of course, I do not have 'success' in the ordinary definition of that word, but I answered, 'A talent, persistence, and luck.'"
--May Sarton, At Seventy

Sarton was able to support herself with her writing, in a lifestyle that included a beautiful house on the Maine coast. She gave poetry readings to packed houses, and people waited in long lines at her book signings. Even though she often wrote of feeling short-changed by critics, she actually achieved a measure of success that few writers attain.

I don't have her level of success, but from what I've seen of others' careers, I would agree with her choice of the three ingredients. I've heard a few established writers say that persistence was the number one factor they saw in writers who "made it," that simple perseverence was more important than talent in the long run. And in recent years, I've come to appreciate the significant role that luck plays in writing success, as well as in life generally. Talent alone doesn't go far enough; it needs healthy doses of the other two.

Of the three, persistence is the only one over which we have any control. So we keep on typing, and thinking, and reading, and revising.

2 comments:

  1. I AM TOTALLY ON THAT

    I am self-publishing like 325 books right now so that kind of helps. How are you!!

    ReplyDelete