"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
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.
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.