“I attempted to write my first novel when I was twenty-four. Bagger Vance[my first published book] came out when I was fifty-one.
“Twenty-seven years is a long time to labor without success. Can you imagine how many times I was taken aside by spouse, lovers, family, and friends and given ‘the talk?’ Can you imagine how many times I gave it to myself?”
Steve Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance)
My Overnight Success
There’s no guarantee that if you plug way at writing for basically three decades that you’ll eventually not only become a published author, but also see your first published book turned into a movie starring Will Smith, Matt Damon, Chalize Theron and directed by Robert Redford—but it’s nice to point out when it happens.
In his post Pressfield expands on his “nearly three-decade odyssey” by offering some nuggets like:
1. It’s hard.
2. You gotta be a little crazy.
3. It’s worth it.
But he also says that it wasn’t all wilderness;
“Within those twenty-seven years, I earned a living for at least a dozen as a professional writer. I worked in advertising. I had a career as a screenwriter. And I spent six years writing unpublishable novels (which counts as work too.)
“In other words the process, although it had many crazy and desperate years, was simply one of relentless, diligent labor and self-education. I was failing. But I was learning. By the time, twenty-seven years in, when I sat down to write The Legend of Bagger Vance, I was a seasoned pro who understood the principles of storytelling, who possessed abundant self-discipline, and who had had enough success in related fields to tackle this particular enterprise with confidence.”
Check out the full My Overnight Success article as well as his book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Winn Your Innner Creative Battles.
Happy New Year.
Bob DeRosa’s ‘Shortcuts’
Beatles, Cody, King & 10,000 Hours
Tennessee Williams on ‘Apparent failure’
‘Failure is an Option’
Aaron Sorkin on Failure
Overnight Success—“It doesn’t seem that long ago I had hopes of being the hot kid, selling my first story in ’51 when I was 25. I got on the cover of Newsweek in April 1985, and was seen as an overnight success after little more than thirty years.”—Elmore Leonard
P.S. Countdown to 2000th special post on January 22, 2015—11 posts