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The Pros and Cons of the Stubborn Writer

I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly stubborn adult. Determined yes, but stubborn… Well, let’s just say, I think I’ve learned to manage it differently. As a child my stubbornness knew no bounds. Nothing could stop me when I was determined. Whether it was making $100 at a lemonade stand or arguing with an adult about, well, pretty much anything.

It was that stubbornness that helped prove to the boys that girls could play football and to teachers that I did belong in the Great Books reading program. As I got older I learned how to manage my stubbornness in a way that made it more of a conscious determination. A determination to explore is what pushed me to move to NYC despite never having been there. And thanks to determination, I started a business that I knew, deep in my heart, would not fail.

When faced with a stubborn child often people say how successful that child will be later in life. I have another thought. It is that child’s determination that will get her far in life. Stubbornness I’ve often found can be more of a detriment.

It is the determination to become published that keeps authors querying and rewriting queries. Determination is what pushes an author to write that next book even while querying the first. It is that same determination that keeps her up writing well past when everyone else has gone to bed. It is also what has her explore new places to take her writing and new ways to grow as a writer.

In my experience, stubbornness holds authors back more than it helps them succeed. It is the stubborn author who believes that giving up on anything is failure. That includes the one and only book she’s written, just because she loves it.

Stubbornness blinds authors to what people are really seeing. Querying is important, but ineffective if you refuse to see that this just isn’t the book that will sell. That despite your belief in what you have, you need to grow and try something new (meaning a book, not a career).

The determined author watches the market with her agent to see how things are shifting and changing. She works with her agent to alter her career path and writing as needed. The stubborn author believes only what she loves and despite a shifting market, or her own numbers, refuses to give up on what she’s writing because, often, “that’s what she writes.”

Category: Blog

One comment

  1. Interesting perspective and a welcome reminder of the difference. I spent a lot of time working on a book I felt I just had to write even though I could sense it had issues (stubbornness). It got no where in the query process. So I shelved it. One day I might find a way to make the idea work, but I’ll only return to it if the book would be a stepping stone, not a stumbling stone (determination). I want my work to move me forward, not keep me entrenched.

    Thanks for the reminder.

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