Monday, October 3, 2011

Double my order of Gumption, Please.

Jack Bauer has GUMPTION.  At the end of each episode, he's got a goal to attain.  That's to kill people.  Wait...no, not exactly...that but that often happens.
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There's no denying it, Jack's shrewd, has some serious initiative and is very resourceful.

Although a live-action bullet to the head isn't necessary in the literary world (pretty much guarantees either utter defeat or some of the best controversial publicity ever), writers must have this "gumption' business as well.

It takes an abundance of courage to try anything new.  The first step that usually ends in a gaggle of laughs following the inevitable tumble to the floor.  The first kiss that involves heavy breathing and the discovery that a guy can look nice in strawberry gloss, especially after such a heart-thudding way of putting it on his lips.  That first love.

When it comes to writing, you must have the gumption to take the stories in your mind and open the floodgates for those voices to become the characters they've been wanting to be so they can be shared with the world, a world full of people wishing for your success and the others ready to snicker should you fail.
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It takes courage.

It takes gumption.

I see so many brave people doing brave things...and then I realize that I'm one of those people now.  I'm putting myself out there.  I'm taking chances.  Okay...scary thought.  But at the same time, exhilarating.

For the debut author able to sit down, type up the great American novel with 93,000 word count in one month with no need for rewrites, immediately loved by the entire group of agents and editors queried and published with a grand soiree for your book launch, I'm not sure I know who you are or what planet you come from.

For the rest of us, those of us writing our hearts out, loving and hating our words, tossing out the first chapter and discovering our story truly begins at chapter three, working on rewrite number four of the third manuscript...I salute you.  I want you to know that you are not alone.  Keep going, keep trying and please keep writing.  Store up gumption for those hard times, the times where it looks like things should be going well but it seems everything wants to fall apart, the times that feel like dry spells.  Be of good courage my writer friends.

To those who simply love to read, keep that gumption going too.  There are some out there who do not appreciate you, but I understand that the writer is of little good if there's no reader to devour the words.  So I salute you as well.

So to you I ask, are you that lucky devil who didn't break a sweat in the course of becoming a super-novelist?  If so, how in quill's name did you do that?  For others, this gumption thing...is it in you?

27 comments:

  1. Yeah, I don't know the debut writer who can write a fantastic book in 30 days.

    Thanks for the inspiring post. You're right. It does take gumption to write and put your work out there in the world.

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  2. I have actually never heard of the word 'gumption' before. So this post was all the more enlightening.

    And I've heard about some of those 'super' authors you spoke of...and I think they're just really good at covering up all their edits and making it look like they didn't do that much work.

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  3. For the rest of us, those of us writing our hearts out, loving and hating our words, tossing out the first chapter and discovering our story truly begins at chapter three, working on rewrite number four of the third manuscript...I salute you.


    So very well said.
    ---
    Join me at the Rule of Three Writers' Blogfest!

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  4. @ Natalie - My pleasure to publish posts like these. Quite honestly, I use them to keep me going as well.

    @ Francesca - I've got to know (call me obsessive) who are these super beings lol!!!

    @ Damyanti - Thanks so much. Yeah, I've tossed out a chapter or two. And that blogfest looks cool. Will check it out.

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  5. It does take gumption! And a stubborn streak doesn't hurt either.

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  6. It takes big kahunas to do what we're doing, no doubt about it. Great post!

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  7. I love this post :) As well as courage and gumption I want to add love. You really have to love your story to be willing to put it out into the world to love or to hate.

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  8. @ Alex - You are so right. Without that stubborn streak, it would be so hard to be true to what we really want and remain true to our writer's voice.

    @ E.R. - You said it!

    @ Angie - Very true Angie. I guess it's that love of the story that also makes it so dear to us :-)

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  9. I STILL freak out about writing. I'll bet I'm going to freak out just as much if/when I get published. Just in a different way. But I'm sticking with it, trying new stuff, and rooting on all of the folks who are journeying with me!

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  10. Your inspiring post was just what I needed to read. Thanks for having the gumption to write and post it! :)

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  11. Definitely working the gumption thing on my end ;)

    ...though it's certainly nice to have a reminder... greay post, Angela!

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  12. @ Giles - Here's a writer bud rooting for you as well for WHEN you get published :-)

    @ Jenn - *blush* I needed it myself.

    @ 1000th.monkey - Thanks! Keeping my own chin up with this one. Glad to have other writer buds running this path and understanding what it takes.

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  13. It definitely does take gumption. This is a cutthroat business (aside from the writing community of course) and it takes guts to persevere. Great post!

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  14. Anything worth having is worth fighting for.

    Gumption gets you in the race, but it's perseverance that gets you to the finish line.

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  15. @ Alleged - what's funny is there are people outside of the business who would never guess just how much it takes to make it in the publishing industry. I used to be one of those poor naive saps. I've learned so much since choosing to get serious about publishing as a career.

    @ Maria - Gumption and perseverance = Winning! I think I like that :-)

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  16. I like the word gumption. Writing isn't an easy path, that's for sure, but it's certainly character building :)

    Great post, Angela. Determination and perseverance are very handy attributes to have in a writing arsenal. Plus that gumption stuff...

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  17. I like some more gumption too, please! And does anyone not break a sweat writing a novel? I sweat buckets!

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  18. Well said, Angela! "We've got ___________(we put in our family name here) spunk!" Even though it's a bit scary at times, if we don't put ourselves out there, we'll never get anywhere! ~ Nadja

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  19. @ Shelley - The more I learn about this path, the more gumption I realize I'll need to muster. But coupling that with perseverance, I feel pretty good about choosing this path.

    @ Talli - Apparently, there are some oddities out there who flutter their fingers over the keyboard and produce some mind-blowing works of writtten art without so much as a bead of sweat on the tip of their nose. Like you, I sweat profusely over each and every manuscript lol!!

    @ Nadja - Very true, can't accomplish anything if we don't try.

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  20. I'm trying to have that gumption and go for the brass ring. Having put up a project on Kickstarter last week though I'm already in a panic that we won't reach our goal, and it's stupid, right? I need to practice what I preach and have more faith. Thanks for your comment on Happiness Tuesday, by the way.

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  21. @ Bridget - I have four words for you: "You can do it!!!"

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  22. It does take gumption, a thick skin, strong back, and anything else you can throw in there. :)

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  23. Agreed, Ciara. Throw in the kitchen sink to keep your hands clean from some of the hater-ade.

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  24. Hell, no. Not that lucky. Been working hard at this, and have a lot more work to do yet. Gumption is what it takes, and some thickening skin. For the haters. :)

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  25. M Pax! Glad to have you visit. You have the published book to back up your comment so Here! Here!

    And YAY for your new book Semper Audacia :-)

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  26. Great post, Angela :-)
    I search for my gumption every day! And I never settle on less, not matter how much gumption I find. But seriously, writing is a tough business and we all know it. Dedication, imagination, believing in yourself and even bits of hopelessness all add to the charm of writing.

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  27. That's probably a good idea, Angela. Going for the gusto of gumption really helps for those lulls or hills of doubt that crop up every now and then.

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