Persistence, Consistency, and Just Showing Up

The three most important things about writing are persistence, consistency, and just showing up. Heck, probably the three most important things about life. Why? Let's talk about them in reverse order: SHOWING UP: I swear to you that this is half the battle. Or more. I'm not even kidding. The more you are present, the more you can be in the face of people, the more comfortable they are with you. The more you become a colleague. The more you become a friend. And people are more likely to trust a friend than somebody that just showed up for the first time.

But there's another reason why showing up is so important. It's because people drop off like flies in this business. There are people that are so gungho about something, they talk about their project with me at a convention or at a meetup. They come around once or twice, and then drop off for a long time, possibly ever. When I finally see them again, they haven't done ANYTHING with their project. It's disheartening. It certainly doesn't make me want to help them.

However, when somebody keeps showing up. They keep making progress. They are going through the motions, and struggling? I want that guy on my team. I will move heaven and earth to help that person.

CONSISTENCY: On top of being there, being consistent in your work is incredibly important. You should be continually coming out with new work at regular intervals. This will show:

  • Agents that you can keep churning out marketable material for them to sell.
  • Publishers that you can meet deadlines.
  • Readers that you won't abandon them for years.
  • Other writers that you mean business.
  • Yourself that you are serious.

It takes a long time to be consistently good, but not to be consistent about how much you write. You can start right now building the habit of writing five pages, or 100 words, or a chapter a day. The longer you do that before you become a big shot, the more ingrained in you it will be when it comes time to deliver.

PERSISTENCE: I've talked about it before. This business will eat you up and spit you out. I was actually just talking to a pretty successful writer and editor today. A writer that was published by IDW and won an Eisner. And he told me that his publisher won't even LOOK at his new pitch. Forget publish it, they won't even open it!

Now, he could just given up, but he didn't. Instead he was exhibiting at a comic convention trying to sell his current line-up, not letting it get him down.

And I appreciated that. When you get punched in the gut and keep on standing back up-- people take notice.

That's not everything. Talent is important, but it's talent secondary to those things. I'd rather have a middling talent who can take a punch in stride, delivers on time, and and shows up then the most talented dick in the world.

Of course -- It's best to be the whole package.