Persistence and Tenacity


Joanna Trollope famously said she ‘took twenty years to become an overnight success.’

Everyone loves rags to riches stories, so we have a tendency to omit the hard bits and present achievement as almost miraculously acquired. In reality this is seldom the case. Whenever we feel discouraged as writers, we should remind ourselves of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story:

In February 1918, he submitted the first full draft of his first novel to a publisher, only to have it rejected. In October of 1918, he submitted a revised version to the publisher. It was rejected again. Finally, the third version was accepted and published.

The novel, entitled This Side of Paradise, made Fitzgerald a literary celebrity before his twenty-fourth birthday. The book sold out in twenty-four hours and would go on to sell more than 49,000 copies by the end of 1921, just after its twelfth printing.

If he’d given up at the first rejection, we would never have had The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night or The Last Tycoon. It was Fitzgerald’s persistence and tenacity that won him his well-deserved fame.

I don’t think anything worthwhile ever comes easily. But think what a party we could have when we finally achieve that hard-won success!