G is for Grit





It's Monday. That means the start of another long work week and, oh yeah...the second week of the A-Z Challenge. I'm a morning person, but not an early in the week person. Usually I'm at work before 6 AM, and on my days off I get a heck of a lot of writing done before the sun peeks over the horizon. But when it comes to the work week, I struggle through the first couple days and my disposition improves considerably after I begin that slide down the back half of the Wednesday hump. I tell you all that just to let you know I'm in a mood, and it's not a particularly good mood, so I'm going to talk plain today, borderline blunt, and I'm sorry if it puts some of you off.

Here's the thing...if your goal is to become a bona fide published writer, I mean you're really serious about it...then it's going take some GRIT.

This isn't news to those of us who've been pursuing this dream for more than a couple years, in fact I bet quite a few of you are nodding your heads right now. The rejections alone will test your intestinal fortitude, and I'm not just talking about the ones you'll receive from agents and publishers. Your critique partners and beta readers (if they're worth their salt) will also give you negative feedback that will test your resiliency. There will be times when you'll feel so alone, so naked, so out-classed, so insecure (just as Alex), that you'll doubt yourself and every bit of the positive reinforcement those closest to you provide. Your struggle, at times, will feel like it's moving up a steep hill, fighting against hurricane force winds, with 100 pound dumb weights strapped around your waist.

And all you'll have to keep you from quitting...is GRIT.

How much GRIT do you possess? Some say that determination is a second-cousin to GRIT, but GRIT can only be measured by the difficulties you've actually weathered. Want to demonstrate your GRIT, then I'll see you back here tomorrow...and next week...and next month...and next year.

Sure, just showing up won't make you a published writer. But unless you do, and that takes GRIT, then I guarantee you won't be.

Did you realize that I’m holding a contest during the Challenge? No? You can read all about it HERE.

62 comments

  1. I like the term tenacity but that doesn't start with G. When I first saw your title I thought it would be about chickens or the movie "True Grit" but I see it is about what it takes to be a writer. That works too.

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  2. I had two books published, at times I wondered if I was doing the right thing, then I also learned the word tenacity and it paid off in the end.
    Great post and up lifting to read.
    Yvonne.

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  3. Sometimes I think I lack the Grit I need to make it and I'm not afraid to admit it to myself. But then around the corner I found out that I actually had enough to make it around that corner now didn't I?
    I'm a morning person but I don't actually like doing anything this early in the morning. haha
    Dani @ Entertaining Interests
    #warriorminion

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  4. I love grits and butter...oh, ha! Not those grits. You're absolutely right though. To stay in this game of writing and publishing, it takes more than desire and talent.

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  5. i find that i struggle with all my over and over stuff... i used to be a robot-like person where i would calculate how long a job would take me from each piece. now that my schedule is open to suggestion, i have become mentally lazy. i am very afraid to have this, i lost my grit and structure...

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  6. So true writing takes grit. And yeah, I have a long work week ahead of me too.

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  7. Now this is getting right down to the Nitty Gritty of writing/teaching/waitressing/painting/etc etc etc. It takes GUTS to talk about GRIT...Good job, and thanks. I'll see you right back here tomorrow, next week, probably next month, and for sure next year....bright and early!
    Sue CollectInTexasGal
    AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

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  8. Well, I'm mom to 4 humaniods; I guess I possess a little grit. LOL Writing does take loads of grit, think skin, and belief in oneself. It takes a while to get there, but with constant effort it is totally attainable.

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  9. At this point it feels past grit; it feels like plain old fashioned stubbornness.

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  10. Love the word Grit!! We all need some grit to be a writer! Good post.

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  11. Oh yeah, I have my insecure moments! Part of my determination and grit comes from not thinking about those things. I just decide to do something and I go for it.

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  12. Writing takes grit at times. And determination and a good thick skin doesn't go amiss either!

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  13. And since this Monday started off with a story rejection, I need an extra dose of grit. And some more coffee. :)

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  14. I think this is why writers are better than other people. lol They have what it takes to stay in the game.

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  15. I'm a morning person, too, but not on Monday mornings, LoL. Writing, and any kind of artistic profession, certainly does take courage.

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  16. I'm so gritty, I'm like sandpaper. lol

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  17. Are you telling me that while the entire rest of the grit eating world takes 20 minutes to make their grits, you somehow managed to make grits in 5 minutes??? (name the movie)
    I'm in a mood, too. Kids who grump at me in the morning when I got up at the butt-crack of dawn to make them coffee and be nice and encouraging doesn't make for the start of a good day...or week...but spring break is over and I'll have the house to myself...I need to seriously write. Ran out of pre-scheduled posts at D...dammit.

    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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  18. You go to work by 6 in the morning? Ugh. I could NOT do that. And yes, you really do need grit in this business otherwise you'll be eaten up alive.

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  19. I really needed to read this today. I keep procrastinating, instead of finishing my novel. Grit? That's what I need.

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  20. I hope I've got some grit. It takes something to get up at 4am to write on occasion, anyway!

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  21. I truly believe that writing is not for the faint-hearted, irrespective of whether you have talent... you also need the fortitude.

    Writer In Transit

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  22. Thank you for reminding us that we need to focus on our success no matter what occurs. My favorite word for this is perseverance. But I am a testament to the fact that it works. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

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  23. Yep. It takes more GRIT than I ever imagined. I'm an up and at 'em early writer myself. It's the only time in the day I can be guaranteed uninterrupted time. No phone calls. No one asking where the X,Y, Z is. No, "What are you doing? Writing?"

    Here's to the wee hours and the grit to show up every morning.

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  24. I am not a morning person at all so most people will find me in that mood every morning.

    Grit is a great word. I really do believe writing requires grit.

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  25. I'm one of those nodding my head.

    Hope your week gets better soon. Great post, and nice to meet you on the A to Z.

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  26. Grit is a great G word. Sometime I think I need to have my head examined. What was I thinking wanting to become a writer? But every morning, I'm up by 7, grab a cup of coffee and head over to the laptop. Becoming published will happen to you because you work so hard at it. Here is a funny note. The day I received my first offer, the email looked just like ever other rejection. I was having a bad day and I just couldn't read one more rejection. So glad I only minimized it [and didn't delete it] and went back a few minutes later and opened it. On that day, it took GRIT to read another rejection. I screamed like a little girl when it wasn't what I expected.

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  27. I think I'm all grit.
    Or maybe it's gristle.

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  28. I love grits! I eat them with butter, with sugar sometimes, or with ham. They go with everything...

    Oh wait, I probably shouldn't have skimmed. GRIT, you're talking about Grit! Yes, I don't have as much of that as I'd like.

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  29. I've got grit! But not the breakfast kind. I find those mildly repulsive (sorry) Nothing has pushed me away from trying to get published yet and nothing will.

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  30. I have been working on my grit lately. Was uber frustrated for a few weeks, but I'm back in the saddle again (get it? Grit? Westerns? Country music?)

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  31. Good point. Some things are easier than others but anything worthwhile takes grit; pure, true, honest grit. It's something more than just 'hanging in there', although there are days that might be the best you can do. To me, grit is fighting back, taking control and never, Never, NEVER stop believing in yourself and your goals.

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  32. There's strength in honesty, bro! When I realize I'm trying to write angry I have to take a step back, take a deep breath or some such.

    I've been an aspiring author for about a year and a half. I have yet to put my intestinal fortitude to the test... But when I do, I hope I remember your words!

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  33. ...head down - until this April thing is over! My 20 minutes a day can be very productive if I keep at it.

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  34. I would have waited till "P" and gone with "pit bull stubbornness" but grit works, too.

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  35. I've been writing steadily and seriously since 2007. I've heard from a lot of writers that it takes about 10 years. Tried to get serious about it more than 20 years ago, but apparently didn't have the grit then! (Also had two young babies). This time around, I'm definitely more determined. And persistent.

    Hope you're happier tomorrow.

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  36. It takes lots and lots of grit. Definitely.

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  37. I firmly agree! I've been writing seriously for 15 years and still have not accomplished my goals.
    I'm in mood today, too. So now I know I'm in good company :-)

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  38. Love that word! Determination is vital, but grit sounds more grrrr. If that makes sense!

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  39. Amen to that! And I think constant reminders like these are so important to keep each other going thru the down and out stages--you just never know when a fellow writer may be in one.

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  40. Just getting started in writing was a big step for me. I was a web developer, and getting bored. I had always wanted to write, and finally took an assignment and nailed it. The timing was perfect, because I got three beats out of it. Now I have eight while other people in the same group have been losing beats. Even when I'm dead tired, I work through it because I don't want to lose one bit of what I've gained. No, I want more. :)

    From A to Z, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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  41. Grrrreat post! Yes, we are like those oysters-we must let the grit roll off of us~

    enJOYed your post
    :D

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  42. Amen. Good word. It takes grit and a lot more, I'm sure.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  43. There are days we writers need to pack some extra grit - and I'm right there with ya' on the grumpy Monday thing.

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  44. I've relied on grit! And just pure T enthusiasm. A dash of being naive helps too.

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  45. I'm trying to have grit. I've only writing seriously for about a year and I can tell that I will need a lot of it.Simply Sarah

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  46. Love this word. Honestly I don't think I have enough grit, but I'm working on it.

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  47. If this kind of honesty puts someone off, it's a sign they should lay down their pen. Because without GRIT, enormous talent and a fabulous story mean a big fat zero in this business. Publishing is not for the feint of heart.

    ~VR Barkowski

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  48. After I complained to the woman editing my book that writing a book is a special kind of torture, she replied, "yep, it's like water boarding yourself on purpose." And that takes grit. I eat nails for breakfast while writing and I like it:)

    Wednesday is only one day away.

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  49. Grit. That's a great word for it.

    Well said, no matter how blunt.

    Heather

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  50. Well...if anything, this is a very motivational post for the beginning of the week for anyone...no matter what walk of life they are! ;)

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  51. I am not a morning person, either. I sure do have a lot of determination, which I hope helps me learn to have grit as I progress. I guess I'll see. :-)

    Thanks for speaking plainly!

    Lyre at Lyre's Musings

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  52. Maybe we could just add some to the breakfast men... honestly DL if this was you being grunty or grumpy, gloomy or glum, you are very gentle. Hope your mood improves

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  53. Having grit is so necessary for a writer! Well said, didn't mind the plain style at all

    Chontali Kirk
    chontalikirk.blogspot.com

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  54. The road to being an author is not an easy one. So yes, having grit would come in handy. That, and chocolate.

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  55. Having grit is a good way to describe a determined writer. But for some reason, I always picture someone with dirt in their teeth when I hear the word grit. Anyway, I know I have plenty of grit, it's the talent I'm worried about.

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  56. Hi Don .. Gravelly Grit and I have tons of it ... I don't give up ... or go away ... I'm of the goat sign so I'll grit my gnashers all the way to the top!!

    Cheers Hilary

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  57. True Grit! It is sometimes hard to push through and just write. It certainly takes discipline, of which I need more. Visiting from A-Z

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  58. I am fairly confident that coming out of my Master's Degree with my sanity will require a significant amount of grit. Right now I'm working on my Creative Writing Thesis at the undergraduate level and have hit a writer's wall (similar to a runner's wall). I also think that ass-glue is required, perhaps almost as much as grit. A lot of times I find I need to metaphorically, of course, glue my ass to my chair and just bang out the writing, raw, honest, even nonsensical, as long as it is ideas on pages!

    Cheers from Brandy at http://brandysbustlings.blogspot.ca/

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