Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

August 8, 2006 | Writing

I’ve been away for a little while. Summer can get very busy. I just returned from my second Romance Writers of America Annual Conference. This year it was held in Atlanta. I had a great time. Not only were the workshops I attended fantastic, but I met new and old friends. I belong to the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter of RWA and we have an online critique group. We met up in Atlanta and were finally able to put faces to names. There was so much information to absorb and many of my fellow writers have blogged about their experiences. I came away with renewed enthusiasm for writing and even reset my goals. I’m sure other authors, both published and unpublished did the same. I also came back with a reality gut check.

I thought I’d share one thought that keeps echoing in my head. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” We hear that saying over and over. What does it really mean? Listening to Nora Roberts, Christine Dodd, Meg Cabot and Susan Elizabeth Phillips speak, I can sum it all up in the saying. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Roman Colosseum was built between AD 72 to AD 90.

First there was the grand design plan, then the grueling manual physical labor. It was built brick by brick, stone by stone, column by column. It exist today. Tourists flock to Rome to see it, walk through it, take pictures . Yes, it’s crumbling, but its decline only adds to its beauty. The movie, The Gladiator, with Russell Crowe, recreated thru computer magic the Colosseum in all its glory.

A book is not written in a day. Nora Roberts said it plainly. Writing is a career. It is the best career in the world. You can work from home. You don’t even have to get dressed and face freeway traffic, extreme cold or sweltering hot weather. But, you must develop your career. You must work on writing every day, if you want to be published. How many of us have the stamina, the determination to learn the craft and write every day, regardless of whether we feel like it or not. Roberts said in an interview in the August issue of RWR, the ‘muse is fickle and a wimp.’ She said if she waited to be inspired she’s be unemployed. If she’s got a blank page, she finds a way to fill it. It may be crap, POS she calls it, but she can fix it. You can’t fix a blank page, you can fix a crappy one.

Christine Dodd compared writing success to walking on a sidewalk, being knocked off by family issues, manuscripts being rejected, but you keep on walking. I wonder how many got the point of you keep on walking. Period. You may be tired, keep walking. You get rejected eight times. Keep walking. You finally get your first book published. Keep walking. A fellow author gets a three book deal, you don’t. Keep walking. You write a second book, it doesn’t do well and you think your publisher is going to drop you. Keep walking. A writer, unknown, writes her first book and it hits the NY best sellers list. Damn! Keep. Walking.
We dream of writing a book that captures a top agents’ attention, gets published, puts our name in the spotlight. Oops, just fell off the sidewalk. Why? Because we were dreaming and not looking where we were walking. We may even sit along side the sidewalk and watch others pass us by. Can you get up and keep walking? Or do you tell yourself, you can’t catch up so why bother, and the flowers where you’re sitting are very pretty. It’s too late for you. Only if you don’t get back on the sidewalk and …. Well, you know.

I’m always inspired by listening to successful authors speak. It motivates me. But now I see past the inspiration and see the dedication, determination and the passion for writing. Do Phillips and Roberts have personal emergencies that crop up? Of course they do, they’re human and that’s life. We’re human. Does it stop them from writing? No. They handle the problems and they keep walking.

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3 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. EXCELLENT post, Yasmine! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Kudos to you! You’ll get there, I know you will.


  2. Sounds like you had an incredible time! Getting together with a bunch of writers is always inspiring, but I think that something as big as National must be extra special. I hope next year I can go too! 🙂


  3. Beth and Jeanne, thanks for your comments. I hope to see you both in Dallas next hot July, 2007.


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