Just keep swimming

That’s what I think of when I’m struggling with writing–just keep swimming, just keep swimming. You know, from “Finding Nemo.” If you don’t know, you should watch that movie.

That one little phrase has helped me get through hard weeks at work, a week-long trek through the High Sierras, half marathons, and now this book revision.

I’ve come to see that publishing a book is about 20% talent, 20% luck, and 60% tenacity / stubbornness / refusal to give up / ownership of the “Just keep swimming” philosophy.

In the latest issue of Poets & Writers, author Rufi Thorpe says she thinks talent is pretty meaningless and it’s all about “perversity of spirit”:

“Talent is the least important thing about a writer, compared to a love of books, which must be deep and abiding. The only other thing a writer really needs is perversity of spirit, the emotional equivalent of a cartoon creature’s bouncy springiness, so that after being run over or blown up–or, in the case of the writer, rejected and then rejected some more–the writer is irrationally unfazed by even the most valid criticism and continues with the work of being a writer, magically unharmed.”

I’d say the “magically unharmed” bit isn’t exactly accurate. I’ve been harmed. But it just pisses me off and makes me want to publish a book that much more.

Thorpe goes on:

“You have to fall in love with the dark, formless place where the words come from. You have to be addicted to that deep sea inner world that is the reading and writing of books. And you have to be willing to ignore just about everything else.”

Ah, yes, the “deep sea inner world.” It can be a lonely, crazy-making place, but just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

3 thoughts on “Just keep swimming

  1. I think this can be applied to so many things. And I love the quotes… tenacity trumps talent, for sure. That’s why there are so many horrible TV shoes, books, art, etc… haha. Keep swimmin’ yo. Now I know why you took swim lessons.

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