Search This Blog

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Guest post by Kristen Lamb

This is part of an inspiring blog post by a well-known writer/coach I thought might keep you going!
Endurance Matters

Why we need to learn to toughen up is this—thick skin is vital for us to keep pressing even when we’re bloody, wounded or discouraged. Being a career writer isn’t a sprint. It’s a mega-marathon-mountain-climbing-Iron-Man. Many writers will fail not because of lack of talent, rather lack of staying power.

Appreciate that Training Often Involves “Other” Activities

Join a boxing gym and just expect to do a lot of jumping rope, running, sprinting, bag work, and you’ll get hit with a medicine ball…a lot.

Yet, at no time during my tenure “boxing” was I ever attacked by a jump rope or a medicine ball. Those “other activities” weren’t actual fighting, but they trained fighters for the endurance necessary to win in the ring.

Winning is frequently tied to staying power. Writing is no exception. Your mind, fingers and muse strengthen with focus, time, training and pain.

We’ll do a lot of things (I.e. blogging) that might not directly have anything to do with writing fiction…but it trains us to  1) meet self-imposed deadlines 2) build an audience with our writing voice 3) hook early 4) ENDURE.

I blogged for almost two years before I passed 50 hits a day. I blogged even when it felt like no one was listening, because I viewed it as part of my author training. Even if no one EVER listened, I was a better, faster, cleaner, more disciplined writer and I was investing in the long-term.

New Writers are Vulnerable

A boxer who’s been in the game for ten years, has a wall of title belts, has already been through the fire and gotten outside validation? It’s easier for that guy to jump in the ring. There’s a psychological advantage this guy earned with blood, time and pain.

For the newbies? Everyone thinks we’re nuts. They forget that even that title champ was a once a green pea tripping over the jump rope, too.

Becoming a writer is easy. Staying a writer is another matter entirely.

The beginning is a delicate time. It’s easy to get discouraged, but remember this:

Every NYTBSA, every Pulitzer-winner, every literary legend was once just an unpaid amateur with a dream, too.

Learn to keep going no matter what, and you cannot imagine the edge you’ll have in this profession (ANY profession).

Keep training. Keep blogging. Keep writing books, even bad books. Keep reading. Keep studying. Learn from everyone you can. It’s how we grow. How we learn. We can’t learn from the sidelines. We need to get into the fray even when we know it’s going to hurt because that’s what gives us staying power. And, as the great coach Vince Lombardi said, Quitters never win and winners never quit  ;) .

Have you dealt with nasty people who tried to undermine your dream? What activities do you use to train as a writer-artist? What area do you need help? Where do you feel you’re weak? What’s your plan for strengthening that area? What activities do you think might help writers with endurance training?

Kristen Lamb

Read the entire article and many other helpful blog posts by Kristen Lamb here



  1. okay, okay, I get the message.... keep training... keep on keeping on.
    I do blog - every week - and maybe, just maybe, one day I might get more than two hits per day and more than one comment (mostly from the Officer in Charge) when I say something interesting.
    I keep my fingers crossed, but at least it's in the diary and is a commitment and something I make myself do even when I think no one is listening.

  2. That's all very well but... For this group of writers it's not the pain of slogging on that's the problem, its the pressure of time. We're all on the wrong side of 50 so we don't have the distractions of children, careers or mortgage payments (well, not too much). It's that we don't have time to go through all the rigmarole of training, all the rope-skipping, bag-punching, etc. It takes almost a year to write a book and we have to consider how many years (translated into how many books) we have in us to do what we love and what we have belatedly discovered we're good at. I don't know if I have three years to blog in order to get 50 hits when I can be doing something that feels more creative. A real dilemma.