One of my favourite lines from Principal Skinner (a character on The Simpsons) is when he asks Mr Burns (local millionaire) the following question about business:
“Which do you think is more important, hard work or stick-to-it-iveness?”¹
Mr Burns responds with an unimpressed glare before asking if anyone has any real questions. The thing is, that is a real question. We are told that the path to success is hard work, which implies having to slog away for hours a day. But the key to achieving your goals is actually tenacity (or ‘stick-to-it-iveness’, if you prefer).
I met Kristine Tauch in March of this year. She had written several children’s stories and was looking for an editor. It was clear how passionate Kristine was about her characters and the worlds she’d created. She also talked about how she sometimes despaired of ever getting any of her work published, even though she believed deeply in what she was doing.
I had the honour of working with Kristine on her book, Kira and the Bubble Gum Tree [link http://www.fairplanetarts.com/kiraandthebubblegumtree/], and I learned just how tenacious she is. She was consistent with both writing and revising. Each draft was more polished and refined than the last, and the story was pretty good to begin with.
When it came to the practical aspects of publishing her book, Kristine was just as consistent. She set up a website, created a logo, and found a publisher and an illustrator and worked diligently with them. This process took several months. And it wasn’t always easy. But Kristine kept at it.
And now, Kira and the Bubble Gum Tree [link http://www.fairplanetarts.com/kiraandthebubblegumtree/]is for sale. The story is as cute as the cover implies. And Kristine is busy working on her next book. For being the embodiment of stick-to-it-iveness, Kristine is officially a Two Marshmallows Tenacious Transcriber: a category I just made up and there is no prize, sorry, but I’ll try to make a badge or something in Photoshop (who am I kidding, I can’t use Photoshop – a mention in this newsletter is as good as it gets). She’s someone who has inspired me and I hope she inspires you, too.
I think Principal Skinner’s question was a valid one. It just needed reframing. Hard work actually is stick-to-it-iveness. Taking small steps on a regular basis is being tenacious. When it comes to writing, doing a little every day will amount to a lot. It’s not always easy, but it is the way to get things done. Just ask Kristine. She’ll tell you the same thing.
1. The Old Man and the Lisa, Season Eight, Episode Twenty One
This week’s prompts
Use the following prompts to start a new piece, continue an existing one, or to just have fun with words.
1. Sliding, swiping and smashing…
2. “That is the worst towel I have ever seen,” said…
3. The ants were marching…
4. What would your dream garden look like?
5. The passenger seat was…
Questions? Suggestions? Feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.