Friday, January 15, 2016

“Hard work beats talent that doesn’t work hard”
The quote pinged into my inbox this morning and I thought to myself – how apt. I am a big  believer in persistence and trying. I do like thinking that those who work hard do get rewarded. I also have just finished the first draft of my latest Viking and it is a huge stinking mess. It won’t be however when I send it into my editor next week. A lot of hard work will have gone into making it the best it can be.
It is very easy before you are published or before you even attempt to write to think that writers are far more talented than you could ever be.  It is why many authors suffer from imposter syndrome. As an author, you always see your own failures. You know what the bright shiny idea looked like in your brain and what it comes out as on the page.  However in the end, it is not the talent that counts so much as the time and effort an author is willing to put in.  And a reader rarely sees the unfinished work or the machinations inside an author’s brain.
Half of the trick of being an author is staying in love with the mess that is on the page so that you mould into shape. I can remember my former critique partner being very depressed when I said great books are not written, they are rewritten…until the penny dropped and she realised that she only had to get it written, she did not have to get it right.  It is in future drafts when you get i
t right. Then when you think you can’t get it any more right, you start sending it out.  Oftentimes you are given another chance to get it even closer to your original idea. Holding the idea in affection does make it easier through out this process.
Writing novels is not a soft option. It is actually hard work. It can be tiring and mentally taxing. It is (unfortunately) not physically taxing (there are reasons why I exercise) but oh how it can fry your brain. Try going from the 8th century to 21st century in the matter of seconds because there has been a sudden crisis. Or spending several hours writing a fight scene. You haven’t gone anywhere but your imagination has.  It really is 99% perspiration with the 1% inspiration. The inspiration is what gets me through the hard bits.
I also love the Estee Lauder quote -- "I didn't get there by wishing for it or hoping for it but by working for it."

Anyway right now faced with a first draft, I am currently chanting “Hard work beats talent that doesn’t work.” and I know I have to work hard to get it right and to make my dreams come true.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods. Her latest Viking Summer of the Viking was out in June 2015 and she is hard at work on the next one. To learn more about Michelle visit 

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