Are you missing the secret to success?

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this idea of “success” lately and I stumbled across a great quote:

“Many people avoid discovering the secret of success because deep down they suspect the secret may be hard work.”

I admit I have been guilty of that kind of thinking. Instead of working on my current project, I’ll spend hours researching the latest tip, the newest trick, the current trend in achieving quick success.

But the reality is that most “overnight successes” were YEARS in the making. Every so often I’ll hear a speech where a successful writer blithely says, “Oh, I just sat down and wrote the story and the first publisher I sent it to, bought it.” Frankly, these kinds of stories make me grind my teeth. Because I’m jealous. I want quick and easy best-seller status in my world, too. Still waiting, thank you.

But the stories that make me stand up and cheer are the ones where a writer toiled and toiled and got enough rejection letters to wallpaper not just rooms, but entire houses, and then finally, finally found a publisher.

Those are the stories that inspire me. Because they achieved success the old-fashioned way:  they worked really, really hard for it.

In our get-rich-quick, entitlement-minded society, we’ve lost sight of the value of old-fashioned hard work. The kind where there are no excuses. No free handouts. Just tough, boring, nose-to-the-grindstone hard work.

It pays off. And the celebration is worth it!

I found a quote by Thomas Watson, Sr., founder of IBM. “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”

Which boils down to one simple thing: more work. So that’s my plan this year. More writing. More submissions. Which will mean more rejections. But that’s okay.

I’ve found the secret ingredient to success.

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    The Conversation

  1. So true, Connie. Not only does hard work pay off, but the satisfaction of reaching your goal is priceless as well. Which is why rich kids who have everything handed to them don’t appreciate it!

    Good luck with your writing!

    • Connie Mann says:

      I agree, Toni–there is nothing like the satisfaction of reaching your goal. And the way to get there invariably involves lots of hard work. That’s the “secret” so many today seem to miss…

  2. Great way to think of it, Connie! I have a new release out that I toiled on for more than a year before I got it right. Even now that it’s published, I don’t know how sales will go, or if I’ll even make any money on the book. I have to wait at least a couple of months for royalty reporsts and I’m still waiting for that first review.

    But I do feel good that I’ve just sent out three new submissions and am revising yet another that I hope to get out by March.

    Whether I make money or not, I’m working hard and trying my best to get my work in front of readers. That’s all I can do.

    Keep writing!

    • Connie Mann says:

      Congrats on your new release, Susan! I hope it does really well. I am impressed by the number of submissions you have out. Sounds like you are well on your way to much continued success!!! All the very best!

  3. Diana Layne says:

    Yep, hard work, keep writing!

  4. Mary Ricksen says:

    There is one thing that does bother me about things today. I go to B&N to get books for my Nook and I come upon hundreds of books which are so bad I cringe. What’s missing????? The hard work!!!!

  5. Success without hard work probably isn’t worth it! The measure of my success with TWRP (one book published so far, and one at 2nd edits stage) has been finishing the manuscripts, and having an editor then help to polish it even further. But that makes me smile-a lot- since I’ve actually got to that stage.

  6. Celia Yeary says:

    Connie–I like your attitude and your thinking. Too many times lately, we’re hearing about these overnight smash successes, and I usually wonder–did it really happen that way? However, I can say I didn’t suffer many rejections, and once I got my first contract, it seemed to open doors for more here and there.
    However, that smashing success is really what we’re waiting for, isn’t it? True, we did get contracts without suffering for years, and sometimes I think that was the easy part. The difficult part is the promotion and the grind of trying to get and hold an audience.
    Very good thoughts…thank you.

    • Connie Mann says:

      Celia–I think that’s a fallacy too many writers buy into. Getting that contract isn’t the be all and end all. It’s a huge step, to be sure, since it’s the ticket to the party. But, as you said, more and more hard work follows. All the very best as you keep moving forward!!

  7. Great advice! Hard work is what brings lasting success.

  8. Katherine says:

    Hi Connie,
    I really identified with your post. I sometimes finding myself reading “how to” items when my WIP is giving me fits rather just sitting down and working through what’s not working. One of my goals this year is to write a set number of pages per month so if I have a bad day, I have time to make up for it. Thanks for the great advice. :o)

  9. Hi Connie,
    Great blog and a very sensible attitude. I believe in the working hard for reward attitutde also. People don’t appreciate things if ithey get it too easily.



    • Connie Mann says:

      Thanks, Margaret. It’s nice to know so many people share the same work ethic and attitude. There just isn’t any substitute for hard work! And when it pays off, the satisfaction is awesome. 🙂

  10. Tricia Jones says:

    So true, Connie, and wasn’t it Gary Player who said “the harder I practise, the luckier I get”? Whichever way you look at it, hard work is the way to go.