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« Voice, Voice, Voice | Main | Exercising Optimism: Writing a Series »
Tuesday
Aug172010

Ride the Hard: Inspirational Words from Nora Roberts

 


Okay, first, get your minds out of the gutter over the title.  I know you went there.

 

The first luncheon at RWA featured Nora Roberts as the keynote speaker.  For those of you who aren't romance readers, she's basically the queen.  She's written over 150 NY Times Bestsellers!  I know, crazy, right?  I can't even imagine.

Beyond being an entertaining speaker, she had a great message that I found really inspiring.  She said she's heard people complain about how hard it is to get published "these days."  That things were easier "back in the day."  She scoffed at that.   Try writing on a typewriter with carbon paper, try researching without the internet, try submitting to Harlequin when they said they only had room for one American writer.  She said it's always been hard--that it's supposed to be.  Here's the quote (stolen from this site because frankly I didn't take notes, I was busy eating my green chicken--yes, green.  Don't ask.)

Writing is hard. It's supposed to be hard. The fact that it's hard is what makes it special, makes it worthwhile to keep going. Embrace the hard work.  For doing so makes writers special. 

That really impacted me.  I think it's so easy to get  frustrated in this business.  The rejection can beat you down and make you feel like you're banging you head against the wall.  And oftentimes, we're doing that head-beating without very much support around us.  Sure, our loved ones cheer us on, but we all know that many of them still see our writing as a hobby, a quirk, a pipe dream that's not going to go anywhere.  And that makes it tempting to give up.

 

But if I've learned anything by going to conferences and writers' groups and by reading blogs, it's that persistence and commitment to constant improvement are vital if you're going to succeed at this.  It's rare that you run across a writer who says--oh yeah, I queried my first book and I never got rejected, agents fell over themselves to represent it and I went on to be a bestseller.  Um, right.

No, the stories you hear are about people who kept going despite all the rejection and setbacks, who love writing so much that they are willing to "ride the hard."  And even once authors get to that next step--an agent, a sale, etc., there's more hard and rejection beyond that.  So each of us has to decide whether we're willing to ride the hard to get there.

And, Nora's last bit of advice--find friends in the writing community who get you and who will be there when things are great and, more importantly, when things are no so great because in Nora's words: "no one should have to face the hard alone."

So what do you think of Nora's advice?  What do you do when you get to those head-beating moments?  Do you have people in your life that you can face the hard with?


 
 
 

*Pic from above credited to this site.  Check out the rest of their tongue-in-cheek demotivators, really funny.



**Today's Theme Song**
"What It Takes" - Aerosmith
(player in sidebar, take a listen)


 

Reader Comments (23)

I've heard that nothing that is worthwhile comes easy. I guess that's kind of the same thing. Also, since Nora Roberts is my absolute favorite author of all time (I'm pretty sure I've read each and every one of those 150 best sellers--even the ones written before I was born) I'm pretty sure I"d have to agree with her!

Green chicken? :[

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterj.leigh.bailey

Nora Roberts has always been one of the people I love to hear from about writing. People seem to think that is was so easy for her and others to make it. Her message has always been the same: Work hard, it pays off. Last year she rocked the boat by telling people she felt like b*tch slapping anyone who said their muse wasn't working with them. She said, it's your job, do your job.
It isn't easy, even after publicaton. Authors deal with bad reviews, inattentive publishers, and unfortunately, other authors at time. There is rejection all the time in some form. The best thing you can do is keep writing. I was talking to a friend yesterday who said, "I don't think I am better than a lot of other people. My writing is not overly exeptional. But, I never gave up. I was too stubborn to walk away." And I think that is a lot of it. Weather the rejections and the end result is fabulous.
Great post, loved reading it:)

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa Schroeder

Great post. I have always liked Nora for her no-nonsense attitude. I need that every now and again.

I admit, I'm frustrated right now because I keep getting requests for partials and fulls, then they tell me the time period is a hard sell (it's WW2). But y'know what? I have to keep going. It's not in me to quit.

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa Marsh

Good words to keep in mind during the "head against the wall" times.

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Leszczuk

I agree with everyone here. Thanks for sharing this inspiring read. :)

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVixen Pearl

Melissa Marsh - for the record, I ADORE WWII and I am forever hopeful that it's going to be HUGELY popular and hope it's soon. I hope you get to be at the crest of that wave. :-)

And what I love about Nora is that she never bullshits. She tells it like it is. When you're trying and trying to get published it *is* hard and you just have to keep going. I thought once I sold I would just *get it* and things would be easier. Some things are as I learn more about the industry etc. but I've had rejections since selling and man, it's STILL hard.

But she's right. How many times have we heard...oh I could write one of those books. I'd like to write a book. How many do it? It's what makes us special. It's what makes us the tip of the sword.

Great post.

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Alward

I loved Nora's advice. I also loved that I got to hear it live and in person. :)

It's hard, but that's what makes it great. :)

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Amanda Hooper

I also agree with everyone here, about the message as well as the dedication and talent of Nora Roberts (Her Circle Trilogy is my all time favorite books!) Thanks for another excellent post, Roni...

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRomance Odyssey

Great advice. The rejection sucks, but if you have people around you who know what it's like and support you, makes it a lot easier.

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKM

Thank you for this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Writing is hard. Rejection is hard. This summer I've done a lot of soul-searching about whether it's worth it. But I can't stop. If it was easy, everyone would do it, right?

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Thornton

Great post! Norah Roberts and Rocky have it right: Writing takes "hard work, perseverance and hard work." :)

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElaine AM Smith

*snickers* Okay, first, you know me way too well. I did so totally go there. But you can't blame me. You're a friggin' romance writer. Second, you made me tear up. Totally. This is so true. Every bit of it. Thank you Nora for saying it, and thank you Roni for bringing it home and blogging about it. *squishy hugs*

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina Lynn

Exactly what I told my husband recently! LOL My favorite of Nora's are the Eve Dallas series. Between encouragement from Linda Lael Miller (she works hard every day!) and reading the versatile books from people like Nora, I know I can make it. Wished I'd been there for that one!

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeona

I absolutely agree with Nora! She's right on target. It took me years and years to finally see my dream come true. I learned a great deal along the way. And what she said about after publication is very true. Once you're published there's even more things to do that are just as hard. Guess that's life. There's always a hill to climb.

I've heard Nora speak on several occasions. She knows her stuff! Thanks for sharing this.

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathi Oram Peterson

Nora Roberts!! Holy cow-I've seen TONS of books by her. She has about two or three shelves at Barnes and Noble-just with her books.

I'm definitely taking her advice!

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOddyoddyo13

I think she's right on with her advice. And yay for writer friends who "get" it all. Yes, I have people I can face the hard with. Thank God.

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawn Simon

I'm late to the party, but what else is knew? Anywho, Nora rocks. She gave the kick in the butt we all need sometimes if we hope to succeed in this business.

But as much as her speeches rock, her books are even better. *coughcough*

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjwebb1998

Great advice! One of the reasons publication is so exciting is that it's so damned hard to get there.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIndia Drummond

Yes, yes, thanks.

What annoys me are the number of people who are not willing to do the hard work.

It reminds me of a line from The Odd Couple, when Oscar thought Felix could fix an overcooked meatloaf by covering it with gravy.

Where am I going to get gravy?
Doesn't it come?
No, gravy doesn't just come ... you have to make it.

Good work doesn't just come either, like a good gravy it has to be made from the delightful juices of the meat, mixed with love and thickener, stirred carefully and with patience.

Darn, now I'm hungry.
Later.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFlorence

I'm new to your blog, and love it! Wonderful, helpful material, and very inspiring.

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Hawkinson

I absolutely agree with Nora! She's right on target. It took me years and years to finally see my dream come true. I learned a great deal along the way. And what she said about after publication is very true. Once you're published there's even more things to do that are just as hard. Guess that's life. There's always a hill to climb.

I've heard Nora speak on several occasions. She knows her stuff! Thanks for sharing this.

June 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathi Oram Peterson

I'm late to the party, but what else is knew? Anywho, Nora rocks. She gave the kick in the butt we all need sometimes if we hope to succeed in this business.

But as much as her speeches rock, her books are even better. *coughcough*

June 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjwebb1998

Nora Roberts has always been one of the people I love to hear from about writing. People seem to think that is was so easy for her and others to make it. Her message has always been the same: Work hard, it pays off. Last year she rocked the boat by telling people she felt like b*tch slapping anyone who said their muse wasn't working with them. She said, it's your job, do your job.
It isn't easy, even after publicaton. Authors deal with bad reviews, inattentive publishers, and unfortunately, other authors at time. There is rejection all the time in some form. The best thing you can do is keep writing. I was talking to a friend yesterday who said, "I don't think I am better than a lot of other people. My writing is not overly exeptional. But, I never gave up. I was too stubborn to walk away." And I think that is a lot of it. Weather the rejections and the end result is fabulous.
Great post, loved reading it:)

June 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa Schroeder

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