Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Working Hard

Okay, so a couple of friends and I really pushed each other through our writing in November. Two of us (Ali and I) were writing new words for NaNo. Christine was editing her second, fabulous, amazing, you-want-it-now book, 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids (out May 1, 2011. Order yours now!)

We all had goalz. And we'd tweet each other to see when we were writing, and we emailed each night our final word count and last lines. (I like to see the lines out of context--plus, it made me write a really good line every time in case that was my last one and I had to email it off. No lie.)

I thought I'd be cool and put up our twitter feeds. But that got squashed real quick when I realized how much, um, work that was going to be. Ha!

Anyway, I wanted to talk about working hard today. In one of the tweets, Ali called me a workhorse. Last week, when I posted my jacket, Shannon commented that she knew all along that I was a vampire, since I don't sleep (I mean, how else do I get everything done that I get done?).

And I realized that I am a bit of a workhorse.

My husband said it best: "When Elana does something, she does it." (Said to a friend of ours.)

And he's right. When I do something, I do it. I work at it. And work at it. And work at it.

And then I work at it some more.

Because, let's face it, writing a book is a holy-truckload-of-workhorses lotta of work. If you didn't know this already, I suggest you quit before you start. You'll be happier, your spouse/significant other probably will be too. And your kids? Cats? Whatever? They'll be happier too.

If you're still here, if you've accepted that writing this book is probably going to take more time and effort than graduating college, then crack your knuckles...

...and get back to work! (lol!)

But in all seriousness, as per yesterday's post, I absolutely for-sure 100% believe that in the end, hard work trumps all.

"Bad" luck? Hard work can overcome that.

Self-doubt? Hard work can overcome that.

Vomituous first drafts? Hard work can overcome that.

Negative review? Hard work can overcome that.

Disappointment over rejection?
Wallowing in thoughts of "this is never going to happen for me"?
Scared someone else will beat you to a fresh idea?
Worried that you're running out of time?
Jealous that a friend got an agent/book deal/more money than you?

Hard work can overcome that.

Those who work hard, achieve.

I feel like that should be a quote from a famous person or something, so I Googled it. Nothin'. Dangitall. But I did find some other gems:


"Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them." ~Ann Landers


"Luck to me is something else: Hard work." ~Lucille Ball

"There is no substitute for hard work." ~Thomas Edison

So don't give up. Work harder.

Have you seen the role of hard work in your life? How hard are you willing to work?

And don't forget to check out Badass Bookie's 2011 Debutante Event! All about POSSESSION today, including some quotes from the MC's. There're chances to win...not only my book, but 11 others too! So make sure you go check it out from now until December 31! (And thanks for visiting with me and Possession over there. You guys rock hard.)

69 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing the inspiration about hard work. I do work hard and I hope you're right that it'll defeat self-doubt and rejections some day. I'm definitely in a self-doubting faze.

Your post on Badass Bookie was awesome. I love the new blurb about it. Very different than your query which was also good. Can't wait to read the book.

Jess said...
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Mary said...

You're darned right--writing a book IS hard! But so much fun (and pain...I think writers are all a bit masochistic). And, yes, my dogs are not happy when I'm focused on my writing because my fingers should be petting them, rather than typing furiously on my keyboard. I worry they may hide my computer when I'm at work.

Great post!

Jess said...

Thanks for the reminder that hard work can trump a lot of perceived barriers. LOVE the Ann Lander's quote (for some reason, writing that made me giggle...maybe because it's 5:00 in the morning and I'm a tad fuzzy).

Samita said...

Awesome post, ashamed to say I've been wallowing a lot lately.

Emily White said...

It *is* hard work, and I love those quotes. It's nice to to remember that you have some semblance of control over your own success. Thanks for the pick-me-up!

Renae said...

Love the quotes! Thanks for the reminder that no matter what your luck, hard work wins out. I can handle working hard...mastering the luck thing? Not so much!

Ted Cross said...

*sigh* I see you are writing about me again. Alright already, I'll get back to work...right after I finish this movie, oh, and a little more of my computer game.

Gail said...

This is good advice and not only does it apply to writing a book, but to life in general.

Theresa Milstein said...

That Ann Landers quote is awesome.

I've known several people in my life who have balked at doing tasks or following dreams that were hard work. The excuses were many.

I am impressed with your work ethic. You're right - our families are happier if we're happier, even if there's a little neglect from time to time.

Matthew Rush said...

Wait. So publishing deals don't just fall into the laps of talented writers with classy wardrobes? Oh well, at least my wardrobe isn't even classy to begin with ...

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Love this post! My high school guidance councellor told me not to think about university. I would never succeed.

I worked hard to prove him wrong, and now have a MSc to do that.

Now I'm doing the same with agents. I'm out to prove their rejections wrong. Maybe not with the book I've just started querying. Maybe not with my current wip. But one day, with lots of hard work (which I've been doing this year), it will hopefully happen. (I know, I'm supposed to say WILL happen, but I'm also a realist.) ;)

The Golden Eagle said...

Those are great quotes. And it's true that hard work pays off, not just for novel-writing, but for life.

Marisa Hopkins said...

"Those who work hard, achieve." ~ Elana Johnson

Excellent quote! Needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

Mary Vaughn said...

Thanks for showing that lately I've been coasting. I really must knuckle down and get going. Thanks again.

Janna Qualman said...

Inspiring! And I mean both you and your message here.

Julie said...

I love this post! And I completely agree. Even though I feel anxious to make it to the next level on any number of my goals, I know that by continuing to work hard at everything I do is the only way to get there. :)

Thanks so much for the reminder.

Kelly said...

Agreed! People think others are lucky, but most just worked their butts off!
Very inspirational, Elana!

Christine Fonseca said...

I love tis post! First, thanks for mentioning the new book...that made me teary (everything does today) - but mostly, I KNOW you are so right...Hard work gets us through all those things. Thanks for being an inspiration today. HUGS

marissameyer said...

My dad's favorite sayng that I probably heard about 8.5 billion times growing up:

"Luck plagues the diligent." ~ my dad

[at least, I can't find the original source via a half-hearted google search]

And it's true. With my recent book deal, I feel like the absolute luckiest person in the entire world. My friends and family have to keep reminding me that I actually worked really hard to get here!

foldingfields said...

I love visiting your site because it's always encouraging. Hard work is the ideal I strive for, but am so scared of at the same time. I usually quit when things get tough...but there are a couple of things I haven't and it assures me that I'm on the right path.

Kelly Lyman said...

Thanks for this post today. I tend to wallow in self-doubt and this will never happen for me type thinking even though I do work hard. Very hard. That's why I feel that working hard and never quitting go hand in hand.

Liza said...

Here is a question. Is work hard when you love it?

Angela Felsted said...

Hey, I have a quote for you. Said by the famous cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, "Before I was a master, I was a slave."

Tess said...

It is work but we are so lucky to be where we are (I know you know this) and that makes me giddy with excitement sometimes.

Magan said...

I feel I need to respond and usually have the right words for things, but since you're a bit sparkly I'll just say *fist bump to you*! It's one of the reasons I follow your blog and Twitter, your tenacity and hard work really paid off and gives hope for us aspiring authors!

Patti said...

I truly believe that. My son played in a basketball tournament this weekend and they were younger and shorter, but since they worked harder, they won.

Nichole Giles said...

Yep, I agree. Another great post, E.

Amie B said...

okay - i really really like this much better than the luck thing. luck i have no control over. hard work? now that's a horse of another color! i can work hard. i have worked hard. i continue to work hard. in fact, not long ago i had an agent tell me that i would really make it in the biz because of my "sticktoitness"....so with any LUCK, i'll find that the agent was right!

WindyA said...

Hard work CAN be sprinkled with a little good luck sometimes, but that's just it, right? the luck part is just icing on an otherwise perfectly acceptable cake.

Tom M Franklin said...

Workhorse or workaholic?

I'm all for hard work -- I don't think much gets done without it. However, I'm married to a self-professed workaholic when it comes to her artwork. (Making jewelry) When my wonderful wife gets Overly Focused on her craft the rest of the world disappears for days at a time. While I admire that degree of concentration and commitment, I believe there still needs to be some balance to life.


-- Tom

Liz Fichera said...

I love that quote by Lucille Ball. So true.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Elana, you really inspire me, you know. I wish I was your neighbor so that I could visit you all the time and then some of ya would rub off on me. *sigh* Lucky Ali. ;)

Thank you so much for this post. I was down yesterday, well, kinda am still, but like with everything else, I want to succeed. So of course it's not in my nature to give up! Never!

I really admire ya! *hugs*

~Elizabeth :)

Pam Torres said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pam Torres said...

Great post! I rolled up my sleeves and dove head first into my writing. It is hard work to write, to edit, to blog, to network, everything that is required to be a successful writer. You are an inspiration to all of us!

Write Chick said...

I totally agree about hard work being the first ingredient if you want success.
My frustration right now is having so many other areas that need hard work...my job, a hefty church calling, kid's sports, etc. that my writing is suffering.
This post gave me a new resolve...I just need to work harder at it. :-D
And I know I can do that!

Shari said...

I grew up on a farm, so I know a lot about work. And I'm not afraid of it and I think that's the only thing going for me, because I have absolutely no luck at all. So, YAY for working hard. Thanks for this post. It made me feel better.

Elizabeth Briggs said...

I am also a believer in hard work! But I really stopped by to show you this, which reminded me instantly of your book:

http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/cubegoodies/e70c/

How cool is that?

Melissa Gill said...

Writing is such hard work. I used to wonder what writers did with all their "free time" when they weren't writing, and why the heck it took a favorite author to crank out a sequel to a series. Now I know, do I ever.

I actually think that's what appeals to me the most. I am 100 times more energized by something that's hard to the point of being almost impossible.

Kristen Knight said...

This post contains scads of truth.

My FREAKING MASTER'S DEGREE was not as much work as my novel has been...and it's not even published yet...which means...more work.

But, you gotta do it, right? After a certain point, it becomes an addiction.

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

I'm the same way. I never do anything halfway. I've given up TV (and sometimes sleep and food) to fit writing and blogging and WriteOnCon into my life. And I have to believe that someday all of it will pay off. It already did with an agent. Now I just need one. more. piece. And then a thousand more after that. Ha! :)

lotusgirl said...

There's no substitute for working hard.

L.T. Elliot said...

NO!!! I had a hilarious and wonderful comment all typed up and it vanished! Grrr.

Basically it said something about bacon, something about punks, and something about hard work but I'm not working hard enough to remember it. ;P

Carol Riggs said...

Resilience and hard work pay off, and you have a book to prove that! I'm working hard too, yup. 15.5 novels and 300+ rejection letters later, and still going! Learning lots, too.

Heather said...

How do you always know just what I need to hear when I need to hear it?! You're absolutely right of course. The one who stays the course and keeps working hard is the one who achieves their goals. I'm getting back to work!

Melissa said...

As usual, great post Elana! I really needed to hear this today. I've been wallowing in the self-doubt lately. Looks like I need to get back to work:)

Paul Greci said...

Hard work is the trump card. I'm glad I like working hard. I think it makes whatever I'm doing more interesting. It sort-of ups the engagement factor, which I think is a good thing :-)

Valerie Ipson said...

I've always liked the quote--Work hard and see how lucky you become.

Margo Gremmler said...

Yes. I'm telling you, Elana, we were siamese twins separated at birth.

Okay, gotta get back to work. ;)

Donea Lee said...

Of course, you're absolutely right. I mean, absolutely! It's just hard sometimes to say "no" to my Lazy-A self sometimes. L.A. can be quite convincing... BUT, since I am one of those no-luck gals, my choice is clear. Back to work for me!! Thanks Elana - :)

lbdiamond said...

LOL, yeah, this is what I commented about yesterday. I agree that you make your "luck" through working at something until it's right. ;)

Marsha Sigman said...

Working hard is the only way I know of to achieve anything.

When I have free time (like the 5 min. after work when I am waiting for the dryer to shut off and the water to boil for pasta) I have no idea what to do. Too short a time to jump on computer to write but too long to stand staring into space without looking crazy. I wipe the counters a lot.lol

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm also a perfectionist, so I really give it my all!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I'm a perfectionist as well. If I don't give it my all then I've not tried hard enough. :)

lynnrush said...

Fantastic post, Elana. Very inspiring. It is about hard work. This industry is a crazy and exciting ride with highs and lows. Faith and hard work can get anyone through it! Thanks for the quotes. They are awesome!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I'm working, I'm working!

Actually, I'm blog hopping but then I'll get back to work.

*whistles innocently*

Krispy said...

Those who work hard, achieve.

That ISN'T a famous quote by someone?! It should be! YOUR famous quote perhaps? ;)

Sara B. Larson said...

Totally agree! Love this post.

Jennie Englund said...

Thanks for the kick-in-the-pants back to revision

Michelle said...

yes, very hard.... but it's the kind of hard I love... now housework... I could leave that anyday

Colene Murphy said...

Amazing. Perfect. Simple. And True Kick in the butt! Love it, Elana!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Dangitall? That's pretty durn close to dangnabbit. Just sayin.

Totally agree. It takes serious work and commitment to make a career out of this. You're a shining example, you little blood drinker, you.

Jan Markley said...

Yup, you're right! Hard work, persistence and rewriting. And now with my two middle grade novels published - the hard work doesn't stop. Bring it on!

Dominique said...

Excellent post! Hard work can't substitute for everything, but I've used it as a substitute for a lot of things. And luck is definitely secretly hard work.

Amie Kaufman said...

So very true. Hard work got me through my degrees, hard work has earned me all sorts of amazing opportunities through my job, and I know that hard work and enough time will get me where I want to go with my writing. Once in a while you get a free pass, but you can never bank on those! (Though if anybody works out how, please notify me immediately.)

Heather Justesen said...

Oh, so it's not just luck? =) No, this post is all too true, hard work is at the core of every success, and it makes that success so much sweeter!

Jemi Fraser said...

I can hear you inner teacher coming out!! Hard work conquers all! :)

Elena Solodow said...

Well, I worked on a novel for four years, quit, and started a new novel that night. So yeah, I think I'm ready to work.

I love reading encouraging posts like this!

Hannah Kincade said...

You are so right and for many years I wasn't willing to put in the work but I am now!! Let's do this! I'm a cashew!

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