Hanging in There: The Art of Persistence

By Eilis Flynn

Everyone’s seen that poster of that cute little kitten clinging desperately to the branch. “Hang in there!” the message goes. Sometimes we’re comforted by the sentiment, sometimes annoyed, depending on how our writing is going. Sometimes all we really want to do is walk away from our current opus and get a nine-to-five job, especially after yet another rejection or a case of writer’s block the size of … well, something really big. Quitting is so very tempting at those times.

This isn’t just for writers, of course. It could be a martial art, something that, unlike writing, awards pretty fabric belts each time you pass a test. “You can’t learn persistence by quitting,” this essay starts, and that’s something that no one can deny:


Sometimes it doesn’t matter, you’re going to quit because there’s no point in trying anymore, you have completely and utterly failed. But you know you have to try again, just one more time, just in case. Think of carrying on as a challenge, even though “carrying on seems to be the last thing you want to do,” according to this piece:


“Quitters never win, and …” you’ve probably heard this one before, too. According to this piece, persistence overshadows talent as one of the most valued attributes we can possess. Here are a few role models for us to remember: Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Harry S Truman … famous names of only some of those who have lost, only to try again, including Winston Churchill, who said: “Never… Never… Never quit.” 


Setbacks? Did you say “setbacks”? How do you deal with them? According to Sheila Rabe, that’s going to determine whether you keep writing. You can’t get past the block in the road until you figure out how it got there. Ask a few questions to find out:


It’s frustrating, but you know you have to work your way through it. So how do you get to the final step? Here’s a few suggestions and some very sage advice:


Hang on in there!

Copyright 2006 Eilis Flynn