Passion & Perseverance

I’ve gotten a lot out of the books Eric Maisel has written on creativity. I’m on Eric’s weekly email list, and from time to time he starts a Yahoo Group devoted to a topic that will be of interest to artists, or that he’s planning to write a book about. (Picks our brains, he does!)

This week he started a group called ArtistBridge. I signed up. I don’t know exactly what he has in mind for it, but the main topic seems to be how artists can connect better with audiences. (That’s the bridge part.)

A common theme, among the two dozen or so people who have sent in the requested “Howdy” email, is that they’re failing to connect with audiences to the extent that they would like to. Some of us are just too busy living life (caring for aging parents, dealing with illness, whatever). Others describe themselves as lacking entrepreneurial skills. Still others are just plain shy, or worry that their work isn’t good enough.

One person mentioned friends of hers who have put a lot of effort and money into “making it big” as writers and have ended up very disappointed. I know that happens to most of us … but in thinking about it, I remembered John and Alis. In the late ’70s or early ’80s they both worked at the magazine publishing house where I worked. Both of them wanted to be novelists, and I actually read, in manuscript, the first novel (never to be published) by each of them.

John you may have heard of under his own name — John Lescroart. His hefty hardbacks show up at Borders and Barnes & Noble pretty regularly. Alis published a couple of fantasy novels under her own name (Alis Rasmussen) but later sold a lot more books as Kate Elliott.

What did John and Alis have that you and I don’t? Read the headline. Passion and perseverance.

My recollections of those manuscripts are dim and fragmentary (though perhaps not quite as dim and fragmentary as John and Alis might prefer). But I don’t think I would have been alone in thinking neither book was ready for serious agenting. And yet, both authors later enjoyed great success. (My two paperbacks, meanwhile, completely disappeared from the bookstores….)

What did John and Alis have that you and I don’t? Passion and perseverance.

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