The Formula For Success And Life In The Way

My apologies for things being a bit quiet on this front lately. I’ve been overwhelmed by general life things when I’d much rather have the time to post here and write more. But that’s ever the way. The life of the writer is a combination of rejection, poverty and distraction, in varying quantities.

[Editor’s Note: strong language after the jump]

But we soldier on, burdened as we are with the un-fucking-shakeable need to tell stories. Because every once in a while we reap the rewards.

It’s all justified when we get that acceptance letter from a publisher, that incredible high when someone with no bias, no knife pressed against their fragile carotid artery, actually wants to buy something we’ve written. There really is no feeling like it and we all dream of the day when that kind of acceptance is enough to pay the bills and put food on the table. It doesn’t happen for many, but it does happen. And we’re all bloody-minded sons(and daughters)-of-bitches, refusing to give up on the dream. I firmly believe that equally important with talent is determination.

The successful people in the world are the ones who never give up. They have the dreams, but everyone has those. They have the talent, but anyone can learn that. Of course, there will always be those people with a natural gift. They’re the writers other successful writers envy. Some people are just too damned talented for their own good, but anyone can get good. With practice, with a desire to learn and a determination to succeed, people get talented. But the really successful people also have that old donkey stubborness. That “fuck you if you think I’ll quit” attitude. Dreams, talent and determination – that’s almost the formula for success. Almost.

You need to liberally add the essential spices of help from friends and luck. None of us get anywhere without those things too. It’s all very well to say that you only have to believe hard enough and anyone can reach their dreams. That’s bollocks. You need luck. But I’m also a fan of that other great proverb: The harder I work, the luckier I get.

Dreams, talent, determination, friends and luck. Put all that in a cauldron and stir it up with a heady stew of hard fucking work. That’s all there is to it.

But life does get in the way. During the process, other shit happens. You all know life, you’re living it with me. Shit’s hard, people die, nothing is fair. That’s life in a nutshell. It needs to be dealt with, decisions have to be made, money needs to be earned to pay bills and buy groceries. We’re often distracted from the real stuff by life. Because life isn’t the real stuff – it’s the essential stuff. The unavoidable, no choice stuff. The real is the dream. Make your dreams real, remember that? What’s it all for, the struggle to survive, if you’re not chasing something? Whatever it is you feel the burning need to do, whatever moves you like writing moves me, has to be the real thing for you. The thing you’re living for. The rest is existence. The dreams are living.

So life gets in the way. I’ve been a bit burdened by it myself lately. But will I give in? Hell, no. Old donkey stubborn, that’s me. Still working hard. So if things go a bit quiet around here from time to time, don’t worry about it. I’m too determined to quit.

The Formula:

Dreams, Talent, Determination, Friends, Luck
Hard Fucking Work

Never give up. Go on, you can do it!


This is a reprint from Alan Baxter‘s The Word.