An excerpt from the epilogue to Noah Lukeman’s THE FIRST FIVE PAGES:
The answer, ultimately, to getting published is how much it means in your life. Does it take number-one priority? Some people give over their entire lives to writing. They give up their jobs; they write twelve hours a day; they apply for every grant, award, and fellowship out there; when they’re not writing, they’re reading literature, scrutinizing other writers’ techniques, reading books on writing. Thomas Mann wouldn’t even interrupt his writing to attend the funeral of his son, who had killed himself.
Genet was forced to write on toilet paper, as that was all he had during his many years in prison. When the guards found and destroyed his life’s work, he began again, recreating what he’d done from memory. Dostoyevsky spent many years in a prison camp in Siberia, where he wasn’t allowed to read anything but the Bible and was given no writing materials–just hard labor. But he continued to write when he got out, despite the fact that Russian law prohibited a former prisoner to be published. When the czar read Dostoyevsky’s House of the Dead–given to him by friends–he cried, lifted the ban and allowed the work to be published. Conrad, a Polish refugee, taught himself English while working on a ship, despite the fact that he didn’t speak a word of it until he was twenty years old. Through sheer devotion, he turned himself not only into a proficient writer but one of the great masters of the English language. Faulkner labored in factories and post offices while he wrote his books. He said the great thing about being published was that he was “no longer at the mercy of every bastard who had five cents for a stamp.
If these writers could overcome such obstacles, how can you give up after a few rejection slips?