If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know I’ve been on a grit kick. I first got tuned into grit after listening to the Freakonomics Radio podcast about grit and reading Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit, the Power of Passion and Perseverance. From this podcast I discovered how gritty people become great in anything from spelling bees to athletics. What Duckworth discovered was, years of hard work and practice are more of a factor than natural talent.
Do I Have It
If you asked me if I had grit when it came to writing, I would have immediately said yes. I do have it, but not for the reasons I thought I did.
I’ve written over 35 books in the last 25 years, but I’ve only published three novels and six children’s books. You’d think just completing that many books would show I have grit, but what it shows me is that back in those early days I didn’t have the grit to make them publishable. When I hit a snag, I moved on to a new project. It took me years to develop the grit to stick with a project and work and rework it until it was publishable.
I believe the principles from Duckworth’s book can be applied to any aspect of my life. I’m currently working to develop grit in two areas—running and marketing my books. I know this sounds like a really bizarre combination, but both are areas where I don’t excel, so they have that in common.
I’ve found when I’m running, I think about how to become a better marketer. And when I’m working on marketing, I think about running and I look for ways to improve my form and speed. I continually remind myself that each week my running is improving, and I can do the same with marketing.
Even as I write this there is a weight lodged in my stomach and a little whiney voice in my head saying no, no, no. I don’t wanna market. I just wanna write my books.
The fact of the matter is, if I don’t market my books no one will read them or even know about them, and why go to all that work if they aren’t read?
And honestly, my efforts to market my books have been more like throwing spaghetti on the wall and see if it sticks. I’m a hit and miss marketer at best, but that is going to change.
I’m digging deep to persevere, to never give up, to put as much time into learning marketing as I have writing.
Talent v Grit
Before I started reading about grit, I thought those people who were successful at marketing were those with an innate, inborn talent that I could never hope to achieve. After I started reading about grit, I am convinced it is less about talent and more about perseverance. People who are successful, whether they start with natural talent or not, have spent years practicing and improving their craft until they are successful. They don’t quit, they don’t give up and I am determined to do exactly that. I won’t give up until I succeed.
I am determined to become more than proficient with marketing. I intend to excel at it, but saying this won’t make it so.
First, I lack two major things—confidence and knowledge, so these are my first goals. I’m starting with knowledge, and I believe confidence will follow once I start seeing success.
This week I have started allotting 30 minutes a day to reading about marketing and setting up a strategy, which just happens to be a similar strategy to my running.
Five weeks ago I started running, and I had an impressive 15 minute mile! Each week I’ve added a half a mile, and yesterday I ran three miles at 11.68 minutes.
Before you write this off as talent, it’s not. I have no natural talent in athletics, and as my blog says, I am the Klutzy Athlete. But what I lack in talent, I make up for in determination—GRIT—and you have it, too. You just have to dig deep and find it, develop it.
What are you passionate about? Do you have the grit to keep going when the going gets tough?