A Matter of Persistence By Susan Eileen Walker

The real secret to success at anything, whether it be riding a bicycle, getting a part in the school play, getting your novel published or conquering the world, is persistence. The act of persisting means keeping on no matter what tries to stop you or who tells you to give up.

To meet any goal or make any dream come true, you have to focus on your purpose and move toward it. You have to be tenacious. You have to be stubborn. You have to be pigheaded, but you also have to be flexible. Sometimes you’ll want to wallow in the disappointments of setbacks and obstacles, but don’t let that stop you. Don’t let anything stop you. You have a dream. Figure out how to make it come true.

At five, I fell in love with words, thanks to Dr. Seuss and a mother who loved to read with me. At 13, I decided I was going to be a writer when I grew up. I wanted my name on the spine of a book, or five or ten.

At 38, my dream came true when I sold my first children’s story to an Internet website. I went on to sell more than 40 stories to them before they changed their editorial policy and stopped working with freelances. Since that start as a paid writer, I have had three young adult novels and a children’s chapter book published with more on the way.

Along the way I learned a few things.

1. Focus, Focus, FOCUS! Focus on your dreams! Focus on YOUR game plan to make YOUR dream a reality. If it helps you to focus and refine your dream, write it down or draw a picture of it, cut out magazine pictures if you need to. Make a visual stimuli of some sort. Then list the steps you must take to reach that goal. Don’t forget to think outside the box. Be flexible. Be creative. Be inventive. Think of something the rest of the world hasn’t.

2. Find at least one person who believes you can do ANYTHING. All it takes is one person who supports you to drown out all those people who tell you to give up. Iíve had several such people in my travels towards being an author. I will remain forever grateful to those friends for cheering me on. Sometimes they were the only things that kept me from having a giant bonfire in the backyard to burn every manuscript in my office.

3. When you stumble, DO NOT QUIT. When you have a setback, allow yourself five minutes, an hour or even a whole day to feel sorry for yourself. Then step back, reevaluate where the last step failed, change direction and charge ahead. My first novel, 101 Borden Street , was published after 10 YEARS of submissions and rejections, of rewriting and reevaluating and wondering if it really was a novel worth publishing. Nowadays, four years after its publication, I still have people tell me they don’t understand why I am not on the best seller list with the other, more famous, author from New Bern. Being a best-selling author is another dream I’m working on.

With persistence, patience and hard work, you can achieve anything you want! So go on, get started, dream the dream of a lifetime and then make it your reality.

Susan Eileen Walker is the unknown author from New Bern, North Carolina. Her latest novel, Secret Of The Dance, will be released from Keene Publishing/Moo Press in September 2006.