Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dreaming of Calvin Coolidge

Good article for us literary scrubs. Calvin Coolidge was the 30th president of the United States. He was popularly known as Silent Cal because he talked low, talked slow, and didn't say too f***ing much. But he is the author of what is perhaps my favorite presidential wisdom of all time:
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The intellect directs the will. If your intellect does not have a clear goal front and center, then the will is unfocused and weak. Ray Bradbury was good about this. Fans approached him and said that they aspired toward being novelists. "How much do you write every day?" he asked them. Most of them sheepishly admitted that they did not write every day. "Well then," Bradbury chuckled, "you're not much of a writer are you?"

Persistence alone may not make you a great writer but I guaran-damn-tee it will make you a successful writer. It worked for renowned author Dan Brown. Bradbury also had a challenge he regularly issued to aspiring writers. His best work was his short stories and he recommended people try their hand at the short story before they work on a novel. He said to write one short story every week for a year. "I defy anyone in this room to write fifty two short stories and not be able to get one of them published."

It is impossible to fail if you never give up. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try different methods if our current ones aren't working, but once you've settled on a goal, persistence will get you there.

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