Thursday, May 21, 2009


Malcolm Gladwell’s article in the May 11 New Yorker is titled “How David Beats Goliath.” The topic is how underdogs win by breaking the rules and supplanting ability with effort.

“We tell ourselves that skill is the precious resource and effort is the commodity,” he writes. “It’s the other way around. Effort can trump ability because relentless effort is in fact something rarer than ability.”

This is what one hears at writer’s conferences all of the time. Don’t give up. Keep writing, keep submitting.

A good friend (one with an agent and a book coming out, incidentally) told me the other day that she thinks I got bad advice from my marketing consult (see Book Burning Take 2). If I truly believe in my project, she said, I should keep submitting. She sent out her stories 200 times before she got a book deal.

Actually, her exact words were: “Tell everyone who doesn’t believe in your book to suck it.”

What will happen next? Stay tuned for the next installment of “As the Memoir Turns.”

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