A new year has dawned, which has inevitably led to a deluge of resolutions being bandied about the internetz: this year I will write X; I will publish Y; I will conquer the publishing world… Many resolutions focus on the end result, which tends to overlook all the hard work that goes into reaching that outcome. Today’s Tuesday Therapy, brought to you care of Jason Nahrung, reminds us that there may be a tough slog ahead — but hard work is part of the reward.
And when it comes to working hard and coming up with the goods, Jason is an expert. He has worked as a newspaper journalist for more than 20 years, and is also the editor for Queensland Writers Centre’s magazine Writing Queensland. He has served as Director of the Aurealis Awards and has also been a judge on various awards panels — and all this while writing gorgeously dark fiction! His novel The Darkness Within was published by Hachette Australia in 2007 and his latest novella, Salvage, is being published by Twelfth Planet Press later this year. (The image pictured on the left is Salvage‘s beautiful cover art!)
I haven’t been able to think of a nifty quote, says Jason, but how about a word: perseverance.
It’s a word I’ve taken to heart after conversations with, most specifically, Garth Nix, Rowena Cory Daniells and Dianne Bates; a word that I see embodied in the careers of writers such as Sean Williams and Kim Wilkins. With this writing game, you keep at it. You learn, you improve, you persevere. You write, you rewrite, you learn when to let go and when to start afresh. Whether it’s the short story that just won’t behave, the novel that can’t find a home, the career that is more hard slog than comfort, you just keep on keeping on. Because you love it and you’d rather be doing this than anything else. And that love will bring its rewards, whether expected or unexpected, if only you persevere. I still maintain that the best thing about the writer’s journey is the company kept along the way. The rest is gravy. But you won’t get to enjoy any of it without perseverance.
This is certainly a word to remember as we stare down the barrel of another year of writing!
Jason Nahrung’s writing has won the William Atheling Jnr award for Criticism or Review, highly commended in the Aurealis Awards and shortlisted in the Ditmars and the Australian Shadows. His website — a cornucopia of photographs, reviews, music commentary, and damned fine writing — can be found here.