Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Writer’s Need for Tenacity

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

The road to publication is paved with challenges and blessings. The path is seldom straight. It’s often twisted, filled with ruts, briars, bruises, and sometimes it leads us dangling over a cliff. But at the completion, we are strong and successful writers because a successful writer is tenacious.

Some writers view their work as a hobby. If it works and they sell, great. If the market rejects their writing, no problem. Nothing’s vested for them. They can always try something new.

Some writers are afraid to grasp onto their dreams. They are commonly referred to as closet-writers. If they fail, they haven’t lost anything. Or have they? Giving up on ourselves isn’t the way to success.

Other writers are doggedly determined to make it. Doesn’t matter how long it takes to learn the craft. Doesn’t matter how many rejections. Doesn’t matter how many rewrites. Doesn’t matter the intricate nuances of marketing and promotion. They are persistent. Just try to tell them they don’t have what it takes to succeed, and their tenacity raises another notch. Those are my kind of writers. Because I’m one of them.

I believe the cost of doing everything to reach writing goals far outweighs the cost of doing nothing. Failure is not an option.

Below is a acronym for tenacity. Take a look. Can you incorporate these tips into your writing life?

T  is for Thick Skin. A writer needs rhino skin to survive the publishing world. We must learn the craft, a continuing process. We toughen up to accept constructive criticism and move forward to write a quality story that honors God and entertains the reader.   
is for Entertain. Whether plot driven or character driven, story’s foremost purpose is to entertain the reader with unforgettable characters and a unique plot. Stretch yourself to create a memorable experience.
is for Never Give Up. When a critique points out flaws and weaknesses in our manuscript; or when a friend or family member believes you’re wasting your time; or when an agent or editor rejects a manuscript; it’s easy to walk away. But a successful writer never gives up. I treasure Winston Churchill’s statement, “Never, never, never give up.” I also value his quote, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” In fact, that is how we writers often feel when we’re struggling with our stories. 
is for Active. An active writer understands her career is not spent behind a desk. She  becomes involved in a writer’s group and attends writer conferences. Networking within the industry is necessary for professional contacts and friendships. An active writer keeps her body in shape. An unhealthy body means an unhealthy mind, and that means creativity crashes.
is for Characters. Characters are the lifeblood of a novel. Their roles live in the hearts of our readers. We have a responsibility to fully develop our characters physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Characters reveal themselves in every aspect of our novels, so the reader never forgets them.  
is for Inspire. One of our goals is to inspire readers to grow and change, and become better people. We accomplish this by showing a character who walked through fire and survived. We want readers to be inspired by our stories and discover ways for them to live triumphantly
is for Truth. Story is a vehicle to show truth. It’s revealed in our premise and theme, surfacing in our protagonists attitudes and motivation. God may not be mentioned in our novels, but His truth reigns in characterization and plot.
is for You. Each writer has been given a gift. The writer can choose to ignore it, play with it, give it back, or develop the gift into a beautiful story. I can’t do it for you. It’s your seed to nurture and grow.
A professional writer works hard and weaves determination into every word.
Tenacity. What does it mean to you?


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. 

She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Retreat, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson. Connect here:


  1. DiAnn,

    I love this piece on a writer's tenacity. It's an important quality. I loved your point about never giving up. Things stop when the writer gives up. Look at the tenacity it took Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen to keep marketing and trying to find a publisher for Chicken Soup for the Soul--even when rejected 140 times--now one of the best-selling series in the English language. What if they had not had tenacity and given up?

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

    1. Thanks, Terry, many people want to be writers, but they give up too soon.

  2. Love this post, DiAnn. Yes, we must never give up! Thank you for being the amazing mentor you are. You've helped me SO much in my writing journey. Love you xo

    1. Darlene, you are so sweet! And I'm turning cartwheels over your success. Thanks!

  3. Love this! DiAnn, thank you for these reminders to keep writing and never give up. God has a plan.

  4. Thanks, Melissa, God has a plan, and I'm grateful for His every Word.

  5. DiAnn, Thank you for putting normalcy to the diligent work of writing. I am writing most days, and you've upped my zeal another notch.

    1. Dawn, I'm thrilled to have encouraged you. Thanks so much.

  6. I loved your "Tenacity" write. "N" was my favorite - Never Give Up. Sometimes I feel I could be almost like that famous writer who felt he had almost enough rejection letters to paper a room in his house! But your writing today is so helpful and inspiring. Thank you again for sharing your good words.

    1. Thank you, Diane. I think of you often! Write on!

  7. Loved this Ms. DiAnn. You may remember our discussing the difference between being tenacious and stubborn at the CLASS conference in Albuquerque a few years back. Your lessons then still ring true ma'am. :-)