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The Power of Persistence


When I graduated college in the summer of 2007, I had an idea for a novel. It was about a family of four siblings who couldn’t stand to be in the same room together, who had to band together when their  mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. 

I was so terrified to be writing a novel that I told almost no one about it. Over the next two years, I wrote a whole draft – about 250 pages.

I knew it could be better, but I wasn’t sure how to make it better. So in 2011, I started an MFA program through Fairfield University. 

In my first semester, I threw out basically my whole draft and started over with the same characters and the same story. 

Then, in my final semester, I rewrote the book from the beginning. Again. 

I finished the novel and found the perfect title: Catchlight. I sent out queries to more than 150 agents. I rewrote some parts of the book and queried even more agents (including one I’d met at a networking event).

I submitted the manuscript for contests and prizes. 

And after years of effort, I put the book away. I wanted to devote my energy to a new book. 

On a whim, I submitted Catchlight for the Fairfield Book Prize last fall. 

And I won. 

The prize is $1,000 and a publishing contract with Woodhall Press. Catchlight will be released in the fall of 2020. 

It’s been a 12-year journey to get this book into the world. 

So let me ask you this: where do you need to persist today?

Where are you expecting instant gratification?

What dream matters enough to you that you’ll work toward it for 12+ years?

July 12, 2019

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