Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Recipe for Success by Jannine Gallant

Those of us in the book writing business are constantly looking for success, searching for ways to sell more books and earn a little recognition for what we do. It occurred to me this past weekend that the elements to achieve success are the same, no matter what it is you want to do. Many of you know my older daughter has always been a runner. I'm going to use Tara as an example of what it takes to succeed, and how we can apply the same strategy to our writing (or any other) pursuits.


Element #1: Talent
I don't care what people say, if you don't have a certain natural talent for whatever it is you're doing, you aren't going to succeed at it. You can always fix problem areas and improve your craft, but if you're a writer, you'd better be able to string together words in a coherent manner and tell an interesting story. For Tara, she was always naturally good at running and biking. She inherited her talent from my husband who is extremely athletic and good at every sport he's ever done. She blames me for passing along inferior athletic genes, but I tell her she got her brains from me, so she shouldn't complain. LOL

Element #2: Hard Work
This is what you have to do to improve on the natural talent you were given. You have to work your butt off. I don't care how good you are, if you don't put in the time, you aren't going to reach your goal. If you're a writer, that means actually writing. Book after book after book. Chances are you aren't going to produce the Great American Novel on your first try. With every book I write, I get better. I learn what works and what doesn't to improve my craft. You aren't going to produce a better book if you don't work hard at honing your skills, and that takes practice. Butt in the chair and fingers on the keyboards, people! For Tara, it meant running and biking and swimming ALL THE TIME. Training is a lifestyle for her. Her cross country coach in high school gave her the "Hardest Working Athlete of All Time" award. Now in college on the Cal Triathlon team, she never lets up. She works to improve all the time.

Element #3: Persistence
Sometimes it's hard to keep trying when we face failures. In writing it can be rejections, no sales, no notice. We ask ourselves why we bother. Well, the simple truth is you won't succeed if you give up. Tara went from being a powerhouse at a small school to not being good enough to make a varsity running team at a top school. She put education over sports when she chose to go to Berkeley because she knew she wasn't good enough to run for them. After a miserable freshman year, she discovered the Triathlon team. But just being on the team wasn't enough, and the Cal team was large and strong. She wanted to be one of their top girls. She had to learn to swim properly since she had zero experience, and she honed her biking skills and went back to her passion for running. She persisted, and she worked her way up to getting noticed by the coach and kept at it until she was included in the elite group training. That's what we have to do if we want to succeed--persist until we get noticed.

Element #4: Luck
Yes, luck. I swear no matter how talented and hard working and persistent we are, we can all benefit from an element of luck. That publisher who finally notices you. The Bookbub ad that bumps up your sales. BUT, if you haven't put in the other 3 elements when luck finally happens, you won't be ready to take advantage of it. Make luck work for you instead of having it pass you by with little or no benefit. For Tara, luck had a hand in her recent success at the Collegiate Club National Championships in Tuscaloosa, Alabama over the weekend. She'd worked her butt off to hone her talent and be ready to go, and she expected to do well. Then rain happened, lots of rain that required opening flood gates on the river the kids were to swim in for the first leg of the triathlon. For safety, they had to change the format to run/bike/run. Tara took full advantage and finished 10th out of 482 girls. By the way, 4 of the Cal girls finished in the top 10, and they won the National championship, so I wasn't kidding when I said their team was strong. I'd call that a success story for both my daughter and the team!


So, for those of you who lack motivation to sit down and write, keep the faith. Use your talent and boost your skill with a lot of hard work. Persist, and maybe luck will happen to you. It certainly won't do you any good if you quit trying and don't have that book ready to go! That's my pep talk for the day. If you haven't read BURIED TRUTH yet, now's the time. LOST INNOCENCE will be out before you know it!

21 comments:

RE Mullins said...

The only thing I think you forgot on your list was love. Who wouldn't enjoy raking in book sales? Yet, it is the love of writing and the clamoring characters in my head that keeps me returning to my stories.

Great post

Diane Burton said...

Great post, Jannine. Love the comparison to your daughter's running. Talent, hard work, persistence, & luck. My daughter has had several wonderful opportunities. People say how lucky she is. No, not just luck. She put in the other 3 on your list first. For us writers, we have to write, write, write. I need to get back to my WIP. :)

Jannine Gallant said...

Robin, loving what we do sure makes putting in all that hard work a lot easier!

Jannine Gallant said...

Diane, I fully believe we have to be ready for luck. I've seen authors get a lucky break, but they had put themselves in a position to take advantage of it when it happened. And for us, that means having those books ready to go!

Alison Henderson said...

I'm so impressed by Tara's accomplishments. She was such an accomplished athlete in high school, I just assumed she sailed on to success in college. To hear how hard she had to work to make it to the next level is indeed an inspiration.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Well go, Tara! That girl has such a bright future. Way to go not giving her more athelete genes, Jannine. LOL Your post sort of nails it right down the line. If we aren’t home when opportunity knocks it’s going to move on down the street. So excited for LI to be coming out. ‘Bout time, huh? Gotta to to my local B&N to take more pictures!!!

Susan Coryell said...

So glad you were honest and included LUCK in your list. I truly think I am a published writer today primarily because I lucked out getting agents and publishers to take me seriously. We all work and persist and hopefully utilize our talents, but without luck, where does it get us?
Nice post--makes us writers THINK!

Jannine Gallant said...

Alison, Tara could have run varsity cross country at a division 3 school, but she was focused on going to a larger, more prestigious university. The result was having to find a new sport and work hard at it to succeed.

Jannine Gallant said...

Margo, I definitely have no natural talent when it comes to sports! I'm excited for Lost Innocence to release. For those of you on NetGalley, it's available there to read and review!

Jannine Gallant said...

Susan, I believe luck plays a big part in getting noticed. But if we don't have a solid product when it happens, all the luck in the world won't do us much good!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Great post, Jannine. You have modeled the traits to success for your girls and so has your husband. Look at them go! You must be so proud!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks, Rolynn. I definitely am!

Andrea Downing said...

Excellent list, Jannine, and as the mother of another successful runner, much appreciated. Print-worthy!

Jannine Gallant said...

Print worthy is high praise! I’m glad it resonated with you, Andi.

Leah St. James said...

Wow...good for Tara, and for her parents for teaching her the value of hard work, dedication and determination. And I wouldn't pooh-pooh the brains it took to be accepted into Berkeley, either! Thanks for sharing the "recipe"!

Brenda Whiteside said...

True, true, Jannine. Thanks.

Jannine Gallant said...

I think she's pretty happy about the brains, Leah. LOL

Jannine Gallant said...

Once in a while, it all comes together, Brenda!

Alicia Dean said...

Excellent post and great advice! Your daughter's story is a great example of how to succeed!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks, Alicia. Success isn't a simple or easy process for any of us.

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