Does anyone get to the point where they’ve reached their dream and then stop pursuing something? Probably not. Even if you are comfortable in where you are in your life, you have to keep on keeping on: don’t quit your daydream, dudes.
Here’s a great example of this, which my good friend Alex sent me yesterday: this year’s Man Booker prize—a highly esteemed literary award—went to Marlon James for his work A Brief History of Seven Killings. This sounds like a writer getting some insider-writer something but it’s a remarkable story because James’ 2005 debut novel John Crow’s Devil was rejected nearly eighty times before someone picked it up. Less than ten years ago, James was hustling to make shit happen.
James nearly quit pursuing this passion because it felt like running into a wall. He was so frustrated that he apparently wanted to eliminate evidence that he was working on the project.
“There was a time I actually thought I was writing the kind of stories people didn’t want to read,” he told Today. Asked if he had considered giving up writing, the 44-year-old writer said: “I did give it up. I actually destroyed the manuscript, I even went on my friends computers and erased it.” He said he retrieved the text by searching in the email outbox of an old iMac computer.
The obvious moral: if you are trying to get a creative project going and you feel like quitting—don’t. Keep throwing that ball into the field. Instead of a tenth try, go for an eleventh. Instead of a fiftieth, a sixtieth. James hit it big after almost eighty times trying. That’s a fuck ton of work and it obviously paid off. If you talk enough around the right people, someone will eventually listen to you.
Again: don’t quit your daydream. This has been your uplifting, “Hang in there, kid!” message for the week.