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25 favorite quotations on perseverance for writers or anyone

Sage statements on hanging on and hanging in

What do NaNoWriMo novelists, cross-country cyclists, marathon runners, mountain climbers, triathletes, and inventors have in common? Perseverance is the key to these and other long-haul endeavors.

What is perseverance?

This trait points to a lasting form of unfailing effort that patiently and wholeheartedly persists until a goal has been reached.

Synonyms for perseverance include constancy, dedication, determination, diligence, drive, endurance, moxie, persistence, purposefulness, resolution, stamina, steadfastness, stick-to-itiveness, and tenacity.

Writers who commit to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November and follow through to complete the Herculean task are supreme examples of perseverance.

Many well-known figures have offered insights about perseverance. Here are 25 top quotations (arranged alphabetically by speaker and gathered from multiple sources) on this admirable character quality.

25 perseverance quotations

  1. Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)

  1. Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek. Mario Andretti (1840 - ____)

  1. Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th. Julie Andrews (1935 - ___)

  1. The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

  1. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  1. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. Confucius (551-479 BC)

  1. Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.  Marie Curie (1867-1934)

  1. Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure. Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

  1. Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)

  1. The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

  1. Though you may hear me holler, and you may see me cry – I'll be dogged, sweet baby, if you gonna see me die. Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

  1. Perseverance, secret of all triumphs. Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

  1. If your determination is fixed, I do not counsel you to despair. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

  1. Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

  1. Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul. U.S. General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)

  1. It always seems impossible until it's done. Nelson Mandela (1918 - ____)

  1. Thankfully, perseverance is a good substitute for talent. Steve Martin (1945 - ____)

  1. Genius is eternal patience. Michelangelo (1475-1564)

  1. Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. A.A. Milne (1882-1956)

  1. It’s always too soon to quit. Norman Vincent Peale (1989-1993)

  1. Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little. Plutarch (46-120)

  1. I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature. John D. Rockefeller (1939-1937)

  1. Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. George HermanBabe” Ruth, Jr. (1895-1948)

  2. By perseverance, the snail reached the Ark. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)

  1. In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm. In the real world all rests on perseverance.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

What’s your personal favorite popular quotation on perseverance?

And, if you are a writer who is completing NaNoWriMo this time around, please say so. We’d like to cheer you on! 

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Writer etiquette: Is it OK to point out typos in others' writing?

Oops! Did you just pick out a glitch in another writer’s grammar? How about a wrong wording, a spelling stumble, or a typographical transgression? What should you do about it?

Writers often are quite skilled at editing and proofreading. (At least, we can usually spot errors in others’ work fairly readily. Our own material may be a different story altogether.) As wordsmiths, we tend to possess pretty adept language skills. Many of us aim earnestly to be careful readers.

That’s a two-edged sword.

No one’s perfect. How rare is it for a writer to page through an entire book, magazine, or blog post without catching a single grammatical, spelling, or typographical error? They sort of jump out at the trained eye.

Writer etiquette:  Is it OK to point out typos in others' writing?

Gaffes are almost a given. So what’s a writer to do?

Maybe it’s a good idea to consider these questions before donning one’s volunteer editor hat and lobbing critiques (or helpful suggestions) at other writers’ work.

  1. Who is likely to read the item? A private text message, email, or letter is one thing. An online article or publicly available book is another matter.

  1. Is the error found in a published piece? A draft or manuscript is easily mended. A printed or posted item may not be. Spoken words (even recorded ones) are virtually impossible to correct. Plus, people are generally more forgiving of misspeaks than of misprints. Is it worth the potential push-back to point out an error?

  1. Is it too late for a fix? If a correction isn’t an option, why raise the issue? The proverbial ship has sailed.

  1. How well do you know the writer? If it’s a close friend, a family member, or a trusted colleague, a quiet correction may be well received. If the flub comes from a student or a subordinate, then your feedback should be expected. On the other hand, if you’ve spotted a typo on a random blog or in an eBook by an unfamiliar author, you cannot possibly anticipate the potential response. It’s also possible that the flaw entered the picture from an editor’s or headline writer’s desk, rather than at the hands of the actual writer.

  1. How bad is the misstep? And is it actually a mistake at all? Is this a case of alternate spellings (such as “color” and “colour,” “favorite” and “favourite,” or “airplane” and “aeroplane”)? If the author is British, the second forms are considered correct. If he or she is American, the first ones are right. Here’s an aside: Sometimes skilled writers break grammatical or spelling rules on purpose, simply to emphasize a point or create a certain effect. It’s called “poetic license.” (Who’d a thunk it?)

  1. What is your motivation for bringing up the typo? This is a matter of self-examination. Be honest. Are you aiming to save the writer from potential embarrassment, or do you hope somehow to score personal points or a prideful uptick? Those attitudes are not likely to go over well. It’s a content typo, not a reader’s ego trip.

  1. How do you plan to mention the error? Private communication is always the best avenue for such a message. A public post critique, a pointed book review, or a comment in a crowded room are never appropriate for airing others’ errors.

  1. How will you phrase your observation? Graciousness and courtesy count for plenty among fellow writers. Snarky or superior-sounding comments are off-putting. Kind observations tend to be more welcome. Also, it’s best to stay focused, pointing out the exact location of the apparent slip-up and steering clear of judgmental or generalizing statements. Remember: You’re just calling attention to a single blooper, not trying to school the writer.

  1. Are you prepared for a less-than-positive reaction from the writer? Many people respond defensively to criticism, no matter how gently it is presented. Hey, it’s possible. The author may or may not consider your input, but that’s not your concern. The bottom line is simple: If you are not the editor or publisher, it’s not your job to fix what’s broken. That’s up to the writer.

  1. What if someone finds a boo-boo in one of your works someday? This isn’t a far cry for most of us. Unless you have a foolproof editor, it’s a possibility. Grammar- and spell-check programs don’t catch everything. And no writer is a 24/7 Hawkeye. Most of us (if we’re lucky) have a few trusted colleagues or confidantes who secretly and tactfully alert us to dreaded typos when they appear. Such folks are like gold to us.

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10 questions to ask before hiring an editor for your book manuscript

Hiring an editor feels like a daunting prospect to most aspiring authors. Choosing the right editorial professional can be a critical and costly step. Certain criteria come into play, as the writer evaluates potential candidates.

Consider these 10 key questions before picking an editor for your pre-published book.

Frequently, professional editors will present much of this information on their websites or in their own promotional materials. If not, these queries merit discussion.

1. What is the editor's educational background?

What degrees does the editor possess? In what fields? An archaeology degree might be useful, if you are offering a book on Roman ruins. But an academic background in journalism, literature, or writing is likely to apply more to hands-on editing.

2. What relevant experience does the editor possess?

Professional experience is critical.  On what sorts of projects has the editor worked? A fiction editor may not be ready to tackle a medical treatise. A technical editor might be less-than-equipped to polish poetry. And a textbook editor could be at a loss to evaluate a novel’s plotline, dialogue, scene descriptions, or character development.

3. Is the editor willing and able to provide samples?

Sample works are a must, including published works. Ideally, the editor is also able to provide actual mark-ups, so you can see what sorts of changes he or she is likely to make on a manuscript. Do the editorial changes focus on facts, grammar, typographical errors, or other concerns?

4. What services does the editor offer?

Editing services may include content correction, fact-checking, and preparation for production. Proofreading may be separate. Not every editor offers proofreading, and not all proofreaders edit. It pays to ask ahead of time.

5. Will the editor present client references?

An experienced editor ought to be willing to offer names and contact information of previous clients, who can attest to his or her abilities and quality of service.

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6. Who are the editor's existing clients?

Here’s another key concern. It’s a good idea to find out who an editor’s current clients are, even just to eliminate the possibility of a conflict of interest or confusion. If your book focuses on a specific topic (such as a current event, a how-to, or a pinpointed fiction niche), you will want to know your editor won’t juggling two very similar projects.

7. Will the editor agree to a written contract?

The days of the simple handshake or verbal agreement are long gone. A written contract should be a basic assumption for professional editorial services. You may want to be leery of any editor unwilling to take this step.

8. Does the editor agree to clear deadlines?

The calendar counts. Even if you’ve been working on your beloved manuscript for years, pinning down the editor to actual dates is a reasonable expectation. Exact dates for completing various steps of the editing process should go in the written contract.

9. Can the editor stick to confidentiality?

This should also be spelled out in the contact. Your pre-published book is your secret, and the editor must keep it so.

10. Does the editor's pricing seem legitimate and reasonable?

Exact pricing for manuscript editing may be hard to pinpoint. Some editors charge by the page, while others bill by the hour. Ask around, and do some online research to find current price ranges. A too-cheap editor is a red flag, but a too-costly one may be risky as well.

Where can you find a suitable editor?

Networking is essential. Ask other authors for referrals. Check with a respected literary agent. Inquire with any publishing contacts you might have. Then double-check details, researching each name you receive.

What about asking for free editing?

Asking a friend to read a manuscript for free could be somewhat helpful, particularly in the early stages. Begging a local creative writing teacher, literature professor, or journalist for a read-through can be useful too. (Warning: These options may be off-putting. Plenty of wordsmith types don’t actually welcome such time-consuming and possibly awkward requests.) But, if you find someone who is both good with words and willing to pore over your pages, it might be worthwhile.

Hey, an extra set of eyes usually can’t hurt, right?

Maybe not. However, plenty of authors can relate stories of receiving all manner of inappropriate content comments and suggestions from fellow writers, writing groups, and free readers. More than a few have been surprised to find actual editors undoing the specific changes these folks made, based on input from their own amateur friends and colleagues.

Plus, these freebie editing options usually cannot compare to the scrutiny, objectivity, and thoroughness a skilled and trained professional editor can provide. In many cases, the expenditure may be well worth it.

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