A to Z Challenge 2016 P is for Persistence

PWelcome once again to Living the Dream as we plod our way through the last dozen letters or so of the alphabet. Today, we have the letter P. Whenever I think of that letter, Peter Piper immediately comes to mind, but then so do other P words. The letter P begins many great words, such as power, potential, poignant, perseverence, and piety, but I chose to look at persistence again, just as i did last year, because like so many things, it’s necessary for success.


To some, persistence isn’t seen as a good thing. It’s that “dog with a bone” quality some people have that won’t allow them to give up or give in, even when the battle is lost. It’s what some people see as mulishness or pig-headedness. To others, it’s foolhardniness when a person refuses to back down. Like David and Goliath. The odds of killing the giant were slim to none, but he persisted in his goal to do so.

For many, persistence is that factor that won’t let them give up on trying to make a difference, even against trememdous odds. It’s what has led to breakthgroughs in science and medicine. To me, persistence is both a good and a bad quality, as so many of them are.

Persistance 2How many times have you told a child to”Keep trying and you’ll get it.” or “Don’t give up.”  and how many have done just that? For years, I was afraid to do what I wanted to do. I believed all the naysayers and did what society wanted me to do. I went to school each day, taught my students, went home and did wife and mommy things, But I didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t dream. I persisted in believing it wasn’t possible.

When I retired, somehow, I found the gumption to give in to my dream and try it. Doing something when everyone tells you you’re crazy, is the ultimate example of persistence. “That’s a great hobby.” “Why on Earth would you want to do something like that now? You’re retired. Enjoy your freedom. Don’t chain yourself to a desk.”

When I first started writing, I came so close to giving up well before I finished my first book. The idea that I was cocky enough to think I could write a book that others would want to read was one I clung to with tenacity, but did I have what it took to persevere? In the midst of my doubts, a friend gave me a laminated copy of Calvin Coolidge’s words on persistence.


Imagine having enough self-confidence to believe your willingness to continue with a task, an idea, or a goal, can overshadow talent, genius, and education. Where would we be if scientists and medical researchers hadn’t persisted in their tasks?

images5No writer starts off at the top of the bestseller list. If they do, it’s because they took the time to study the market and managed to latch onto a phenomena that worked for them. As a writer, I’ve learned the importance of presistence in writing. I understand the need to read, write, reread, and rewrite. I struggle with show and not tell as we all do, but I persist at it, trying to make each book, story, or novella better than the one before. Thomas Carlyle sums it up nicely.




Now, please hop over to the A to Z Challenge List to check out other incredible blogs.A2Z-BADGE_[2016]


About mhsusannematthews

Finally retired after more than 30 years as a teacher! Now, I get to spend my time gardening, enjoying my grandchildren, and writing. I finally completed the number one item in my bucket list and Crimson Romance published my first novel, Fire Angel, in April 2013. Since then I have sold 24 other manuscripts to date and don't plan to quit writing for a long time yet.
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16 Responses to A to Z Challenge 2016 P is for Persistence

  1. Zeljka says:

    Great post! Yeah, it’s a tough one… especially for someone who doesn’t have enough self-confidence…

  2. trishafaye says:

    YES!! I second everything you’ve said. And I’m so glad you persisted, because now I get to read some awesome books because of it!

  3. My persistence is oftewn tripped up by another P word I’m often tripped up by… Procrastination.

  4. My persistence is often tripped up by another P word I’m often prone to… Procrastination.

  5. Good post – persistence is the difference between being a successful writer and a failed one.

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

  6. Persistence is so important. So easy to talk about, and so much harder to live. Thank you for sharing your journey, and your thoughts!
    Happy A to Zing!

  7. Deb Atwood says:

    Thanks for the writerly inspiration! I love your quote boxes!
    @deb_atwood from
    Pen In Her Hand

  8. celticmama36 says:

    This is a great post!

    This is one topic that brings out hypocrisy in so many people. How many times have you heard, from the lips of the same person, “Never give up. Keep at it!” and then their next words are something about you being hard-headed, stubborn, not willing to let go of anything, etc. It tends to give a child mixed signals and they don’t know which way to go. One can’t both give up and keep at it.

    Thanks for such a thought-provoking post!

  9. stephie5741 says:

    I spent 20 years writing and learning my craft before landing an agent, so I know the value of persistence all too well!


  10. I really like that Coolidge quote Susanne. It’s true. There are a lot of unsuccessful but talented people out there.

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