When I was still an educator, I stressed the importance of persistence to my students. Every semester, I would share the famous quote from Calvin Coolidge:
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Life has a way of placing obstacles in your way, and they will test your resolve to follow through on achieving your goals. It’s no secret that I’ve faced my fair share of adversity, and many times, I’ve thought that I would never overcome some of the challenges I’ve faced. On the darkest nights, I felt as if my life had been meaningless because I hadn’t been able to complete all five books of the Brotherhood of Dwarves series. That shortcoming irritated me like a splinter in my psyche.
However, last night, I finished the rough draft of book five. It took a total of 14 years (probably twice as long as it reasonably should have), but through perseverance, I was able to see it to the end. No matter what else, that story has been told the way it was envisioned when it first came to me. Obviously, there is still a lot of editing to do, and then the hard work of promotion begins, but the story is there. At this moment, it still doesn’t feel real, but I have achieved the primary goal I set for myself.
Finishing a book is a great rush. There’s a sense of accomplishment that not much else measures up to. Finishing a series is something else entirely. These characters have been a part of my life through so many ups and downs, and in some ways, they were the solid ground beneath my feet when everything else felt like quicksand. To have finished their tale is bittersweet, albeit more sweet. Now, I get to begin the other projects that I’ve wanted to work on and start achieving the other goals I’ve set for myself. And as I conquer these new challenges, I will press on with persistence.