Diligence Is Rewarded

The ease of today’s communication brings a casual layer to the task of writing. Careful composition is a casualty of the need for speed. “Throw-away” emails and posts are the new “quick call.” However, it should never leak into the business of writing, either in craft or in professional communication.

The other day I received an email query. There was a very large file attached and the body of the email read, “Here is my book. Please take a look.” No signature line and no subject line. Only these two sentences. At least it rhymed. This was not a friend, a client, or someone I had ever met. The casual, even flippant, nature of the note all but said, “I’m not serious about the craft or business of writing.”

The best writers are those who take their ideas and their words and run them through a gauntlet of critique and reformation. They pour their words into a garlic press and slice and dice them into bits that can flavor their entire book.

This takes time. This takes hard work. And it is a process that seems endless.

You writers out there know what I’m talking about. It is the middle part of the project that is the worst. It becomes a slog instead of a joy. You no longer like the story, you no longer think your book idea is a good one after all. If you are writing a novel, you might be wishing for the demise of your main character; it would be so much easier to have that character croak so you could write “the end” and be done with it.

But diligence has its reward. A finely crafted book can bring hope to those who are hurting. A well-told story can take a reader to a place they’ve never been before. As one writer said, “A book is a place where you can consider an explosive idea without fear of it going off in your face.”

Those words you struggle to express will be a gift for someone who is struggling to express their own.

So as you wrestle with your writing demons, remember the word “diligence.” Write it on a Post-it note and place where you will see it regularly.

Samuel Johnson wrote, “What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.”

Second Peter 1:5-7 says, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

28 Responses to Diligence Is Rewarded

  1. Avatar
    Shirlee Abbott September 28, 2020 at 6:09 am #

    You’re right about the perils of the middle part, Steve. I recently shared a middle part with my critique group. I told them how as I wrote it I thought [yawn], “I’m even boring myself.” I finished it, put it away for a few days and reworked it. I was relieved when one of my critique partners praised several sections. It’s not as bad as I feared. Perseverance pays off!

  2. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson September 28, 2020 at 6:30 am #

    I agree, Steve. Following guidelines, learning writing techniques, and remaining diligent will take a writer much further than haphazard scribblings with no order. Diligence does pay off.

  3. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser September 28, 2020 at 6:35 am #

    I’m finding that the diligence I put into writing, and other things, serve me well now. These would be heartbreaking days, but learning to cope with and pass through the smaller heartbreaks of writing have toned my soul for what I did not know lay ahead, and which is now full upon me.

    So diligent, so very sure
    that writing life would thrive!
    But diligence now is to endure,
    and to endure, survive.
    My heart must give full meaning
    to every blood-red day;
    hard faith, and not day-dreaming
    will help my find my way,
    so fie on pain and tumours,
    fie on weary head;
    fie on body’s rumours
    that I shall soon be dead.
    Walk tall, be strong, and never tarry
    upon my road to Calvary.

    and never

    • Avatar
      Jeannie Delahunt September 28, 2020 at 6:41 am #

      Love the poem!!!!

    • Avatar
      Cindy Fowell September 28, 2020 at 7:59 am #

      Praying for you, Andrew. Thank you for you for sharing your heart.
      Blessings!

    • Avatar
      Sharon Kaye September 28, 2020 at 9:26 am #

      Andrew, I always look for your comments! Your writings are a gift to all of us! Thank you for sharing your journey; you do not journey alone. Prayers for you!

      • Avatar
        Andrew Budek-Schmeisser September 28, 2020 at 10:55 am #

        Sharon, I am so very honoured by your words, and so very grateful for your prayers.

    • Avatar
      Sherry September 28, 2020 at 10:10 am #

      Blessed sentiment on the journey.

  4. Avatar
    Jeannie Delahunt September 28, 2020 at 6:51 am #

    A partnership with perseverance. I don’t think you can apply one without the other.

    One must remember to apply diligence, I think, especially when there are uncontrollable or even factors at work that could sabotage quality.

    A great word to remember, thank you, Steve!

  5. Avatar
    Olusola Sophia Anyanwu September 28, 2020 at 7:35 am #

    Even God had to work diligently for 7days before He could get the reward of rest. It all boils down to penny foolish, pound wise. Thank you Mr Laube and God bless you.

  6. Avatar
    Sharon K Connell September 28, 2020 at 8:13 am #

    Thank you, Steve. Diligence in writing is so important if we want the reader following we all desire.

    After I finish my first draft and then read it through to add and subtract what’s needed, I run the entire story through three editing programs, a read aloud program, The ACFW Scribes loop, and read it through again before sending the work to my professional editor. She’s grateful that I do take the time to check my work. She still has to make a lot of punctuation and tense corrections, which I’m not very good at, but she always thanks me for putting forth my best effort.

    Why do I go through all this? Because I want my readers to enjoy the story and feel they can trust me to bring them a good one without a bunch of errors in it. I want them to look forward to the next book, and everything else I write.

    As you indicated, it’s not only the writing of books that needs to have a diligent effort put into it. Anytime we write anything for public view, we should make the same diligent effort. People are watching. I’ve seen editors write blogs and send them out to their world with dozens of errors in them. What does that say about the editor? Is it any different with us? Autocorrect gets a lot of blame for errors, but are they all due to autocorrect? I don’t think so.

    Even if I have to correct something that has already been posted, whether from autocorrect or my oversight, I’d rather do that than leave the error for my readers or potential readers to see.

    Our readers deserve the best we can give them.

  7. Avatar
    Ariel Masters September 28, 2020 at 8:18 am #

    Just what I needed to read today. The middle is the worst, but I’m trying to finish for the Genensis next year. I’ve never entered, so it would be awesome. Diligence. Thank you for this. 🙂

  8. Avatar
    Roberta Sarver September 28, 2020 at 8:44 am #

    What you said about the middle part resonated with me, Steve. That’s where I am in my WIP. It looks like an insurmountable mountain ahead. And just so you know, the quote from Samuel Johnson helped this writer. I copied it and taped it in front of me. Thanks!

  9. Avatar
    RHODA PRESTON September 28, 2020 at 8:45 am #

    Thank you for this post. This was the encouragement I needed today.

  10. Avatar
    Jean September 28, 2020 at 8:53 am #

    Thanks for this! A timely combination of how not to approach the work (by an example), specific advice, and anticipation of writers’ need for (again, specific) terms of encourage that focus, in the end, on perseverance. The scripture reference did not come across as a slap-dash addition as it sometimes can seem to be (it shows, either way, usually).

    I recently hurriedly submitted something and pais for it by embarrassing myself!)

    (Website relates to an editing project.)

  11. Avatar
    Kristen Joy Wilks September 28, 2020 at 9:03 am #

    So true! I have been writing with a goal of publication for 19.5 years now … and diligence is definitely something that you learn the value of!

  12. Avatar
    Sherry Stacy September 28, 2020 at 10:18 am #

    So true. My book now out 10 weeks, with over fifty five-star reviews. But the most interesting one? By a client of my husband’s who would never darken the door of a church. He loves the thriller, and says, “it is strangely religious!” I laughed and then rejoiced at his email comment for I know he will be confronted twice in my book about eternity. And I pray it brings hope to his world. I hope my book speaks explosively into the hearts of those who choose to contemplate Christ in the quietness of a book.

  13. Avatar
    Wendy September 28, 2020 at 10:58 am #

    Thank you, Steve, for your encouraging words.

    At 2:30am, I was having similar thoughts, after working to finish my goal for the day. I remembered the other long slogs God has brought me through, which gives me confidence for the good that is coming.

    I’m adding “perseverance” and “patience” to the Post-It note, too, and trusting His timing. Now, it’s time to press on.

  14. Avatar
    Marti Brown September 28, 2020 at 1:54 pm #

    Thank you so much for this timely email! It was much appreciated! 🙂

  15. Avatar
    Kendolyn September 28, 2020 at 2:40 pm #

    ‘Hard Work Ahead’ says it all. Writing does take time, hard work and can seem endless. I read this verse before every writing session: “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3

    I’m glad I found your website.

  16. Avatar
    REBECCA PLATT September 28, 2020 at 2:42 pm #

    I love your blog. I just finished my non-fiction book. It’s a devotional book about Christians and depression. I prayed hard about which way to go, self-publish or not. Finally, I decided seeing as this book is my ministry, and money wasn’t the goal, I decided to self-publish through an actual publishing g company so I could get it out sooner. I submitted my manuscript last week and am scared to death to hear what they say. They can still reject it even though it’s self-published.

    Without diligence, I never would’ve finished it. God bless and keep up the good work.

  17. Avatar
    REBECCA PLATT September 28, 2020 at 2:48 pm #

    Hey, everyone. Sorry for commenting again but does someone have an editing program they like to use? I would appreciate some suggestions. Thanks.

  18. Avatar
    gloria.hargrove@gmail.com September 28, 2020 at 7:55 pm #

    Thank You for this post. It encouraged me at just the right time.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. {Almost} Wordless Wednesday: What’s your word? - January 1, 2014

    […] decision was inspired by this recent post from literary agent Steve […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get New Posts by Email

Get New Posts by Email

Each article is packed with helpful info and encouragement for writers. You can unsubscribe at any time with one click. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!