Thomas Edison is widely considered the world’s greatest inventor. He brought enormous energy and discipline to all his endeavors. When he spoke about his success, he said, “The most important factors of inventions can be described in a few words:
1. They must consist of definite knowledge as to what one wishes to achieve.
2. One must fix one’s mind on that purpose with persistence and begin searching for that which one seeks.
3. One must keep on searching, no matter how many times one may meet with disappointment.
4. One must refuse to be influenced by the fact that somebody else may have tried the same idea without success.
5. One must keep oneself sold on the idea that the solution of the problem exists somewhere and that he will find it.”
What better advice can there be for us as writers? We must have a clear idea of what we want to achieve. We must embrace our purpose with intention and persistence and begin writing. We must keep on searching for what we want to say, no matter how many times we “meet with disappointment” and feel that we fall short. We must refuse to be influenced by what anyone else has done. We must continue to believe that the right approach, the right solution to our writing problems, whatever they are, is out there waiting to be discovered — and that we will find it one way or another.
All of this can be summed up in three words: purpose, persistence, and belief. If we can keep these three stones in our pocket, then just like David, we can slay our own Goliaths — whatever obstacles loom in our paths. So let’s keep Edison’s five factors in mind — and write on!