Thursday, November 2, 2017

What Keeps Me Going by Paul Greci

The morning of the Equinox Marathon

When I first started writing fiction 15 years ago, I didn’t consciously think about success. Instead, I was swept away by the writing process, and hoped I could finish a first draft of a novel. In other areas of my life, I’ve been pretty self-disciplined when it comes to learning new skills, and that same self-discipline helped me to keep writing.

Lately, I’ve had a little bit of external success in the publishing world. And, I contribute much of that success to internal factors: not giving up, putting forth my best effort, and growing a thick skin while facing hundreds of rejections over the years.

A friendly gathering of the thick-skinned (photo: Paul Greci)
It’s true that I worked hard to find an agent. And, like James discussed in his recent post (Handling Rejection), for me, that involved a lot of rejection. I had multiple rounds of agents reading four different manuscripts of mine over the course of four years before I found my agent, Amy Tipton.

I’ve been working with Amy for six years. Two years and two manuscripts went by before we celebrated our first sale, Surviving Bear Island. And then four more years went by before we celebrated our second and third sales.

Whether I have a book under contract to write or not, I’m still showing up to write and wearing my thick skin when it’s needed. I’m focusing on the story I’m writing, fascinated by the process, and that process involves confronting the fears, uncertainties and uneasiness that come and go in the course of creating a story. I don’t think that discomfort will ever go away, and when I think deeply about it, I don’t want it to go away. It is part of the equation that pushes me forward. It is part of the creative process.

Paul Greci is the author of Surviving Bear Island, a 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection and a 2016 Scholastic Reading Club Selection. Forthcoming in 2018 is the yet to be titled sequel to Surviving Bear Island published by Move Books. In 2019, Paul's first young adult novel, The Wild Lands will be published by Macmillan.


  1. You're an inspiration, Paul.

  2. I'm just trying to show through my own journey, that anything is possible, especially if you are playing the long game.

  3. I've been thinking about rejection a lot (it's hard not to!) and I really appreciate your sharing this. Once a writer is published, the years of work before become invisible. When there is a gap of two or four years between books, most readers assume that the writer spent that time writing, when in fact, there was inevitable struggle of some kind -- sometimes in the writing, but often also unpublished and rejected books.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!