Rise and grind.
A lot of people hate that hashtag, and the philosophy that’s attached to it.
But it has merit, if you think about it. Basically: “Work hard until it’s worth it.”
If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that hard work, consistency, and a stubborn refusal to quit actually all do pay off. It just takes a really, really long time to see those benefits.
Let me give you some examples, from my personal/professional experiences this year.
During the first half of NaNoWriMo, I made 13 videos about writing, for fun. Why not?
I gained exactly 1 subscriber during that time.
For the record, subscriber count doesn’t matter to me. I just like making stuff and that stuff is there for whoever wants to watch it.
This is just an example that I hope shows what “the grind” looks like. It’s slow. Very slow.
Look at the ratio of product versus visible gains. Approximately 13 hours of work got me one new subscriber.
I could also use my blog as an example here. My blog existed for about six years before I started gaining a notable following. Even after a year straight of posting daily from 2015 to 2016, my blog’s growth didn’t immediately start taking off. I kept going. Because that’s what it takes.
And it worked.
I know it’s not fun to think about how long it takes to have something to show for all your hard work.
But that’s reality. And it’s the creators who are willing to accept that — and keep working — who eventually find success.
Instant gratification isn’t something you get in this industry. And even those who are lucky enough to earn fast fame usually don’t last long. After all, what’s the point of working hard if a very small amount of effort got you ‘famous’ in a matter of weeks?
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather put hours upon hours into getting better at creating things before a lot of people see, hear, or read them than make one good thing and have to face the pressure of following up with something just as good right away.
This is the grind. Showing up day after day. Making things. Learning how to do it better. Figuring out what you stand for, what you like, what you don’t. Refining your style. In the midst of all that, discovering who you are and what you want to accomplish.
Are there people who work hard and never succeed? Probably. That’s why hard work isn’t the only ingredient in the recipe for success. It’s not enough just to show up for a week and then stop. You have to keep coming back. And you have to learn to build up that stamina. Which even I still struggle with, after over two years of publishing a new blog post every single day.
You have to figure out how to make it work for you. You have to find the work that you’re willing to do almost every day (breaks are important). That’s how you stick with it. You do what you feel matters.
Rise. Grind. Hold out for the rewards. They will come in small pieces.
Someday, they just might come in waves.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.