Steps that Lead to Success
by The Editor Company
The standard of every writer should be aimed at perfection. While this seems too high, it can be reached by three steps: rejections, criticism, persistent hard work. They come in the order named. If you take them one after the other as they come, you will reach the top.
Rejections: Study each till you have learned its lesson; it has one. Learn it before you leave it. The rejection is the criticism of the final judge and the verdict is "wanting." It is for you to discover the defect. This will be your most valuable experience. If the story had been accepted, you would never have gained it.
Criticism: The honest, capable critic who points out the faults of your work so plainly that you can see them yourself, is your best friend. If you could see the faults yourself they would not have been there; so the critic is giving you valuable knowledge which will help you to reach the top. All the praise your work deserves will be covered by the check you receive when it is sold, it will merit no praise not carried by the check. Friends who praise are a detriment. They are usually incompetent and their praise gives the unlucky recipient a wrong estimate of the value of the work. A writer's pride should consist, not in being able to write a story, but in being able to write a good story; not in the fact that work is being done, but in the fact that it is being well done.
Persistence: You must keep trying till you learn wherein you are lacking; in what your mistakes consist. You must keep working, as this is your only way to gain experience. Without experience you can not write good stories, and you can not sell poor ones. Your hard work must consist of study as well as writing.
Do not mistake valuable helps for obstacles. There is no other mistake you are so likely to make as this, and none that will do you so much harm. Don't get discouraged when you are being helped; that's foolishness. Don't desire praise that you do not deserve; that's vanity.