Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pump Us Up Time

Recently, I’ve listened to some of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. There’s one thing that struck me: the main character Edmond Dantès has been trapped in prison for many years. He comes in contact with the prisoner in the cell next to him, Abbé Faria. Dantès sees all the ingenious inventions the abbé has created, so he could write, light his cell at night, dig into the wall, among many others.

The book says:

“What are you thinking about?” the abbé asked with a smile, imagining that Dantès’ silence must indicate a very high degree of admiration.
“Firstly, I am thinking of one thing, which is the vast knowledge that you must have expended to attain the point that you have reached. What might you not have done, had you been free?”
“Perhaps nothing: the overflowing of my brain might have evaporated in the mere futilities. Misfortune is needed to plumb certain mysterious depths in the understanding of men; pressure is needed to explode the charge. My captivity concentrated all my faculties on a single point. They had previously been dispersed, now they clashed in a narrow space; and, as you know, the clash of clouds produces electricity, electricity produces lightning and lightning gives light.”

As I listened to this, I couldn’t help but think about writing. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. There are a lot of ups and downs when it comes to this industry. I’ve felt my fair share of them, and I know I will feel many more.

I quoted that part of The Count of Monte Cristo because the abbé was in a situation that forced him to use his mind in ways he couldn’t have done otherwise—on the outside world.

As a writer, there are many pressures that force us to overcome intense obstacles; they make us work harder. These might include crafting the story into what you’ve envisioned in your mind, coping with difficult critiques of your book, or the necessity to do a full revision of your manuscript.

Another example, that I’m dealing with right now, is the querying process. No matter how much I’ve tried to prepare myself for rejection emails, it’s still difficult. Although, in some kind of a masochistic way, I like to receive the rejections; it makes me feel special because an agent actually reviewed my work and took the time to respond.

It takes just one agent to represent me and my book, and if I keep on trying I’ll eventually find the right one.

It’s only through these pressures, trials that make me who I am. They make me become a better writer.

I hope this post encourages you in whatever situations are particularly difficult for you.

Keep on writing. Keep on going, guys. It’s worth it.


  1. I love this quote. I think that, like abbe, we need pressure and ups-and-downs to help us reach our full potential. Easy is not always better. Remember: it takes pressure to turn coal into a diamond. Keep on querying! You can get 100 No's, but it only takes 1 yes.

  2. Thanks, Joe for the comment. I like the coal into diamond analogy. The quote hit me hard. Really couldn't stop thinking about it! That's what makes literature good, fantastic!

  3. What a great post! Makes me want to keep going AND to read The Count of Monte Cristo as I've often planned to do. Thanks for sharing that quote. Wonderful!

  4. Thanks, Julie. Yep gotta keep going and I still need to finish all of The Count of Monte Cristo. I was listening to the unabridged version. Way to long. Gonna read the actual book soon (abridged version). haha