Guest Post by Mark McCann: On Not Giving Up

Intro

Mark McCann has been a friend for over a decade. I met him through my friend Alex and got to know him a lot better when Alex lived with him.
Mark was a bodybuilder who decided one day that he wanted more. He became a prodigious writer overnight producing three full novels in under a year. You can check out his author’s page and buy his books here.
Mark then went on to create and run the pop-culture website Bad Haven. Since then Mark has been focusing on comic book writing.
Mark’s work ethic is beginning to pay off as he is now attracting the attention of major comic book publications.
Mark is a testament to hard work and dedication.
McCann has definitely influenced me. Setting up this blog, writing daily and putting myself out there was in part because of Mark.
Thank you, Mark.
You have to understand that there’s nowhere for me to mention this organically so here goes. Mark is a champion slabber. If you have any insecurities whatsoever do not get into a verbal argument with this man. He’s also a tank so you shouldn’t get into a physical one either.
I would love just hanging out in the kitchen with Mark, then the verbal digs would start. Before you know it, you’re getting broken down.
You think it sounds horrible but it was the best and Mark always would take the time to build you back up again. You could also go back at him as hard as you can go. Nothing was beyond limits for him, nothing was beyond limits for you.
From the outside, it looks like bullying but when you’re on the inside you recognise the love that it comes from.
Thank you, Mark, slabber soon.

On Not Giving Up – Mark McCann

Tom Clancy wrote, ‘an overnight success is ten years in the making.’
Clancy may have written it, but I first read it in Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel ‘Big Magic’. It’s a book about channelling your creative side, but at its core, it’s about not giving up.
Why was I, a writer of almost a decade, reading a book about creative inspiration?
Why was I not thinking of throwing in the towel you ask?
The reason is simple. At some point writers, toiling in obscurity without any recognition, start finding the prospect of giving up tempting. It often manifests itself in the dreaded ‘writers block,’ of which I had been suffering. “The block” was getting the upper hand.
When this happens, if you’re not a prodigy or first-time success, then you start to think of failure. Its spectre flits the corners of your thinking, especially when you begin to drift. It becomes apparent that you aren’t meeting your goals with the immediacy that you’d expected.
People are starting to wonder if your writing claims are hot air, or more the case; you suspect they are. You start to doubt yourself. You become unable to create and succumb to a sort of malaise of the mind. It saps you.
What do you do?
There are many rules for writing and creating. Indeed, for pursuing any vocational, purpose-filled career. There are millions of books that detail the process and will give you invaluable advice. Advice about taking criticism on the chin, improving your craft, networking – the lot.
The most important advice I have for anyone who wants to pursue anything as a career is this; don’t give up.
If it’s what you want, and you want it bad then go for it. It’s in your bones then don’t give up. If you feel sick when you aren’t actively pursuing it, you know what you have to do.
Don’t be afraid of failure. Another great saying I love, ‘the master has failed more than the beginner has ever tried’.
Whenever I am beset by ‘writers block’ and paralysed by the myriad facets of my failures, I do a quick google search. I type in ‘people who made it late in life’. It reminds me that more talented people than I, found success in their vocations much later in life than I have (even though my moderate success is still a burgeoning thing.).
Rogue author Charles Bukowski was in his 50’s by the time he made it big. So was the warm voice of modern cinema, Morgan Freeman.
Beloved thespian Patrick Stewart was in his late forties. So was screen icon Sam Jackson. Cookbook sensation Julia Child was in her fifties. The godfather of pop culture Stan Lee was shy of forty.
The key to their success? They believed in what they were doing. They wanted it to happen. They tried, they failed and they learned from it. They got back up and tried again.
There’s no magic formula, there’s only persistence. The grind and wanting it. ‘Stay hungry’, to quote the eight-time Mister Olympia, highest paid actor in Hollywood and two-term Governor of California.
It might take ten years. Prepare to dig in, work hard, embrace failure and refuse to lose.
After all, it might not take ten years. You could, in fact, make it way sooner. It only took Einstein nine.
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