A Reflection on Success

By Mary Hay  Davis

Sophia Loren said, “Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent.”

Each of us travels our own unique road throughout our writer’s journey, and it’s unlikely that any two of us got to this point in exactly the same manner.

There are two things, however, we should all share — a deep-seated faith in our personal talents, as well as an unwavering commitment to bringing those talents to light.

How many of us have ever rushed to the mailbox (or our inbox) on a daily basis, to eagerly await the chance of an official acceptance letter to appear? We become hyper focused on receiving some form of validation, and this process often becomes the Holy Grail for many writers. We become so focused on having others corroborate our merit and talent that we forget what really delineates successful writers from those who are not is an unyielding belief in oneself.

Talent is a natural resource, not unlike water, forests or even minerals. In that vein, consider this: All diamonds, no matter how large or valuable, started out as lumps of coal. Through a process of heat and pressure, the raw material is transformed until it reaches a state of near flawless perfection.

This is the same type of transformation most writers will experience during their careers. Adversity and rejection are actually part of the process, and each incident is but a chisel mark that helps shape you as you develop and grow in your writing career.

Raw talent is seldom obvious to the outside world. It’s up to the possessor to hone and polish it and then let it shine brightly for others to see.

I’d like to share with you now the story of Paul Potts. He was a mild-mannered mobile phone salesman from England. A bit socially awkward, he persevered and pursued his passion by choosing to shine a light on his talent — he entered ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ contest to pursue his dream of an operatic singing career.

The video of his audition is inspirational, and a reminder that no matter how others might perceive you or how dim they might assume your light to be, it’s up to you to remain true to yourself, and hold on to the one trait all successful writers share:


There is a well-known motivational saying: YOUR ATTITUDE DETERMINES YOUR ALTITUDE.

We can talk about all the tools that are necessary for a writer to succeed, from computer and office equipment to the latest edition of Writer’s Market. But the greatest tool for success is found not from any supply catalog or bookstore, but from within ones own self.

Much like the Little Engine That Could, faith and unwavering belief in your personal talent are the tools in every successful writer’s toolbox.

And remember — if a mobile phone salesman can earn a chance to perform in front of the queen, why can’t a soccer mom from Sacramento or a reporter from Rhode Island enjoy boundless success in the literary world?

Look in the mirror and … BELIEVE!

Mary Hay Davis is a professional writer whose work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The Costco Connection, Family Times/Parenting Today and San Diego Family, Magazine. She specializes in writing SEO web content, advetorials, informational articles and marketing material. Before becoming a writer, Mary worked over two decades as a police dispatcher, an occupation rich in anecdotes about the foibles and frailties of the human condition. You can contact Mary through her two websites: www.webprowriting.com and www.maryhaydavis.com.






8 responses
  1. Fiona Avatar

    The first time I ever saw the Paul Potts video, I cried my eyes out.
    A large part of the belief for me is to describe myself a certain way when I meet people. Rather than saying, “I’d like to be a writer” or “I’m trying to break into writing,” I always say “I’m a professional writer.” It makes me feel different and it changes the way others respond to me.

  2. Andrew Hayes Avatar

    Minor point – he’s from Wales, not England =) but I too had goose bumps, WOW! Thanks for sharing Jodee.

  3. Vickey Avatar

    I wondered how you bloggers managed to be so productive, day after day. Now, the mystery is solved. You’re house elves! Ha! I knew it all the time!

  4. Kreacher Avatar

    Fiona — Yes it’s amazing how powerful the mind is. From placebo pills to self-fulfilling prophecies, Belief is powerful. By saying something aloud or writing it down, I strongly believe (!) these simple acts help create and cement something from a mere dream into the foundation of tangible existence.

    Andrew — Thanks mucho for the correction and clarification.

    Vickey — Yes, I admit although I knew who Dobby was, I had to look up Kreacher since I had never seen/read the ‘Prisoner’ movie/book. Here’s to ELF POWER!

    @ ALL — How do you manifest Belief into your writing toolbox and arsenal? What are some of the methods you utilize to build up/affirm Belief in Yourself to help bring your dreams to fruition?

  5. Louise Avatar

    You have a wonderful writing style- distinctive, lyrical and cerebral- which I have enjoyed throughout this process, even when I didn’t vote for you. This post is one of your best. And if for some reason you do not win this contest, I will still look forward to reading your work elsewhere. I also hope that writing fiction is one of your dreams because I know I would enjoy reading your stories also. Good luck this week.

  6. megan Avatar

    I admit that confidence (or lack thereof) is the #1 killer of my dreams. Your article is spot on so and the video is the absolute icing on the cake. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Jenny B Avatar
    Jenny B

    @Kreacher a well written and thought provoking post. Confidence is the vital element in turning the statement “I wanna be a writer” into “I am a writer.”

    How do you manifest Belief into your writing toolbox and arsenal? What are some of the methods you utilize to build up/affirm Belief in Yourself….

    I find it helps to remind myself of various life/work experiences. When I write them down and read them then I often begin to realize that I can write about a variety of topics. This opens some writing doors that I may have felt were closed when I initially look at a job ad. Then my response is often, “Hey, I can do that!”

    When it comes to writing that I’ve never approached before then I begin to research and challenge myself to learn by reading up on it, taking a free course or workshop etc. so that again more writing opportunities are available.

    All the best to you in the competition and in your career.

  8. Laura Avatar

    I love this post. And you picked the perfect picture for it. Beautifully written. I’m all inspired now and ready to see Wonder Woman looking back at me in the mirror!

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