I cannot for the life of me remember what is the proper name for those needles they have at offices, on which they impale pieces of important paper. I can’t remember the name, but that is beside the point. Stephen King had made one of those makeshift thingamajigs out of a nail and on that nail, he skewered each rejection slip he got from magazines. Magazines to whom he had sent his stories, in hopes that they’d get published. They didn’t at first. They didn’t by the dozens. It’s all cool though, he later compiled all of them and published them as collections (Skeleton Crew, Full Dark No Stars, Four Past Midnight, Bazaar of Bad Dreams). How did he get his foot in and through the door? He kept on keepin’ on.
A good internet acquaintance of mine, Karl, gave me a wonderful piece of advice a few minutes ago. He said, “Never give up hope, keep learning and keep writing.” In terms of giving advice, and that too for free, this is the best one I have gotten pertaining to writing. While my idol, Stephen King, might say that there is no possible way to turn a bad writer into a good one, there are those in the field who confess that it took them 15 years to figure out that they had no talent as writers but they couldn’t quit because by then they were already too famous. Wow. Me so jelly.
Fame. Another wonderful friend of mine, Hassan Altaf, wrote something poetic about fame in a poem of his. I do not remember the exact wording but I do remember that it said something that went along like this: I do not want fame, but rather, it’s promoted form: Respect. True that Hassan. If fame connoted to success, Kanye West would have been the most successful man on earth. And I heard he had a huge debt of fifty or so million dollars. Not successful.
To keep one’s head about oneself, to not get lost in the menagerie of one’s mind, to get back up after one has fallen down hopelessly; that’s what keeping on keepin’ on is all about.
A ghostwriting client tried to dupe the shit out of me yesterday and it made me lose hope in humanity for a second there. It caused me to stagger, her acting out as a bitch. I suffered a huge loss, however, I keep on keepin’ on. I didn’t get enough marks in my F.Sc. exams to be able to get into a medical college so I gave them again. And I didn’t get them a second time. I gave an additional mathematics exam and then an ECAT. The two of them got me into an average Engineering institute in a Comp. Sci. program.
It’s been four semesters and I feel just as disillusioned as I did when I didn’t get admission into medical. But at least it’s a tangible degree with real value, or so they say at seminars. I’ve decided to keep on keepin’ on with this degree. I didn’t drop out when I had the chance. I dropped back in, which is more uncommon than dropping out. My CGPA is shit, but I’m, you guessed it, keepin’ on.
When I first started freelance ghostwriting, I faced a discouraging amount of failure. If it weren’t for one of those motivational cat posters (this particular one had a picture of a cat holding on to a log and that log was heading down the waterfall, and there was this quote on top of it, “success means going from failure to failure without lack of motivation”; how one connoted to the other is beyond me), I would have quit. But I didn’t. And now, it has become for me, a viable business that hopefully I can continue after I graduate, eliminating the need for a mundane 9-to-5 job.
I am a serial procrastinator, meaning, I procrastinate for days. This one particular client had given me a lot of leniency for a few months and one day, she comes up to me and says, “show me the work or get booted,” and I, who had no plans of getting booted, told her to give me 7 hours to recheck the work I had (not yet) done. I wrote 10,000 words in those 7 hours and handed her the work. She’s been calm and content ever since and has given me a whole month’s leniency again. I don’t know what point I’m trying to make here, but I think you get it. It has to do something with ‘keep on keepin on.’
So, yeah, you do that too. And see where the road takes you.