I read a summary of an article today discussing the essence of student achievement. A Penn University PHD student did research to determine what makes a student successful – is it God-given talent (IQ) or is it motivation?

Interestingly enough, the results were, perhaps, counter-intuitive. It was not IQ which predicted academic success but nor was it merely motivation. The researcher discovered that it was a combination of motivation and volition.

It’s easy to be motivated at the beginning of something, but how many times do we start our New Year’s Resolution just to give it up when a cherry pie crash-lands in our face? It’s the volition, the doing, the stick-to-it-ness that makes the difference. Those students who are highly motivated and continue ‘to do’ are the ones who achieve success according to her study. This, I suppose, is where grit comes in. Having grit ensures that you won’t give it, even if it doesn’t look like you are moving forward. Having grit ensures that roadblocks are temporary and that the motivation won’t wane to stop the ‘doing.’ Remember, it wasn’t intelligence or IQ which was the predictor of success. It was barreling through it when ‘the going gets tough.’

This PHD student, unfortunately, was not conducting her study on Indie authors, so I’m not sure how well this translates into my field. But I’ve decided that I’m going to be one of those ‘doers’.

I don’t have Milton’s vocabulary or Shakespeare’s wit. I don’t have Dickens’ long sentences or Hemingway’s brevity of moment (I just made that up). There are writers who are far more intelligent than I, but I do have a desire to succeed as a writer. I don’t have the desire to write a novel as an accomplishment. I have the desire to write 20 novels as a passion. I’ve completed three in two years. I have two more waiting for me on the back-burners. I am not about to let a bad review get in my way. Review rejections are a mere blip on my radar. I’m striving to be the very best writer I can become.

And I’ll eat grit for breakfast everyday if I have to. Even hold the milk, if you like. Bring it on. This writer is not going anywhere.


  1. I think it’s interesting that this study was done on college students who were already chosen by the university as having potential, so then it came down to being motivated and gritting through. I think the struggle with being an indie anything is that constant question of whether I have that basic amount of potential that motivation and grit can turn into success.

    1. Good thoughts. A couple of thoughts I always have: what is success as an indie author? I guess what I mean is what does success look like. Is it having a readership? Is it making a living? I think it has a lot to do with ones goals. I also think that potential can be built over time if ones passion allows it to be built through motivation and grit. It may not happen overnight. But I always say that if you are doing what you love that’s oftentimes enough. If success follows, it’s a bonus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s