03/16/2013 12:33 pm ET Updated May 16, 2013

Day 16: 31 Days of Daily Inspiration From Brilliant Women

Daily Inspiration: Day 16 of 31 Days

"Nearly every glamorous, wealthy, successful career woman you might envy now started out as some kind of schlep." -- Helen Gurley Brown (writer, 1922-2012)

This is funny and true and always worth remembering. At first, when I was a young wannabe writer I made the mistake of comparing myself to all the writers I most admired. I read their books and wondered how on earth I would ever write anything even touching the lofty heights of their gorgeous sentences and beautiful stories. I'd look at my current work-in-progress and despair of my chances.

It's a shame that published writers don't share their first drafts. It'd be a wonderful public service, especially encouraging to those who want to follow in their footsteps. My latest book went through 26 drafts over two years. Some authors take 10 or 20 years to finish a novel, which isn't so long considering that most artists/actors/singers/entrepreneurs schlepped their way to success over many years. It's wise, then, when you're still in the early stages of your chosen vocation, not to compare yourself to those who've already achieved what you want to without first realizing what they did to get there.

Inspiration From Brilliant Women

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