Sudoku. Either you love it or can't wrap your brain around it.
I'm a former "Can't wrap your brain around it" person. I'd look at its grid each day a new puzzle appeared in the local morning rag. A box with nine boxes with nine boxes in each. Objective: "Complete the grid so that every row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 though nine (no repeats)." Did I mention that some of the boxes already have numbers? They do. It's the job of the masochist puzzle-doer to fill in the empties. Daunting task? It was for me, but one that kept my curiosity piqued at an all time high. I had to master this damn thing, or die trying. Thus, I started out slowly - luckily the puzzles came in varying degrees of difficulty. I began with the lowest level. Once I mastered those, I moved on up. Once I achieved the highest level I skipped the easier ones.
But I never gave up. Never let the easy ones, which at the time were akin to deciphering the Rosetta Stone, stop my perseverance. "Never say can't - tossing in the towel not an option," my motto, I kept up the struggle.
For the past six years I've actively sought publication, in fits and starts. Beginning with writing contests, I put my work into the hands of strangers. Was it difficult? Hell yeah. Did the "constructive criticisms" hurt? Of course, once I learned how to view them. Did they stop me? No.
Only I can stop me. And like mastering Sudoku, I've kept at it, learning the process along the way, seeing my failings as learning tools, and seeking out answers from qualified sources, such as this person and this person. I connect with example setters, such as this person, this person and this person, people who have forged their own path. Most of all, I continued to write even when a part of me said, "You will never see the publishing light of day."
And I can control whether I see that "light of day," by either choosing to listen to good advice, or choosing the path of least resistance - quitting. Is it a difficult path, this publishing road? For me, it hasn't been easy. I don't do easy simply because for me, cutting corners robs me of valuable lessons. Education. Learning the craft and continually polishing the product.
Perhaps my analogy to Sudoku appears to some a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Yet, it speaks of who I am. The thrill I felt in mastering a not-so-simple puzzle exemplified my character. I am not a "can't do it" person.
Success comes to those who try, the ones who never give up.