The First Pillar of a Great Writer: Fortitude

Wait, hold on: where’s my The Last of Us review? Ah, eagle-eyed reader, you’ve caught me in the act. Daylight savings cut me to the quick last night, and I promise it didn’t have anything to do Octopath Traveler 2. But if I’m honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to watching it, as I don’t hold it in the highest esteem. However, I’m still going to watch it tonight and hopefully get the YouTube video out in a week or so, so stay tuned for that.

But anyway, back to the task at hand: we’re back with our extremely cliché Four Pillars of a Great Writer, and the subject of today’s conversation (monologue, more like) is Fortitude, the first pillar. (Please note that anything you say or do under the tutelage of this series will be in no way correlated with this blog or blogger)

Fortitude: the ability to function under extreme pressure or duress. The word “fort” implies that you’re in some kind of mental fortress, equal parts offense and defense. Fortitude is your Vigor stat, your Constitution multiplier, your Vitality level. Simply put: fortitude is how tough you are.

While it doesn’t correlate directly with Diligence, the third pillar, the two are pretty closely linked: you can’t get work done if you can’t operate under duress. Operation is crucial if you are to function at all—or what’s more, to excel. And that’s the end goal of Fortitude: to finally be able to work normally where others would wither and die within minutes (I’m a writer, I put images in peoples’ heads for a job).

Since such an article would be incomplete without an example, so I’ll hit you with one from everyone’s favorite Christian horror writer: Frank Peretti, aka Sanctified Stephen King (“Heresy!” Cry Dan Wells fans as they lift their pitchforks in protest). You might know him from This Present Darkness or the Veritas Project series, or you might not.

In any case, Frank Peretti described his life at forty as follows: “[I was] a burned-out former minister working at a ski factory with one dream left: to be a writer.” That is rough, not going to lie. Peretti’s life wasn’t easy, and he didn’t start writing bangers until he was at a low point in his career and life in general.

But the strongest phoenixes rise from the darkest ashes (let it be known here and now that I coined that statement, and I’m probably going to use it in a book some time), and Peretti emerged from the dusk with This Present Darkness, which is to-date his most successful book ever written.

How did he do it? Fortitude.

You see, life isn’t easy. (well dur, Ghalta, you’re not talking to children here) If you want to do anything great (or for that matter, even something marginally noteworthy) you need some measure of fortitude. I’m not pretending that writers need more fortitude than soldiers or doctors, but no one can deny that writing is hard work. (good writing is hard work, and bad writing only exists as a product of lazy or incompetent individuals who are either disgustingly incapable or tragically unable to make it)

Writing is only another application of what is actually a universal virtue. But you’d be surprised about how few people take writing as seriously as professional writers do. Of course, not everyone who writers needs to be a professional, and if you write, I can respect that on its own merits. But whatsoever you do, do it with your might: writing is no exception.

It’s a simple cost-benefit evaluation: either it’s worth it to you to get a book written and published, or it’s not. EOS. (End of Story) If it is, you need to master the Four Pillars, and the first one you need to get down is Fortitude. Because as any Dark Souls fan will tell you, the game actually does have a difficulty toggle: it’s your Vigor level.

That’s all.


Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Plus, I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the Resources tab. It’s full of super helpful material and I promise it will help you out. Until then, writers!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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