Following on from Helen’s post about wishes coming true, I thought I’d post about those times when disappointment or self doubt can wrap us in a cloak of hopelessness. I’m sure most writers know exactly what I mean. It might creep up on you whilst you are reading back through something that you initially thought was insightful, ground-breaking writing and which now makes you doubt you should even be let loose writing a shopping list! Or perhaps it arises from the spine chilling sound of the rejection envelope hitting the doormat or the ping into your inbox of yet another “thanks, but no thanks” email.
However it comes, I think it does come to all writers at some time or another. I know I have been there and, just this week, a writer friend of mine emailed to say that she felt like she’d had enough. I hope she hasn’t, but I can understand why she might. It certainly isn’t an occupation for those with a fragile ego and rejection comes with the territory.
So, when is it time to give up on your dreams? I posted about this on a writer’s forum once and was told that, as long as it remains your dream, you should never give up. When you stop loving the act of writing, or writing because you simple have to in order to truly live, and when your dreams no longer bring you pleasure in the imagining of their coming true – that’s the time to stop.
Until then, believe, dream and try, try, try – drawing some inspiration from those who did and found those castles in the sky:
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach was only picked up by Macmillan publishing, in 1970, after eighteen other publishers had rejected it. Within five years it had sold over seven million copies.
- Who can forget that all time classic Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell? If the twenty five publishers who rejected it before it was finally accepted had got their way, none of us would ever have heard of it.
- Remember MASH the movie and spin off TV series about the Korean war? The author of the original blockbuster novel, Richard Hooker, spent seven years tirelessly working on it, only to see it rejected by twenty one publishers. Morrow eventually decided to publish it and the rest, as they say, is history.
- The original Chicken Soup for the Soul book from the now hugely successful series was turned down by a total of one hundred and twenty three publishers across the US, including thirty three in New York alone, for being ‘too nice’. Health Communications Inc, who finally made ‘The Call’ to publish it must be laughing all the way to the bank. The first book alone sold eight million copies and spawned a series which now has thirty two titles and has chalked up fifty three million sales in thirty one languages.
- Who doesn’t love that anti-hero The Grinch? If Dr. Seuss had listened to the twenty seven publishers who rejected his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, before it was eventually published by Vanguard press, selling six million copies, that green harbinger of Christmas gloom would have forever dwelled in Seuss’ imagination, along with the Cat in the Hat, Horton and hundreds of his other characters.
- The first Harry Potter book was rejected by 12 publishers for, among other reasons, being far too long for a children’s book and the series has gone on to make an estimated 25 billion in book sales, movies and merchandising. JK Rowling can now literally afford a castle in the sky
- Fifty Shades of Grey became the fastest selling paperback of all time, but only after EL James had her dreams and pride battered by rejection from literary agents. She took her dreams into her own hands, however, and word spread about the book via the Writer’s Coffee Shop, a virtual publisher in Australia. The phenomenon it became must have surpassed even EL James’ wildest dreams.
The message is simple – don’t give up! After all, the world would be nothing without dreamers.
The above examples of dreamers who never give up was compiled by excerpts from various sources including Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen, www.weboflove.org, http://sellyourstoryuk.com.