Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Good Kind of Crazy

Here's an inspiring story for you. Perhaps you've heard of Kathryn Stockett, author of the Help. When her husband is asked about her best quality, he smiles and says, "She never gives up." When asked about her worst, his eyes narrow and he says, "She. Never. Gives. Up."

Here are a few stats that prove he knows what he's talking about.

- It took her a year and a half to write her original version.
- She queried agents for three and a half years before one took interest and signed her.
- In that three and a half years she received 60 rejections, one of which read, "There is no market for this kind of tiring writing." (Ouch!)
- Also during that three and a half years she continued to revise and polish her beloved project.
- After about 15 rejections when a friend said, "Maybe the next book will be the one," Kathryn thought, "Next book?" She wasn't about to give up because of "a few stupid letters."

She tells of how after about a year and a half and about 40 rejections she started lying to her friends about what she did on weekends to save them and her embarrassment. Some time after the 45th rejection  she even stooped to lying to her husband - a "girls' weekend" was likely to find her holed up by herself at the Comfort Inn around the corner for a few hours of writing time. (When people first find out we're pursuing our passion they think it's cool. After years of what seems like little or no progress or pay off? Maybe not so much.)

The way I see it, this is the good kind of crazy.

The happy ending? Only three weeks after signing with her agent, her book sold to a publisher. It went on to become a bestseller and has been made into a movie which opens this week in theaters nationwide.

Go, Kathryn!

And here's a great quote from her -
The point is, I can't tell you how to succeed. But I can tell you how not to: Give in to the shame of being rejected and put your manuscript - or painting, song, voice, dance moves, [insert passion here] - in the coffin that is your bedside drawer and close it for good. I guarantee you that it won't take you anywhere. Or you could do what this writer did: Give in to your obession instead.

And if your friends make fun of you for chasing your dream, remember - just lie.

You can read her full article at - 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Here's to Hindsight

A couple more quotes to keep you going - one especially for Michael Offutt.

Everything that can be invented has been invented.
  Charles H. Duell, commissioner, U. S. Office of Patents, 1899

But what it (a microchip) good for?
  engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Where Never is Heard a Discouraging Word

We all hear discouraging words. Some of us more often than others. Sometimes those words come from right inside our own heads. Too often people try to dress up negativity by calling it practicality. Being practical is a good thing, after all, right?

Maybe yes. Maybe no.

When we have something that makes our heart sing, or that we know deep in our center we just have to do, then "practicality" can be a cursed thing. For many of us there comes a time when we simply have to hold on to our dream in spite of all reason seeming to speak out against it.

So how can we do that?

One way is to look at history. I love it when I find quotes or hear stories that are either very shortsighted or just plain wrong about someone or something that went on to be wildy successful and/or popular. It reminds me that my own naysayers are probably wrong, too. After all, I only fail if I quit trying. It may take a long time to succeed, but that's okay.

In an effort to remind you that the pooh-poohers in your life may be, and probably are, out in left field, I have some quotes for you.

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
              Thomas Watson, chairman of the board, IBM, 1943

There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.
            Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1972

So if you're discouraged or on the verge of being discouraged, buck up, my friends, and watch for more quotes throughout the rest of the week.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Little Bubbly, Anyone?

Registration started at our high school today. As I stood in line with my youngest child waiting to register her for her senior year, it was easy to see and feel the different emotions of the teens and parents around us.

For some the start of a new school year is a dreaded thing; they'd rather be doing almost anything else. Some are completely indifferent; school just is what it is. Then there are those who look forward to it; a certain kind of excitement lights their eyes (whether they mean for it to or not).

So, what causes the difference?

I believe one of the main things is hope.

When a student holds hope for something good - being with their friends, better classes/teachers than last year, a fresh start, grades good enough to win scholarships, playing a favorite sport, landing the lead in the school play - anything good, it infuses them with the ability and desire to look forward, to keep moving on. It adds effervescence to what otherwise could be tedious or tiresome.

Hope is a promise, like a little (or large) spark that lights something deep inside us and keeps us going. It's like the bubbles in our soda or champagne. Without the bubbles we'd still have something to drink, but with them it's oh so much better.

Cheers to the bubbly that is hope!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Wish I May, I Wish I Might

Congratulations to Marsha for knowing half of the answer to yesterday's title question (Neil Diamond, Hello Again). She now has 500 bonus points. Woo hoo! Hold on to them, Marsha. They may be worth something here should I decide to do some kind of contest or give away, which I likely will. And Kristin gets 100 points of her own for being a good sport and guessing. Now, don't you ladies feel richer?

Today I have an Official Declaration to make. Are you ready?

I officially declare August the month of HOPE. Because I have the authority to do that, you know.

Hope is a powerful thing, a thing upon which I have been stewing as of late. You can look forward to some hopeful posts this month. And so to kick things off...

Quote of the Day: When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.
                                                              from I am Number Four

Let the hoping begin!!

Tell us: What gives you hope?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hello, Again, Hello.

First of all - 500 bonus points to anyone who can name the song and the artist I ripped off the title of this post from. (Yes, I know it should be "...from whom I ripped off...,"  but that just sounds too proper for this venue.)

I'm sure you'll be just thrilled to know I figured out why I've been such a flaky blogger. Here's my problem - I put too much pressure on myself to have posts that are big and important and valuable. Not that there's anything wrong with posts like that, but I just couldn't come up with that every day, you know?

Then I had a light bulb moment. I realized that many of the blogs I like to follow have short, simple, fun posts most of the time. There's importance and value in those, too. (Okay, so maybe I'm a little slow sometimes. I'm sure most of you have already figured this out.)

So, this is me recommitting myself to blogging. I think I have discovered a more workable approach to this. You can count on regular posts - I'm aiming for M-F. They may be as simple as a Quote of the Day, or as dynamic as a Life Altering Moment of Enlightenment. (Yes, I know I think big.)

Be watching for a new design soon, too. I swear I'm finally going to learn how to post pics and links if it's the last thing I do!

Quote of the Day: If we played like that every week, we wouldn't be so                                 inconsistent.                                         Bryan Robson

Ya think?