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 - http://shine.yahoo.com/event/poweryourfuture/kathryn-stocketts-the-help-turned-down-60-times-before-becoming-a-bestseller-2523496/ 



1 comment:

Michael Offutt said...

This is excellent advice. I believe that anyone who writes has the ability to be successful as an author. I just wish agents could see things my way.