How George Lucas faces rejection

Writers and authors get rejected more often than they get accepted. It’s like wrestling. I tell my son, “Son, there will be far more losers than winners in every tournament.”  I’m not saying that rejection makes us losers, just that it’s part of our game and we need to not only get used to it, but learn from it as well. 

Sometimes we start to believe if only we were (fill in the blank with a big, famous name), we would have it made–always. Not so.

Last night I watched Oprah interview George Lucas where they discussed, among other things, his new film “Red Tails.” Did you know that every major studio turned down rights to the movie? They didn’t think there would be an audience for it. Where have we writers heard that before? Where have entrepreneurs heard this?

But this is George Lucas, the guy who gave us American Graffiti and Star Wars. He has a pretty good track record. Even he faces creative rejection. Even now.

So what did George do? He financed the film himself.

What can we learn?

I’ll admit that few of us have $100 million to throw down when our project is rejected, but we writers can pursue avenues other than traditional publishing houses and national magazines. Entrepreneurs can seek alternative financing.

George said (essentially), Don’t listen to anyone if you believe in your project.

So there we go. Even George has to push through. Even George must find alternative avenues for his work.

Have you given up believing in a project?

What can you do to push forth today?


New Year Day 3. Looking back. Looking forward.

It is easy to give 2011 a precursory glance and determine nothing good came from it. At least from where I sit. But when I spend another minute, I can see the truth that while it wasn’t my best year, it wasn’t a wash either.

I began the year in pursuit of a book contract. When the opportunity arose to attend Mount Hermon Writers Conference, I knew I needed to go. I worried I couldn’t afford it but with my husband’s blessings and a little divine intervention, I came up with the exact amount. While there, some industry experts expressed interest in the idea. It’s an important topic, they said. Please pursue publishing and here are suggestions.

But what I also learned at the conference was that a non-fiction writer will be married to their book for as long as it needs to be marketed. And that could be years. I’d be talking about my topic. Dreaming about my topic. Writing about my topic. Honestly, I didn’t love it that much.

My Aha moment

One afternoon as I sat mulling over the bazillion conversations I’d had throughout the weekend, I was reminded that what I really loved to do was write for magazines. Ten years earlier I had  just started to have bites from national publications when I decided it was just all too much. And it was, then. But this is now and my kids are older and I have the time and I really love the research and the opportunity to discover interesting new people and topics. I left Mount Hermon refreshed and newly focused. I took my place as a bona fide writer, which really just meant  enough other writers, publishers and editors validated me to finally believe I felt comfortable wearing the mantle.

A Writing Partner

Throughout the summer I worked on adding feet to my creative endeavors. I redeveloped my website, created and updated my professional profiles, made cold calls to businesses (for corporate/marketing writing) and prayed for a writing partner to catch me when my wave subsided. In August, a local writer contacted me and wondered if I’d be interested in starting a little writers group. I’d only met her once before but it seemed we shared some direction. Truly, this partnership became a highlight of my year because I now have both a writing encourager and a new friend. I believe the union was no accident and can’t wait to look back with her on all we accomplished.

While I’m not at all sad to see 2011 fade into the past, I am hopeful for 2012. It feels like folks might finally be crawling out from under rocks and emerging from the cold dark caves we’ve been hiding in for these past few years. It feels like there is finally light. Maybe it is just me.

How about you? Do you see some light? What did you accomplish that you didn’t think you did?