Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Fifty to One Long Shot

I don't just wish on white horses, sometimes I bet on the bay.

Or How to Maintain Enthusiasm in the Face of Rejection.

Last night I was so inspired I almost fell off the couch.

How I missed it the first time around is beyond me.

I have been a Kentucky Derby fan for years—chose the winner three years running,--on paper, didn’t bet, but I stopped watching for a time after they kept breaking horse’s legs. I was mad that they race three-year olds whose legs are not fully formed. They race them because as youngsters horses are fast.  So, race them as older horses that have strong legs. It’s idiocy. You still have an even racing field. People, though, are concerned with numbers and speed, and sometimes they miss the big picture. And if you want to race in the Derby you must obey the rules.

So, in my discouragement with the Derby race, I missed the 2009 Kentucky Derby where Mind that Bird, was a 50 to 1 long shot. Mind that Bird won the race for two cowboys who didn’t even know the horse qualified, and it was the biggest shock in Kentucky Derby History. Mine that Bird came from dead last, way last, way behind the pack, but in a burst of speed passed every horse on the track, and won by 5 lengths. The announcer wasn’t even watching the horse, so discounting him he was.

I watched the movie last light 50 to 1, loved it, and decided not to be discounted, and to encourage those around me to do the same.

I know you as writers face loneliness, criticism and rejection on a regular basin. Liz  Gilbert, (Eat, Play, Love) said that people even ask her, “Now that you have a best seller, aren’t you afraid you will never meet it, or have another?”

“Yeah. You got that right.”

So how do we motivate people? By crititiques? “By criticism?

Charles Schwab, United States Steel Company, 1927, said, “I have yet to find a person, however great or exalted his station, who did not  do better work and  put forth greater effort under the spirit of approval than he would ever do under a spirit of criticism.”

Schwab was not paid a million dollars a year (in1927 yet) because he knew a great amount about the production of steel. He was hired because he knew how to motivate people.
They say that the second most need in people, behind health, is to be appreciated.

Yes, as writers we want to improve our craft. We want to learn those things like when to use words such as their, they’re and there, where to put our commas, how to plot, have a protagonists arc, how to write dialogue, and when to use the hero’s journey as a platform for our story. That information is out there, I don’t have those answers.
One thing I know for sure is that artists need encouragement. Why do I say artists? Because artists hear more than say chemists, doctors, or business men, that their field is a tough one, and they will never make it.

So why are you writing?

Because something in you says you must.

God (the Universe, the Great Spirit, whatever) doesn’t give you a desire without also giving you a way to accomplish it.

Do it.

Stick those rejection slips on a spike (Steven King said his nail became too short), and keep writing.

If you choose to share what you are up to, or say what you would like to see here, you are invited to copy and paste my personal address. That way it will not go to a robot, and you will not need a password. Don’t you have more of those than you can shake a stick at?

I am expecting greatness from you.

Carry on,

P.S. 50 to 1 is available on DVD. It is a labor of love for the director who directed Dances With Wolves and Bodyguard., and the jockey is played by the real jockey who won the Derby on Mine that Bird—a horse with a personality.