Oprah and J.K. Rowlings had a great conversation on the Oprah Winfrey show October 1, 2010. J.K. Rowling said a number of things that resonated with me during the interview, but I’m only going to discuss one of them. J.K. said she had always wanted to be a writer. (Many of us can identify with that thought.) She said the idea for Harry Potter just popped into her mind and she connected it with her love for wacky words. She believed in her character. She believed in her story. AND she received twelve rejections for Harry Potter (That’s nothing compared to some.) The most common reason: “The story was not commercial.” Someone predicted she would NEVER make money writing books for children. Despite the nay-sayers, she held to her belief.
This got me thinking about the times I have had people tell me to walk away from a dream. Sometimes I turned away from the dream, believing the person had some inside information about me or the situation. (Now I know better.) Sometimes I used the negative energy to full my determination to prove the person wrong. I think either situation gives a person’s opinion to much power over you. I am the expert in my life. You are the expert in your life. Thus, only you can decide what is right for you. Only you can decide when to stop.
Now, I am not saying ignore good advice from publishers and agents. But if that advice involves you being less than your authentic self, walk away. Imagine what MG and YA books would look like if J.K. Rowlings had listened to the many voices chirping in her ear, instead of listening to her OWN voice. Harry Potter could be a spy, hiding behind the lifestyle of a middle-aged CEO. (*shutters at the thought*)
When I feel nay-sayers lurking in the shadows, I say, “I refuse to let someone whom I don’t respect dictate what I can accomplish. Nor will I let someone who has not taken the time to get to know or understand me, dictate what I can accomplish.” If that doesn't work, I stand in front of the mirror and say, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And gosh darnit, people like me."
What’s something you tell yourself to keep you focused on your dream?