In an earlier post I wrote about the gift of rejection, I urged writers to let professional rejection inspire them and make them even more determined to succeed. Angelo Pizzo, the filmmaker behind Hoosiers and Rudy, echoed this sentiment in the July 7, 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated.
Pizzo, who started his film career as an executive, never thought of himself as a writer until he decided to write the screenplay for Rudy himself. He wrote this about one producer’s reaction to his initial draft:
I finally finished the screenplay. I gave it to a producer, the man who gave me my first job out of film school. He read it on a flight, called me from the airport and said, “You just wasted a year of your life. This is irredeemable, hopeless, bad writing. Go back to development.” I was crushed.
Fortunately, Pizzo ran into another writer who set him straight:
About a year later, after I had gotten another executive job, I told this story at a dinner party to Scott Berg, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer. He said, “You’re insane. You should never give any one person the power to determine whether your material is good. Let me read it.” He liked the 184-page script and helped me edit it down to where I thought I had something.
That bears repeating:
You’re insane. You should never give any one person the power to determine whether your material is good.
Stories abound of writers who kept plowing ahead after dozens of rejections before finally finding extraordinary success. Here are just a few.
Later in the article, Pizzo mused:
The reasons movies don’t get made are many. I always think of the tumblers on a lock. They all have to fall into place at the same time. If you have 19 tumblers in sync but the 20th doesn’t work—the star backs out; the marketing guy gets cold feet; the studio head’s wife doesn’t like the concept—there goes your movie.
He concluded the article by writing:
I think one of the reasons I finally wrote Rudy was that his story is a metaphor for the film business. The only people who successfully make a career are those who never personalize the word no. If you keep on going despite the no’s, that 20th tumbler might finally fall into place. That’s when magic can happen.
The moral? If you believe in what you’re written, never EVER give up in your quest to get it published. Of course, you should also never EVER give up working to improve the quality of your writing. Here’s how I made myself a better writer when I thought I was already good enough.
Of course, never giving up applies to whatever quest calls your name. As swimmer Diana Nyad affirms in this TED talk about her unprecedented 2014 swim from Cuba to Florida, “Never EVER give up!” Indeed, this was her fifth attempt at crossing the ocean. What was her mantra throughout her ordeal? “Find a way!”
I am willing to put myself through anything; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often-painful process.
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ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
If you feel more stressed than blessed . . . if you have more confusion than clarity about how to live your beliefs . . . if you long to live a richer, happier, more meaningful life . . . you will find a wealth of insight and guidance in Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World.
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Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to be.
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SEE EVERY MOMENT AS A GIFT
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• an overview of the book
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Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents.
Order it at GodIsLogical.com.
In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
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• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?
Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent authors and thought leaders he interviewed. The roster of storytellers includes Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, Caroline Myss, Larry Dossey, Rachel Naomi Remen, Bernie Siegel, Dean Ornish, and Christiane Northrup. Sixty Seconds has been translated into four languages: Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories.
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