Light Bulb Successes

Monday, October 25, 2010

The waiting is killing me. The waiting for acceptances (or rejections) for two books I am currently circulating among publishers and agents.

Not that waiting is anything new. Or rejections, either. Both are normal parts of writing for publication.

According to Jack Canfield in Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life:
Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind and Dr. Seuss's first children's book were each rejected at least 25 times before they found a publisher. 
Louis L'Amour received 350 rejections before he made his first sale; and
Jack London had it even worse, receiving 600 rejection slips before selling his first story.
I've sold over a dozen articles and devotions and one non-fiction book, so I'm doing better than many at this stage in my writing career. Still, waiting is hard, and rejections can be crushing. So to keep things in perspective, I think of each rejection as a light bulb success.

Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb, but he did make it practical. He tried thousands of filaments before he found one that burned long enough to be commercially viable. He could have given up at number 10, or 100, or 1000, but he didn't see those tests as failures. He saw them as successes because each "failure" ruled out another filament that didn't work and moved him that much closer to the one that would.

I want that attitude. Each rejection is a success rather than a failure. By ruling out another publisher that isn't perfect for my book, the rejection gets me one submission closer to the publisher that is.

These two quotes attributed to Thomas Edison explain why I refuse to give up.
Many of life's failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
And this doesn't just apply to inventors and writers. It can work for you, too.

Yes, waiting is hard. But I'm continuing to write while I wait for that e-mail or telephone call offering me the contract that will make me the next J.K. Rowling. Because all my rejections are light bulb successes.

God's Tapestry

Monday, October 18, 2010

I love Autumn in the Midwest, but words can't explain why. So I'll try pictures, instead.
© 2008 by Kathryn Page Camp
© 2010 by Kathryn Page Camp
© 2010 by Kathryn Page Camp
© 2010 by Kathryn Page Camp
© 2009 by Kathryn Page Camp
© 2009 by Kathryn Page Camp
© 2009 by Kathryn Page Camp
© 2010 by Kathryn Page Camp

Summer's Over

Monday, October 11, 2010

After school let out on Friday, Roland met me at the marina for our last sail of the season. Fortunately, the weather cooperated. It was also beautiful on Sunday, as we gazed with longing at the sailboats out on the water while we were stuck at the dock taking our sails off. But Freizeit is scheduled to move to her winter home (in the marina parking lot) on Saturday, and, since only one of us is "retired," we have to get things done when we can.

It was a disappointing sailing season in some ways, primarily because the month-long cruise we had planned refused to fit itself into our busy schedule. Then there were the always-to-be-expected days when the weather didn't cooperate or we had other commitments. Still, it was a fun summer.

And I don't mind that it's over for this year. Putting the boat to bed is a sign of the changing seasons, and the variety that comes with those seasons is one of the things I love about living in the Midwest. In fact, Fall may be my favorite season (at least while I'm in it).

More about that next week.

Dancing at Work

Monday, October 4, 2010

One of AOL's teasers linked to videos of people caught by security cameras while they were dancing. The first man was at work, and he appeared to be enjoying himself immensely. Since dancing can be a great stress reliever and people who are stressed out are less productive, I approve of dancing at work.

For reasons that will become clear later, the clips reminded me of a fairy tale I heard as a child. Here is a blog-length version.

* * *

Once upon a time, a king lived in a castle with his wife and three daughters. After his wife died without bearing him a son, he decided to choose someone to succeed him. He told his three daughters that he would give his kingdom to the one who loved him most. Then he asked each to describe how much she loved him.

"I love you like diamonds," said the eldest.

"That's pretty good," thought the king.

"I love you like pearls," said the second.

Now the king had a dilemma, because how do you choose between diamonds and pearls? But maybe he wouldn't have to.

He turned to his youngest, and favorite, daughter. "How much do you love me?"

She threw her arms around his neck and said, "I love you like meat loves salt."

"WHAT?" he roared as he flung her away from him. "How dare you. Leave my kingdom right now and never return."

She tried to explain, but he wouldn't let her. Knights dragged her away and left her outside a hut in a neighboring kingdom.

Fortunately, the family who lived there took her in. After a while, she met and married the prince of that kingdom. When his father died, the girl, who was now a wife and mother, became queen. She had everything she wanted, except . . .

Except her father's love.

Then one day her father came to visit the neighboring kingdom. He didn't know his daughter was queen, and she wouldn't let her husband tell him.

The queen threw a feast for her father and his companions but begged off from attending, claiming that she was dealing with a great sorrow.

At the meal, a heavily veiled servant put a bowl of soup in front of the older king. Taking a bite, he nearly spit it out. "This is terrible," he thought. But he ate it so he wouldn't offend his host and hostess.

Then the main course arrived, and the same servant gave him a platter of meat cooked until it had only a hint of red left in it. Since that was just the way he liked it, he dug in eagerly. And gagged.

"Is something wrong?" his host asked.

"I'm sorry," said the guest, "but something seems to be missing from my meal."

"Yes," said the younger man. "My cook received instructions to serve your food without salt."

At first the older king looked puzzled. Then his face turned pale.

"What's wrong now?" asked the host.

Tears ran down the visiting king's cheeks. "I sent my youngest daughter into exile because I thought she didn't love me. Now I realize she loved me most of all." He moaned. "But it's too late. I don't even know where she is to tell her how sorry I am."

The serving woman threw off her veils. "Here I am, Father."

They hugged for a long time before father released daughter. "I wish I could make it up to you, but I already divided my kingdom in two and gave it to your sisters. I have nothing left to give."

"I already have a kingdom. I am queen of this land, with a husband and children I love dearly. I have everything I want except . . ."


"Your love."

The old man's tears started flowing again. "That I can give you."

* * *

This fairy tale reminds me that it isn't only the big or expensive things that add flavor to our lives. It can be something as simple as dancing at work.

So keep on dancing.