As I sit down to write, I think about how I want my words to matter and resonate with readers. As my laptop grabs my new document file and I settle down in my recliner with a zero calorie beverage, I start to think about what I might say to writers and others about writing. When an author usually thinks of an audience, he or she probably thinks of a “packed house” with standing room only, 400 or 500 people—perhaps a little less.
My blog audience is more like four or five friends that are full of compassion for a struggling writer. Perhaps they are more like a cult group, hoping that their alliegance to me might make the world a little better place. I would hate to disappoint them.
Lately I have been disappointing them. My fingers have been disappearing into the Internet instead of writing poems and stories. Fear of rejection has been haunting me. My time seems better spent promoting projects that I have already written. I just don’t want to waste my time. Forget about gluing my butt to my desk chair and start writing again. Forget about fighting the good fight, which suddenly reminds me of “Rocky.”
I loved the last “Rocky” movie, “Rocky Balboa”. If in case you think that I am dropping my theme of “enlightenment”, please hang in there until you hear the bell ring twice. Now and then I zoom the controls to my recorded copy of the movie to the 101 minutes marker where Rocky tells his son off for blaming him for the unhappiness in his life. The first thing Rocky says is, “I remember when I could hold you up in one hand like this…”
Upon hearing that I first wondered, “Where the heck are you going with this Rocky? You are starting to sound punch drunk like a babbling old man.” He tells his son he was born a beautiful baby with the whole world ahead of him, and that he loved him more than anything on Earth. Then he says, “Somewhere along the way you lost your way… And when life knocks you down, the secret is to get up again and again, and keep on moving forward, no matter how hard you get hit.” Rocky finishes his pep talk by saying, “I will always love you no matter what. Visit your mother.”
This is Stallone’s best movie. The script is lean and fresh. Stallone doesn’t just play “Rocky”. He is Rocky in this movie from beginning to end. Throughout the movie there are interesting twists, turns, and surprises. There are only 8 minutes of boxing in the movie, yet the critics loved the movie.
Critics hated the movie “Peaceful Warrior” starring Nick Nolte. They disliked how the script hit you over the head with its obvious message again and again. Regardless of that, I liked what the movie had to say and I liked seeing Nick play a good guy. What did he have to say about iife? Here are a few lines, “A warrior does not give up what he loves, Dan. He finds love in what he does. Life is choice. You can choose to be a victim or anything you want…It’s the journey that counts, not the destination.” Don’t we need to be reminded of that now and then?
I think that’s what all writers need to remember: it’s the journey that counts, not book sales or literary awards. Don’t let the rejections beat you down. Just get up again from your chair and send your best manuscript out again and again. You can choose to be determined or not. You can blame the editors who pass over your work or you can decide to never give up, and enjoy the journey. You can step back in the ring, just like Rocky.
I just did.