During the mid-1960s, a college freshman signed up for a seminar in creative writing. She’d been recommended by the head of the English department, who apparently saw her potential.
After a few assignments, she was called into the office of the visiting Harvard professor instructing the seminar. He told the seventeen-year-old student, “…Your writing stinks.” Not a very encouraging thing to say to someone who’s trying to learn and develop a craft. Who knows, maybe what she’d turned in needed a lot of polish. On the other hand, it’s possible the traveling professor may have simply taken a disliking to the girl, who’d indirectly mentioned she was Catholic.
The professor went on to tell the girl she had no business being in his class, or pursuing writing as a career. He said, “…You’ll never earn a dime as a writer.” He then convinced her to give up on her dream of being a writer.
Catherine Lanigan, the impressionable young student, changed her major and gave up on writing. Fourteen years later, she had a chance meeting with a “barnabas”: a writer who took an interest in her stolen dream and agreed to read her unpublished novel — a ragged stack of pages she never had the heart to discard. The writer liked what he read and immediately forwarded Catherine’s retyped pages to his own agent — who promptly signed the stunned young woman to a publishing contract.
Today, Catherine has published over 3 dozen books, including novels and collections of inspirational articles. She’s earned far more than “a dime as a writer”! Her only lament is that she took the advice of a naysayer and wasted a lot of years, when she could have been writing, creating, following her one true dream.
Don’t ever allow anyone to steal your dream. There will always be naysayers among your friends and family members. People who will pontificate over you, your talents (or alleged lack thereof) and your future fortunes. Elvis, “the King of Rock and Roll,” was told he’d never make it as a singer; Edison, “the Wizard of Menlo Park,” that he’d never amount to anything; Stallone, the internationally known movie-star, that he couldn’t act; and the list goes on.
People, as we’ve previously discussed, can find a multitude of reasons for being critical: fear and jealousy, lack of faith, or simply a negative spirit. If you listen to the wrong people, if you take the wrong advice, you can stall in the pursuit of your dreams.
Remember, every single day some very “ordinary” people — just like you and us — become writers and artists, actors and filmmakers, singers and musicians, inventors and entrepreneurs. Not because anyone said they could be, and not necessarily because there was anything extraordinarily special about them — other than their determination not to give in. Successful people are hardheaded that way!
So, take the opinions of the naysayers with a grain of salt. Shake off the rejection. Get back to work. Follow your dream to create. “So encourage each other and build each other up….” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT)