A Record of Failure? (Encouragement for Creators)


He was an American author who penned 55 novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems and numerous movie scripts. The inventiveness of his Victorian-era fiction anticipated gadgets and trends that were decades away, such as television, laptop computers, wireless phones, and women in dangerous occupations. But mostly Lyman Baum was known for two things: his many children’s books; and his failure at just about every venture he tried before writing.

Lyman was born on May 15, 1856, in New York, into a prosperous and devout Methodist family. Lyman never cared for the name his father gave him, and instead went by his middle name, Frank. As a child he suffered from poor health and was tutored at home. He turned his interests to several creative pursuits such as writing. When he was 11, Lyman’s father purchased him a cheap printing press, and the boy spent many hours publishing thin journals and catalogs, mainly about stamp collecting.

When he was 20, Lyman took up poultry breeding, which at the time was a national craze. And although he published a monthly trade journal, The Poultry Record, and later wrote a book on the subject, the venture otherwise failed.

For awhile, Lyman worked in his brother’s dry goods store, but he was drawn to acting and the stage. In 1880, his father built him a theatre in Richburg, New York, and Lyman quickly wrote several plays, and assembled a stage company to perform his work. But while he was touring with the company, his theatre caught fire and burned to the ground, consuming all the props, costumes, and the only known copies of several of Lyman’s scripts.

In July 1888, Lyman and his wife moved to the Dakota Territory, where he opened a store that specialized in upscale merchandise. It was a very bad idea. Lyman was not a savvy businessman, and Baum’s Bazaar quickly went bankrupt. Lyman then turned to editing a local newspaper, The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, for which he wrote an often controversial column. The paper went under. The column went with it.

Very recognizable characters, as originally illustrated by William Denslow.

Failed chicken farmer, failed theatre manager, failed shop owner, failed newspaperman. It was time to try something else. So, at the age of 44, Lyman finally pursued one of his first loves, writing. First up, an unusual children’s novel based on whimsical stories he frequently shared with the neighboring kids. He finished The Emerald City on October 9, 1899. It was rejected so many times by so many publishers that Lyman kept a journal of all the rejection letters he received. He called it “A Record of Failure”!

One editor stated the book is “Too radical of a departure from traditional juvenile literature.” Lyman persevered, however, and found a publisher willing to print a modest run of 10,000 copies in January 1901. Within less than six months not only had the first printing sold out, but a second printing of 15,000 copies also was close to being depleted.

Since that time, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz has sold over 15 million copies. The novel and it’s 13 sequels have been adapted into numerous movies, stage plays, and comics; and the wondrous Land of Oz continues to capture the imaginations of children of all ages. Not a bad finish to Lyman’s track record of failure!

“…But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and extending myself unto those things which are ahead, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13 Jubilee Bible 2000)


A Vitamin for Success (Diet for Dreamers)


If we’re going to be healthy, we need lots of Vitamin D in our diets. If we’re going to achieve our dreams, or be successful at anything, we also need another kind of “Vitamin D”!

There are three major types of Vitamin D that are vital to good health. Fortunately, someone decided to make things easy on us by simply calling these vitamins, D1 to D3. We get these from foods and sunlight, but nutritionists recommend taking Vitamin D supplements. Interestingly, doctors rarely, if ever, see or hear about someone who’s had too much Vitamin D in their diet. On the other hand, being deficient in “D” can cause major problems.

You’ll be amazed at how similar the Dreamer’s D supplement is to the nutritional supplement. There are three types of Dreamer’s D, it’s vital for success, and you can’t have too much of it. Before we explain exactly what Dreamer’s D is, let’s list the health benefits of regular Vitamin D. As you read them, think about how each benefit can also apply to achieving your goals.

Vitamin D strengthens our bones, allowing us to stand — and to stand strong! It increases our immunity, helping us to resist attacks. It protects our minds, enabling us to stay focused. It strengthens our hearts, allowing us to live longer and better lives. It even combats depression!

There are three types of Dreamer’s D:

D1 is Decision: decide what you want out of life; decide what you want to accomplish in life; decide how you’ll achieve these things. Then make a decision to get started. You’ll never lose weight, look for a better job, sever a wrong relationship, put a stop to a destructive habit, or achieve any goal until you first purpose in your heart to do so. Doing the right thing starts with deciding what the right thing is! And you’ll never follow through on anything until you DECIDE it’s something YOU really want to do. Start deciding. Decisions are all about choices. Making them and sticking by them.

D2 is Discipline: you’ll need this if you’re serious about accomplishing anything in life. You can’t hold down a job, maintain a relationship, stay out of trouble, stay out of debt, stay healthy, stay focused, or stay on track until you add lots of Discipline to your Dreamers’ Diet. And just like the nutritional supplement, we need more of this “D”; never less. We all want to achieve our dreams. We all want something. But the unpleasant truth about life is that everything comes with a price, every achievement involves W.O.R.K! The work is always hard. Sometimes the work is no fun. But discipline is about getting the work done, even when your heart’s not in it; even when you’re tired; even when adversity strikes; even if people criticize you. Muhammad Ali always wanted to box. But staying in the training ring took discipline: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”

D3 works synergistically with D1 and D2. But it can be the hardest pill to swallow. There are tens of thousands of people who have D1 and D2 in their Dream Diets, but you’ll never hear about these people. You’ll never know their names. They’re dreamers just like you. But sadly, they never go beyond the dream stage. They never took their D3.

D3 is DOING! After all, nothing ever gets started until someone makes a start. So take your vitamins and get going. DECIDE what you want to achieve, DISCIPLINE yourself to reach your goal, and then just DO IT!

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7 NIV)