“I can’t believe you would be writing a book. You’re not serious enough to write a book.”
Presuming you want to write a book, what would you say if one of your friends said that to you?
Would you get mad and slightly depressed about it…
Or would you use it as fuel to inspire you to greater heights?
One lady chose the latter.
She was so insulted, she gathered up her manuscript and presented it to a MacMillan Publishing editor by the name of Harold Latham.
He’d heard about this lady and her manuscript, but she seemed entirely uninterested in having it actually published.
When he initially spoke to her, at first she said she didn’t have a book. Upon further prodding, she admitted she had a book, but “it wasn’t ready to be seen.”
It was only upon her friend’s slight that she decided to take action.
When Latham finally did get his hands on her manuscript, because of its bulky and scattered nature, he quickly anointed it the worst manuscript he’d ever seen.
Then she got cold feet — sending him a cable with the words “Send it back. I’ve changed my mind.”
But he refused.
Because he’d started reading it and he was hooked.
The novel was published on June 30th, 1936.
The reviews were extraordinary. In the first six months, it sold one million copies. This during the height of the depression. And this, with the book selling for an unheard-of-at-the-time price of 3 dollars due to its robust girth (1,037 pages.)
The book went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1937. According to a 2014 Harris Poll, it was found to be the second favorite book of American readers, behind only the bible. As of 2010, it had sold over 30 million copies.
If you haven’t guessed, the person I’m talking about is Margaret Mitchell. The book is Gone with the Wind.
And to think it might never have come to light, if not for a condescending remark.
Have you ever used something like that to inspire you?
Perhaps it’s the image of a friend you never really consider a friend who you always felt would take delight if you never accomplished a thing in your life…
Or the words of an ex-boss are etched in your brain. The one who never had your best interests at heart.
It can be a powerful motivator.
It could be just what you need to work that extra hour, make that extra series of phone calls or get up an hour earlier each day.
Because sometimes to be successful you need a little Scarlett O’Hara in you.
You need to stand up with fist clenched and say to the world (as displayed in the remarkable scene prior to the intermission in the movie Gone with the Wind)…
“As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”
Minus the lie, steal, cheat, kill part of course…