Inside my head and heart reside Writing Drill Sergeant and Writing Saboteur.
They don’t get along. Especially after a manuscript rejection.
Writing Saboteur: “Another rejection . . . This is hard.”
Writing Drill Sergeant: “Waa. Waa. Waa. How many rejections have you collected? 200? 300?”
“More than 50?”
“Well . . . no.”
“Still . . . rejection sucks. Can’t I just greet people at Wal-Mart?”
“Get your wimpy, people-pleasing self back in the ring.”
“Don’t make me write today. I’d rather bury my face in a Dairy Queen supersized Capuccino Heath Butterfinger Blizzard and cry.”
“Get. In. The CHAIR!”
“Wait–I need to pee first.”
“And eat just a little chocolate.”
“Don’t test me.”
“Can’t you say something encouraging?”
“Drill sergeants don’t encourage. They motivate. Here’s a list of quotes.”
“You made a list–for me?”
“Anything to get you to stop whining.”
WRITING DRILL SERGEANT’S POST-REJECTION MOTIVATORS
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone): “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that.”
2. ROCKY II
Trainer Micky Goldmill (Burgess Meredith): “For a 45-minute fight, you got to train hard for 45,000 minutes.”
3. A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks): “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard … is what makes it great.”
Or: Jimmy Dugan: “Are you crying? Are you crying? There’s no crying. There’s no crying in writing (baseball)!”
“I know you watch a lot of movies, but do you have any literary motivators–ones who use their inside voice?”
4. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Harper Lee)
Atticus Finch: “but sometimes we have to make the best of things, and the way we conduct ourselves when the chips are down…”
5. CHARLOTTE’S WEB (E.B. White)
While Wilbur waits for the spiders: “Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.”
6. WINNIE THE POOH (A. A. Milne)
Piglet: “Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?”
“Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
7. THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD (Watty Piper)
Little Engine: “I think I can. I think I can.”
“How about something more recent?”
8. THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING (Ashley Spires)
The bad feelings are about to start all over again. Then she (a regular girl) notices something surprising. There are some parts of the WRONG things that are really quite RIGHT. . . . By the time she reaches the end of the trail, she finally knows how to make the thing MAGNIFICENT. She gets to work.
“Writing Drill Sergeant, you’re really kind of a softie.”
“Shut up and type.”