You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Learning from Legends’ category.

Most writers daydream about two things: the day their book appears on a best seller list and the day it gets made into a movie. I’m quite certain I’m not alone in admitting that I mentally cast all the characters in my novel a long time ago. And, if I’m being completely honest, I’ve also thought about costuming, set design, camera angles, and the award-winning score.

I’m not a fool. I know it’s extremely rare to have your book made into a movie…but it’s fun to dream. Although, there’s one rather enormous detail that I choose to blissfully ignore: the fact that authors aren’t usually involved or consulted when their work gets made into a movie.

Granted, this isn’t always the case – Stephanie Meyer is on the set of every movie in the Twilight Saga, but that’s the exception not the rule. Consequently, authors are sometimes less than thrilled with the end result because any number of things can go wrong: the wrong actors are cast, key scenes are cut, or the author’s original intentions are lost in translation, like these 7 worst film adaptations. One of the most famous examples of an author hating a film adaptation is Stephen King of The Shining.

Unfortunately, it seems like there are more disappointments than successes when it comes to adapting written work for the big screen. But, while I can think of many more book-to-movie adaptations that I didn’t like, there have been a few that I really loved.

For example, I thought Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts was a great representation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s soul-searching journey through Italy, India, Indonesia. I felt Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen was exquisitely translated to the big screen. And, of course, there’s my long-time favorite: Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook which I’ve watched at least a dozen times.

I’ve also heard that the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird (my favorite classic) was excellent, but I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t comment.

I’ve racked my brain trying to think of other movies that I loved,  but those three are all I can come up with. So I ask you…which film adaptations do you love?

You’d think that legendary authors like Capote, Eliot and Welty would’ve had very formal writing habits to produce that caliber work, but you’d be wrong. Today I stumbled upon this article, “Weird Writing Habits of Famous Authors”, which exposes the truth: some of the best known writers produced their work lying down, half in the bag or with a painted face. One even pinned her stories together like a patchwork quilt.  

It got me thinking about my own writing habits, which are pretty tame in comparison. Nonetheless, I have a few weird ones:

I like to write in my pajamas. (But who doesn’t?)

Before I sit down to write, I splash my face with cold water to make me more alert and soothe my eyeballs.

I write in my home office, which must be quiet as a tomb, with a faux fur blanket on my lap and fingertip-less gloves on my hands.

I always have a 16 oz. cup of Wawa’s french vanilla coffee with french vanilla creamer within arm’s reach.

I do my writing on one computer and my research on another because I have computer hypochondria (the fear of downloading something that will screw up my computer and cause me to lose my manuscript).

After I finish my coffee, I chew Orbit Bubblemint gum two pieces at a time.

When my writing session ends, I superstitiously save my work in at least 2 places.

What about you? Do you have any weird work habits?

“Every artist was first an amateur.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

So often we look at successful people and it seems like they catapulted to the height of their careers overnight or achieved it with little effort. But, most will tell you that success takes a long time and is often a path paved with rejection, criticism and failure.

Believe it or not, even the world’s most successful people started out just like the rest of us:

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

Walt Disney was fired from his job at a newspaper because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. After that he started several different businesses that ended in bankruptcy.

Harland David Sanders (a.k.a. Colonel Sanders, of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame) had his famous secret chicken recipe rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant finally accepted it.

Jerry Seinfeld froze the first time he performed and was booed off the stage.

Marilyn Monroe was told by modeling agents that she should consider being a secretary instead.

Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough and made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.

Theodor Seuss Giesel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) had his first book, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, rejected by 27 different publishers.

Elvis Presley was fired from the Grand Ole Opry after just one performance and was told, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

Steven Spielberg was rejected three times by the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television.

Stephen King threw his first book, Carrie, in the trash after receiving 30 rejections. Luckily, his wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit.

Next time you encounter rejection, criticism or failure, remember all of the successful people who went before you and be confident that you too are on your way.

For more success stories, check out: 50 Famously Successful People Who Failed at First.

Enter your email address to receive new posts by email.

Join 39 other followers

Follow Me on Twitter

  • RT @WriterUnboxed: When not writing is writing.The world around us is rich with the ingredients we need to tell powerful stories, and somet… 1 hour ago