“If there are no doors open, then go find a window!
Don’t take no for an answer.”
My new business start-up guide, Birthing the Elephant, describes a entrepreneur as someone who will go over, under, around or through any obstacle in their path on the way to fulfilling their dream. To get where we want to go as writers, we need to bring that same kind of single-minded focus and resourcefulness to our work.
When Faith Ringgold couldn’t persuade publishers to give her a chance as an author, she began writing her stories on fabric and turning them into quilts. She even made one fabric fable into an amazing, one-of-a-kind costume and wore it to attract attention (see Story Quilts). Faith found a window. When Robert Johnson couldn’t afford a guitar as an impoverished tenant farmer in the 1920s, he made one himself out of materials he had on hand. When he couldn’t afford lessons, he taught himself how to play and went on to become a legendary blues guitarist whose unique style helped shape the musicians who followed him. Like Faith, Robert found a window.
What about us? Are we passionate and intense enough about what we’re doing to find a window when we can’t find a door? A tough rejection. The door slams. The struggle to find an agent. A door shuts. A rough patch in a story or novel we’re working on. Another door closes. Like Faith, who wore her stories as body art or Robert, who crafted his own guitar, can we find windows? Can we tap our innate resourcefulness and keep going? Can we take whatever materials we have on hand and craft something unique and wonderful?
Sure, there may be plenty of doors around that may not be open to us, but the number of windows we can find and throw open for ourselves is endless! Right now I’m struggling with a big moment in my YA novel. Brainstorming with my ever-inventive sister, Stephanie, has been a big help. One way or another, I’m going to find that window, open it, and fly through it! How about you? Have you opened a window in your writing? Please share your story!