When Madeleine L’Engle’s fantasy novel for children was rejected by some 40 publishers, her agent gave up on the project and returned the manuscript. But then, Madeleine had the good fortune to meet John Farrar of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He read her book and on a hunch, decided to publish it, even though his firm had never put out a children’s book before. A Wrinkle in Time went on to sell some 10 million copies and became a much-beloved classic.
Trusting his gut proved to be a smart move for John Farrar as a publisher and the same can be true for us as writers. Intuition is one of the most powerful tools we have in our arsenal. Let’s use it!
Consider JK Rowling’s fabulous success. Whenever she talks about creating the legendary Harry Potter, she says, the boy and his story “just fell into her head.” Imagine if she had ignored her inner voice — the whole magical idea and the world that was spun around it might never have seen the light of day.
Or consider Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone with the Wind. When she was laid up by an accident, to amuse herself, she began writing down some thoughts she had about a book. Though she didn’t think much of her efforts, something compelled her to keep writing. Soon, she had a pile of pages — and when an editor read them, he knew she had a book. But no one — least of all Margaret — suspected just how big a blockbuster it would prove to be.
Then there’s Emily Dickinson, who privately penned her exquisite poems in a second-floor room in her father’s house. Though she showed them to no one but an editor, who saw just a handful, and her sister, she felt compelled to save them. She even stitched some of them into small booklets in print so tiny that it was hard to decipher. When Emily passed away, her sister found a trunk filled with poems jotted down on canning labels, envelopes, and old bills. Was it intuition that inspired Emily to save her poems so that the rest of the world might treasure them?
Every day, we have the opportunity to listen to the still, small voice within us and let it help us in our writing. What more loving, caring guide can we hope for? Write on.