RWA's Golden Heart award has been on the minds of the Rockville 8 pretty much since we entered last fall. Two weeks ago, we had a celebration to toast our nominee--yay Keely!!--and to salute all who entered. That started me thinking about the final Barbara Walters Oscar Special I saw a few weeks ago which included a retrospective of all past shows.
I noticed a trend as I watched. Barbara asked several of the nominees a variation of the same question--"Did you know that you would be successful?"
When she asked Denzel Washington if he thought he would be nominated, he answered, "At the risk of sounding egotistical, I expected to be nominated." Mo'Nique described how as a child she would thank the Academy holding a hairbrush in the bathroom mirror. Barbara asked if she really believed that it would happen. She answered, "If I didn't think it, why get in the game?" And Oprah said, "Somewhere I have always known that I was born for greatness in my life."
These people believe in themselves. They didn't let obstacles stand in their way. They didn't let being knocked down keep them from jumping back in the race, skinned knees and all. They kept pushing and believing.
Barbara asked Glenn Close if she thought she deserved to win, even though she said it was a terrible question to ask someone. Glenn answered, "I don't think it's a terrible question because I think I do deserve to win." But she didn't win then, even though it was the fourth time she'd been nominated. Glenn didn't stop acting. And though she's been nominated five times for the Oscar, she still hasn't won. But she has won three Tonys, three Emmys, and two Golden Globes.
That brings us to another point. Robert Mitchum told Barbara Walters, "Never look back because something might be gaining on you." Put your failures behind you, learn from them and don't destroy yourself because of them. As Susan Sarandon told Barbara, "If you're not making mistakes you're not doing anything." Allow yourself to fail. Give yourself permission to turn over the dirt, plant your seeds and stain the page. Then go back and clean it up.
Many times, when someone decides to act, they do it because they can't picture doing anything else. It's the same with writing. You wouldn't do it unless you loved it. Unless you absolutely had to do it. Unless it wouldn't leave you alone. The times in my life that I haven't, when I've pushed writing aside, I've been miserable. The story ideas, scenes, metaphors, bits of dialogue keep pushing at me. I think that's true for anyone who writes.
You can have a lot of ideas. You can love to write them down. But until you believe that you're writing for more than just your own enjoyment, it's a hobby. Until you can say, I believe that I deserve to be published, you likely won't be.