Mar 27, 2008

The skin of a rhino & the soul of an angel

“The skin of a rhino and the soul of an angel” is Albert Schweitzer’s advice for being a great leader. It’s also perfect advice for being a great writer, poet, novelist, journalist, or essayist. It’s necessary if not required to have the tough skin of a rhino when you’re writing, because the rejections outnumber the acceptances (for most of us).

And I know I’m not supposed to call it a “rejection.” It’s an “opportunity to do it better” or an “ignorant decision of an editor” or “business decision.”

Anyway, if you have the skin of a rhino, you don’t take things personally and you don't let the rejections knock you down. And if you have the soul of an angel, you've got enough spirit and wisdom and courage and creativity to try again. You also have imagination, hope, faith, goodness and light, too.

Writing quotation: “In my dream, the angel shrugged & said, “If we fail this time, it will be a failure of imagination” & then she placed the world gently in the palm of my hand.” – from Brian Andreas’ “Imagining World.”

Writing tip: Writers imagine, and writers fail. (Here’s a good opportunity for me to talk about my recent mistake regarding sourcing for an article, and my ulcers and lost sleep and that awful stress hormone cortisol running through my veins, making me fat and gray haired and anxious and afraid that that magazine won't hire me again. But no – instead I will talk about writers who have soul.).

Imagine an angel – one who shrugs and dismisses failure – has placed the world in the palm of your hand. All you have to do is summon the courage to figure out what to do with your world.

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