Grit and go

steve martin

Still sorting through the last of my moving boxes, I came across a tub filled with resource and stimulus materials that I have been collecting for nearly 12 years …since I downsized the last time…then upsized again!

For a millisecond I considered keeping some bits and pieces, but that would mean spending time sorting through the box.

I surprised myself by putting 99% of it in the recycling bin.

Normally there would be a little voice in my head demanding that I keep it all, that it was in fact the key to all my future success… but this time, the voice was very quiet and may even have intimated that dumping it all would free me from my old style should I decide one day to pick up a paint brush.

The 1% I kept consisted of a painting I made in 1997 and a little piece of paper a friend gave me a few years back. It reads dream it, know it, believe it but then activate it. You are the only person who can do this for you. Just believing the dream is not enough, live in it, create it, you have to do the dream.

I wonder why I didn’t register this very important information when she gave it to me? 😩 She saw I was working on my art and encouraged me to make a plan to take it as far as I could. I guess I did that – take it as far as I could.

Thankfully I understand what she meant now and I’m applying it to my writing. It’s now or never.

Thank goodness I decided months ago that now is the time for perseverance, for grit, for consistency. And thank goodness I followed through.

I’m slowly working my way through everything written by Robert Mckee. One thing that shocked me was that he said he had often had equal part women and men in his writing classes in the 80s, but while the men often went on to get their movies made, the women struggled. He put this down to lack of perseverance and the inability to handle criticism. While I’m not going to dispute his obviously expert opinion, we know now that this was not the only reason women struggle to get far in Hollywood. Times are changing.


  1. Janet Mary Cobb

    LOVE this! Especially the Ayn Rand quote! Just like the Archetypes book that has circled back, your friends note has resurfaced just when you need it! Keep on keepin’ on – your post is very encouraging for me too.

  2. melcat76 Robert McKee, if he is not in fact willfully blind, then I put his dismissive attitude to the women down to the fact that hurdles you don’t face yourself are simply non-existent to you and thus of course don’t factor into your thinking. With the best intentions in the world, I guess we all look for reasons we might have failed/struggled/been upset in the ‘same’ situation, which is actually not the same situation at all if you haven’t actually walked in others’ shoes and faced the less obvious systemic barriers faced by some people. It’s part of the reason we get so much mansplaining, straightsplaining, whitesplaining, etc. and when you consider intersectionality, for example gay women of colour who have disabilities must be farking furious with the rest of us 🙁

    1. Christine Betts

      Totally agree. I was dismayed when I read that and then later heard him voice that on the Beautiful Writers podcast. The female presenters didn’t ask him to clarify. I was disappointed.

      1. melcat76

        I can imagine. It would have been good to at least have someone ask him if he’d considered those factors, and dismissed them for what reason.
        I think there’s also the guilt that comes of working really hard and being successful, and then finding out that others have been systematically barred from entry into the race and so instead of coping with the feeling that this devalues your own achievement and helping to dismantle such barriers, people set out to ‘prove’ why those barriers don’t exist for others, so ‘see, I am the winner because I am awesome, not because half the competitors were hobbled’.
        On a tangent, this is how I source the phenomenon of wealthy (usually conservative) politicians denying that those not born into wealth are truly limited in their ability to achieve the same things they have. In my experience, few successful people really publicly own on a personal level how advantaged and lucky they’ve been in getting where they are.

      2. Christine Betts

        Re McKee it should also be pointed out that even today fewer than 10% of the directors in Hollywood are women. So even without the sleazy ‘rape sofa’ culture and accompanying bullying men had the jump on us anyway.
        Re privilege. I liked that example of students in a classroom being instructed to throw a ball of paper into the trash. But no one was allowed to move. It became very obvious that those in the front had a far better chance of making “it”.
        Having said that, I’ve also seen privileged people throw their opportunities away with drugs etc and watched people ‘mark time’ waiting for granny to die to get their inheritance. Sad. Then there’s people like the current US president who are totally out of touch with reality. Not to mention Turnbull et al.

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