“Rejection is not a reason to give up. Sometimes you'll do something that you really like and no one else does. You'll feel terrible, but you've just got to press on and keep trying. If you like doing it and keep working at it, then someday you will succeed.” – Norman Bridwell
Bridwell, the artist-author of the phenomenally successful Clifford the Big Red Dog (now out as a popular holiday movie), was told Clifford, his first book, would never work. It was rejected by the first 9 publishers to which he submitted it. But, instead of throwing in the towel, he tried a 10th one and the rest is history.
“Clifford,” was supposed to be called “Tiny,” but Bridwell’s wife Norma said that name was “stupid.” As any writer knows, listen to your spouse or partner. Norma liked the name Clifford. As for Clifford’s friend Emily Elizabeth, that was a no-brainer. It was the name of their daughter, to whom Norman had been conveying his Clifford story in the first place.
His “poorly drawn; schmaltzy storied” (some rejecters’ words) book became the anchor of an writing empire with 40-some books printed in 65 countries and selling more than 130 million copies (so far), plus both the new movie and a PBs animated television series.
Clifford actually embodies his creator. Bridwell, who died in December of 2014, was a gentle man with a terrific sense of humor who wanted to share values he hoped children would embrace – kindness, compassion, helpfulness, and gratitude. And “stick-to-it-iveness.”
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