July 21, 2010


Here’s a story every writer will marvel at and probably everyone else. It’s about a woman called Laura Munson and her struggle to become a published author. During the first twenty years of her career, she produced fourteen books and all of them were rejected countless times. Only once was she given a glimmer of hope. A publisher suggested she cut three hundred pages out of her five hundred page novel and rewrite the remaining two hundred.

If I’d have received such a letter, I don’t know whether I’d have laughed or cried.  Laura Munson did neither. She set about the task of a major revision, happy to think someone was giving her a chance.

After horrendous rewrites, she sent the book off with her fingers crossed. Days and weeks passed without word; then finally a letter came. “Sorry not for us.”

That betrayal, for I think of it as such, might have caused many an unpublished writer to throw in the towel, but not Laura Munson. She remembered the words of Eleanor Roosevelt. “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” She kept on writing.

Recently, one of her books made it to the New York Times Best Seller list: This Is Not the Story You Think It Is. I haven’t read it but I will. A woman with that much grit is bound to have something to say.

The story might have ended differently. Laura Munson could have remained an unpublished author. But published or not, I count her a success. She’s spent the last twenty years doing what she loves, working as a writer. A publisher’s contract is merely the frosting on the cake.

I’m happy someone accepted her latest book and that it’s been well-received. But what really puts a smile on my face is that she never gave up on herself. Perseverance as much as talent made Laura Munson a winner. That’s an example for all of us. We need a new coin in this country to honor those who won’t lie down and stay there. Eleanor Roosevelt’s profile should appear on one side and Laura Munson’s on the other.