There's many things we can learn from Walt Disney when it comes to our journey as writers, but I'd like to focus on one part today, Mickey Mouse. And specifically, this quote.
"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse."
—Walt Disney, Disneyland; October 27, 1954
This start wasn't without its fair share of bumps (like most things in life). In fact, Mickey Mouse could very well have never existed if Universal Studios hadn't tried to short change Walt.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was one of Walt Disney's first successful cartoons. It was so successful that Walt went to the head of Universal and asked for an increase in his budget for the show. He was told that not only wouldn't he get an increase but he had to take 20% less AND Universal had convinced almost all of Disney's current employees to sign with them. They owned the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, so there was nothing Disney could do.
Instead of agreeing, Disney walked away. (The Walt Disney Company wouldn't regain the rights to Oswald until 2006!) He needed a new cartoon character so he asked one of the only employees that remained loyal to him, Ub Iwerks, if he would come up with something else. After a number of tries, Mortimer Mouse was born. And with some careful convincing by Disney's wife, Mortimer got a name change to Mickey.
I guess I find this story inspirational because Walt had to walk away from a huge success. I think about that...like if one of my books were to make it big, and for some reason I would have to walk away from it and start over...that would be SO hard.
But he did it because he had faith in himself and those that he worked with. He learned from Oswald and was able to make a better character. While we go through this bumpy road, its important we keep this in mind.
It might look like our work is going to be an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but there very well could be a Mickey Mouse behind it.