First, a thank you to the people from Anderson’s Kid Lit Breakfast, for inviting me to be part of this amazing event. Of course, I had heard all about it, and it lived up to my expectations. I met many dedicated, passionate, and funny librarians and teachers, all excited about books and reading and their students.
At the end of a wonderful morning of talks and conversations with teachers and librarians, Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver spoke about their collaboration on the Hank Zipzer books, which were inspired by Winkler’s personal struggles as a person with dyslexia. Winkler’s message was clear: Have tenacity and gratitude. For him, this was the secret to success.
I bet many of you are shaking your heads. YES.
Christopher Reeve once said, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
There are times when we all must be tenacious, when we must fight the odds, and work tirelessly to achieve our goals. In terms of writing, this means we must revise…and re-imagine…we must keep our butts in the chair. And then, even when we are sure the story is perfect, we must submit ourselves to another round of reflection and often, self reflection. We must face rejection time and time again. Sometimes, we must put work in a drawer. We must take criticism on every level. If it hurts, we must not dwell. We must accept that this is part of the process.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
― Thomas Edison
“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
― Abraham Lincoln
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
― Mary Anne Radmacher
And then there is gratitude–It almost feels like the opposite side of a coin. Gratitude for that chance to revise. Gratitude for the story itself. Gratitude for the people around us who support us in our quests to create art and story. And of course, gratitude when we reach our goals. That we did it. That we didn’t give up. Sometimes when we remember all that we have, it is possible to take that next step in our work. Sometimes, when we stop and think about how lucky we are, how far we have come, how much we already have learned…then we can take that last step.
Are you ready to stretch? Are you ready to start your writing week with intentional tenacity and gratitude?
Today, start by hugging your loved ones. Thank them for their support. Say THANK YOU for all that you have. How often do we really do this? How often do we think the people around us know we are grateful….and forget to say it out loud?
Then listen to that little voice–not the internal editor. The one that yearns for success. Remind yourself: what do I want to say? Why is it important? Who are the readers who you are writing for and about? Who are you in your main character? How is her or his struggle yours???? Why am I on this journey?
When you remember why you are writing…when you remember that child that you were…or that hurt that you felt…or the power that you want….then tenacity is not so hard. It is worth it. It doesn’t matter how much more work you have yet to do. You can do it.
Have a great writing day!