Saturday, February 18, 2012

Make it Happen

My husband and oldest son love riding dirt bikes together. They'll take off on our local trails, ride for hours, and return home sweaty, dirty, and exhausted.

But darn it, our son outgrew his dirt bike. We prepared to sell his bike and use that money for something bigger, but our son also wanted something a bit newer (fuel-injected...go figure). He's willing to pay the difference so he approached us with a plan, received our approval, and now he's on the path to earning money for the bike he wants.

I was truly impressed by our son. He didn't complain about what he couldn't have--he knew what he wanted and is in the process of making it happen. He printed up "business cards" and delivered them to our country neighbors. He's secured jobs feeding horses, chopping wood, and watching a couple's home while they went on vacation. With our guidance, he sold old gaming systems and other unused stuff on Craig's List.

His situation reminded me of determined writers. We can't worry about where we aren't, or what we haven't accomplished yet. We have the power to make it happen if we're resilient, remain open to learning, and continue working hard.

We write the material.
We revise.
We have our work critiqued.
We send it out to agents and editors.
We endure rejections.
We revise again.
We rejoice in steps forward.

Some writers are bravely plunging in to self-publishing, and we're cheering them on. Each accomplishment is savored and appreciated because we made it happen. And our successes are that much sweeter because of our hard work.

When our son finally buys that newer dirt bike, he'll experience the pride of earning the money and making it happen. Not a bad lesson for teens and writers, huh?

Do you savor your accomplishments as much as you should? What steps do you take to reach your own writing goals? Please share!

And thanks to everyone who entered the 1,000-word critique giveaway. The luck winner is...Jenn! Congratulations, Jenn! I'll connect you with the generous ladies at The Bookshelf Muse.


  1. Congratulations, Jenn!
    And your son's actions are a testimony to your excellent parenting skills, Julie. Well done!

  2. Great post, Julie. I feel like I've been doing the big things like PiBoldMo, Month of Poetry and reading craft books, getting some things finished and then bam I have no idea what to do with them. I scoured the Poet's market and the Children's market and barely found many that fit with what I do, same with agents. Then I think should I go the e route or self-publish and now my mind is a whizz of confusion. Hopefully I'll get over it and do better research with a clear head next week :)
    Dirt bike racing sounds wonderful, good on your son. We had neighbours in NZ who were really into bmx and their friend was the NZ champion, so fun!

  3. Great analogy, Julie. My daughters do the same thing. But I've noticed something, and you've probably seen this with your kids too, sometimes they give up on the item they want because it's taking too long to earn the money. The item was wanted "yesterday", but it's taking six months to earn the money. They either figure it's not worth it anymore, or they settle for something less.
    And we do this as writers, too. We either give up because it's taking too long or we settle for something less.
    I'm not knocking self-publishing. I self-published ten years ago, myself, long before it was the fashionable thing to do. But I do know that it was because I was a very impatient person back then, too. There is no way I could have endured all the submitting, waiting, rejection, revising, etc. that I am enduring today.
    But one thing that keeps me going is a writer friend who has had five books published traditionally, has had an agent, but is now struggle along side the rest of us to make a comeback. Yet, when I ask her whether I should try submitting straight to editors, she says, "No. You need an agent." So I persevere. I strive on. I keep writing. I keep submitting. I keep revising. I fix my eyes on the prize and refuse to give up or give in.
    (Did I just take up like half of your comment space? Sorry...)
    Have a great weekend, Julie.

  4. Thanks for your comments, guys. Catherine and Linda, I know how you feel! It's tough, it takes a long time, and sometimes we can become discouraged. We're allowed those feelings because we're human! Keep the faith and keep on keepin' on.

  5. Your son is an inspiration and, it sounds like, a great kid! I love that he went after what he wanted like that. And you're oh so right, we could learn a lot from him.

  6. Good for your son! Too many kids today simply receive and never know what's it's like to achieve.

    Great writing analogy too. Focus on what is and what needs to be done and don't whine about what isn't. :-)

  7. Wow, what an honor, thank you!

    I love what you said about making things happen--whether buying a dirt bike or writing a novel, what an encouragement. :)

  8. I agree with Julie H. I think it's great when parents can afford to buy stuff for their kids but never making them work for anything makes it so they never truly appreciate the things they get. I think gifts/freebies should be reserved for special occasions and the rest earned or at least partially earned. And how awesome your son came to YOU with a plan to make his dream happen! Very cool.

  9. Your son sure is a great example for other kids. You must be really proud of him, Julie.

  10. I like this post, but somehow it seems impossible to make it happen when you're writing, because once you send the query you're at someone else's mercy.

  11. Your son obviously learned his fine life-habits from watching his parent's example.

    Good for him - and for you!

  12. I'm so impressed. What a super motivated soul. He's definitely a shining light of inspiration. Way to go, D.

  13. You & your husband must be awesome parents to instill such admirable work ethic. It should take your son far! As for your analogy, I think this sums it up perfect: "...our successes are that much sweeter because of our hard work."

  14. You should be very proud of your son. What a fabulous young man. And you're so right... he will be proud of his accomplishment. It will be that much sweeter.

    We as writers should feel that same pride, whether we finished a chapter, a book or published. We are making it happen!

    Thank you for reminding me of the power of pride and ownership.

  15. I'm so proud of your son too!!! Great lesson for all of us.

  16. I love this, that your son is so conscientious about knowing what he wants and making a plan to make it happen.

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

  17. I BET you're a proud mommy!! Congrats!!
    And no, not a bad lesson--a GREAT lesson! Let us know when he gets it!! :D
    Thanks for the analogy too, love it.

  18. We have to savor the small victories! Absoltuely have to!

  19. What a resourceful young lad! You must be so proud.
    Happy Monday! BTW, I just tagged you for a post!


  20. Congratulations, Jenn! I'm so impressed with your son and his determination. I remember saving babysitting money to buy CD's. I was so proud of myself!

  21. Great analogy for writers! Good for your son, too. He'll get that newer bike he wants in no time!

  22. It is a win-win when kids want something bad enough that they brainstorm ways to make it work and most importantly PUT THE WORK IN. Very inspirational post. Back to my edits with renewed vigor!

  23. Sometimes I have to force myself to savor each step because I'm always so worried about getting too excited and then taking a hard fall. But I try to remember that no day is promised, and if we don't enjoy each little thing, we never know how many more chances we'll get. Yay for your son! He's already learning to navigate the world and work for what he wants !

  24. Perseverance is key when we really want to reach a goal. This is a great analogy and such a wonderful lesson for your son. Good for him!