Life is what happens —

When you’re busy making other plans. (quote attributed to John Lennon)

The point is to keep making plans, right? The point is to figure out your direction and take steps toward it no matter what life throws at you.

I’m an optimist. I’ve learned to live with that.

My plan is to write. My plan is to keep telling stories. I’m often asked or told that no one knows how I do what I do, write with little kids. I don’t know how to answer. I simply do it when I have a moment. It’s not like I can turn off the characters in my head.

I learn by rolling with the things that come my way. Sometimes it is just about writing down goals and sticking to them. I love lists. But it’s also about when something happens and I forget to write, don’t accomplish anything, or completely become overwhelmed – I don’t stop. I am not afraid to give myself a pass for a day (or more) and try again tomorrow.

Then again, I’ve also been labeled as motivated, driven, determined, ambitious. I’m not sure any of us knows what we can accomplish until we make the attempt.

What have you attempted? What do you do to keep yourself motivated? I bet no one told the rocks they couldn’t stay there.

Garden of the Gods, CO

Garden of the Gods, CO

A Question of Talent

Everyone has a talent. Some of them might not seem so stellar or business-worthy, but you can find an aptitude to something. Some people sing. Others draw. If you wandered here thinking I’m talented at writing, well, today I’m not so sure. What I might really be good at is math.

Don’t ask what I’m doing being a writer then. It’s not that I stink at it. (At least, I hope not.) This is a difficult profession and it takes a lot of work to get anywhere. So I have to have at least a little talent to get the acceptances with which I have been honored. (See, Sarah? I do learn.)

So while writing may not be my greatest talent, there should be a box to check to just say hey, I love this. I love sharing my stories. I will work at all hours, even with the baby not letting me sleep at night, to make the novel read well.

I’ll admit that without sleep that’s really difficult, but I do keep trying.

I won’t deny that there are other writers out there with more talent. One of them we love to hate is in my online critique group. We read his submissions and just wish we could do as well. Some days he admits that what stops him is inside him. He doesn’t know how far he could get. I don’t know how far I can get, either, but I’m working to find out.

I haven’t let fear of rejection stop me. I refuse to think that because I’m not the most talented writer out there that I should give up and do something different. In spite of all the negativity around me, I still pursue my goal.

All I can tell you is that motivation is at least as important as talent, if not more. I have the drive to keep trying. I send things out again once they’re rejected. Sometimes it works, others it doesn’t. But I am absolutely a published author because I didn’t quit, because I didn’t listen to how difficult it was, and because I wanted to make it work.

Strengths

Each of us has different areas we’re confident in pursuing. These talents vary, and we measure ourselves against the best and brightest in each.

Some days, that’s not the best decision. We falter in our forward progress, see that we’re not cut out for the big time, and become frustrated or disillusioned. We need peptalks from friends and family to get going on our paths again. A few give up entirely and choose another area of interest to dabble in.

Don’t quit something you love. The beauty of hobbies is you can do something you’re not perfect at and still just enjoy it. I’ll never be a great guitarist, but that doesn’t stop me from playing and learning. I’ll always write, whether I get published again or not – though I do keep hoping for the former rather than the latter.

May you find your motivation wherever you need it, and not give up on the little things that make life so much fun.