My twelve-year-old son is the most determined kid I know. Once he sets his mind on accomplishing something, he perseveres until he succeeds – even if it means tuning out EVERYTHING else. Interested in a snack? No. Interested in taking a break? No. Last winter he decided he wanted to become a yo-yo master. He consulted library books, the internet, and even a real-life expert (my dad) for advice on how to master his favorite tricks. For weeks, he spent every spare moment practicing and improving his craft. He even contemplated calling himself “Yo-Yo Boy” and doing the entertainment circuit at birthday parties, den meetings etc.
By late spring, he had a new fascination – origami ninja stars. Again, he spent several intense hours researching the best way to fold them. Then he made dozens and dozens, each batch better than the previous. Summer vacation brought long sunny days, perfect for honing his skateboard and scooter skills. I watched, amazed at his endurance, as he spent hours on end, working on speed, precision, and tricks. It remains to be seen what his fall passion will be. But, I know that whatever it is, he’ll take it on with determination and perseverance.
I’m no skateboard mama or mistress of yo-yo arts, but as a writer I find my son inspiring. To excel, I must be willing to put in the time, to do the research, and to practice, practice, practice my craft. Sometimes that will mean spending hours focused on just a single line or sentence, working and reworking it until I get it right. Other times it will mean tuning out distractions, clearing the calendar so writing remains a priority. It’ll mean evenings spent reading the latest books in my genre, as well as the latest books on the craft of writing. It’ll mean not giving up, even when rejections keep coming. Most of all it will mean finding joy and satisfaction in the day to day journey of being a writer.