Yo-Yos, Skateboards, and Origami Ninja Stars: Thoughts on Perseverance and the Writing Process

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.

12 thoughts on “Yo-Yos, Skateboards, and Origami Ninja Stars: Thoughts on Perseverance and the Writing Process

  1. You son must have some great parental examples of people who persevere! I look forward to my personal time each day to work on my writing, whether it’s actual writing, researching, reading, or studying the craft!

  2. Oh my gosh, Laura…you are an inspiration. And thanks for the reminder that is is okay to have that focus on the writing, that it’s required. What a great example your son is!

  3. I’ll add I think you have to practice all the skills regularly too. It’s nice to have a few stories going, so you can practice editing, plot development, and just raw writing.

  4. There are many days when I’m frustrated or self-critical enough to wonder why I bother writing… but then I remember those days are part of the journey, too, and encouragement often comes on the heels of doubt. Thanks for this post, Laura. I’m off to practice my own version of yo-yo skills while my little one naps. Assuming she actually does nap, that is. 🙂

  5. I agree, Laura. It’s so important to make time for writing — so often my “free” time gets clogged with other stuff and eventually vanishes. But it’s important to keep that time reserved for writing.

  6. Laura, it’s great that your son can be so focused on goals at such a young age. He’ll go far in life! And, by the sounds of it, he has wonderful role models. *wink*

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