Wednesday, September 21, 2016

When Hollywood Gets It Wrong, part 3: If I Stay



If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)
Note: Now we reach part 3, my last rant (for now) about how Hollywood sometimes wrecks books/musicals when they’re adapted into movies. Herein lie spoilers for If I Stay. Parts 1 and 2 were about Harry Potter and Into the Woods.

If I Stay is such a beautiful, lyrical (but really sad) book that I was curious to see how that loveliness could be translated into film. For me, it didn’t work great, but there was one part that really wrecked it for me.

If you haven’t read If I Stay, let me begin by saying that though I thought it was a beautiful, compelling read, I don’t necessarily recommend it, particularly for an LDS audience. My recollection is that there was a fair amount of swearing, a little bit of drugs, and some sex (not exactly explicit, but definitely there).

It’s a story about a girl named Mia, who loves three things: her family, the cello, and a boy named Adam. Near the start of the book, she and her family are in a devastating car accident. The entire novel flips back and forth between flashbacks and her current out-of-body experience as she is being taken to the hospital, worked on there, etc. Her parents and brother all die in the accident. In the end, the central question of the novel is this: will she chose to live despite the pain, or will she let go?

The thing is, the whole book is about how much she loves her family, her cello, her Adam, but also about how amazing life is in general. It’s a tribute to life and love.

So where does the movie go wrong? Sadly, Hollywood generally doesn’t seem to believe that life in general is a good enough reason to, well, live. So the story has become more of a romance (don’t get me wrong, the book is totally a romance too, but the movie is more so). And nowhere is this more apparent than in the final scene.

In the book, Adam comes to her body in the hospital and puts some earphones on her head and plays her some of her favorite cello music. Then he takes the earphones off and starts to speak. In the movie he does the same, but the words are so different. (The following are not exact quotes, just the basic idea.)

Book: I know if you stay you are going to be in so much pain. But there is so much still to live for. You’ve got to live, for all of that. And if, when you wake up, you’re mad at me for convincing you to stay, I will do anything you want me to. If you want me to, I’ll go—if you stay. Just stay. 

Movie: I know it’s gonna be horrible if you stay. But you’re my life. I’ll do anything for you, I’ll move to New York with you (this had been the subject of a huge fight). I’ll go wherever you want to go as long as we’re together

Seriously? I mean, seriously? They missed the whole point! In the book, Adam cared more about Mia living and having a life than he cared about his own happiness. In the movie, it’s all about him. He then proceeds to sing her a song he’s written, which is admittedly nice, but again it’s about his needs, not hers. Ugh. It would have taken the film exactly another ten seconds for Adam to say, “I’ll go if you want me to, as long as you stay.”

So, in case you’ve missed it, here’s what I think Hollywood tends to miss: complexity, morality, self-sacrifice, selflessness. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, and I guess I’m really not. But that doesn’t make it any less disappointing. So quick, tell me some movie adaptations that you think did a great job of capturing nuance, morality, and all-around goodness (but without being preachy). Ready, set, go!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Using That Big Lump On Top of Your Neck



Awhile back I wrote about The Power of Reflection, and today I'd like to expound upon that a little bit more, but from a slightly different angle.

We live in a world of action. We are go, go, go, 24/7, and it seems as if there's this general consensus that if you want to get things done, then you need to act. Act now! Don't wait! Want to learn more? Then read and study! Want to have a tidier home? Then tidy! Want to be a writer? Then write!

While these are all good things to do, there is an essential part of the puzzle that has disappeared from our collective psyche, a part that used to be a common pastime, but has been swept out of our busy culture with smartphones and extracurriculars and to-do lists. And it is this:

THINKING.


Wait, you say. I think all the time! Right now I'm thinking about this blog post! You can't tell me I'm an empty-headed busybody! 

Yes, but when was the last time you just sat and thought, without doing anything else? And I mean, anything else? I'm not talking about thinking when you're lying in bed trying to fall asleep (trust me, that's a terrible time to think), not when you're driving in the car, or making dinner, or exercising. There's nothing wrong with multitasking, especially when it's the only time you have- but then again, if that's the only time you have, there might be something wrong.

When was the last time you just sat still, in a comfortable, quiet place, for the sole purpose of thinking?

For most people, this sounds ludicrous. It feels like a waste of time. But is it?


I love this quotation, because it perfectly illustrates why thinking is so important. So many times when we are facing a problem or dilemma, we immediately search for a solution. We try the first quick fix we find. We google it. We talk to our friends. We look for a book at the library. We espouse a method of trial and error. We hack away at that tree with a dull axe.

But how often do we take the time to actually just think about it?

On Friday I was working in my craft room/office. I had already been through the KonMari process in there of deciding what sparked joy. I had gotten rid of the junk and put the joy-sparkers away, but the room was still a clutter magnet. It hadn't ever "clicked" and I didn't know why. 



So...I thought about it. I stopped trying to clean up and I sat down in the middle of the room and looked around and thought. I thought and thought. I realized it wasn't pretty. I still had all the stuff that sparked joy, but it just wasn't pretty and I didn't know how to make it pretty without taking it all out. 

So then- and only then- I went on Pinterest for some inspiration. I realized that I had figured out the problem, but I still didn't know the solution. I knew where I was, but I didn't know where I was going. And how could I get there if I didn't know where "there" was?

I paged through beautiful craft rooms and I started to get a feel for what I liked and how I wanted my room to look. So I went back into the room and sat.

And thought.

And thought some more.

I mentally rearranged the shelves. Then I mentally rearranged them again, because the first arrangement didn't work. Could I put those books over there? But then where would that stuff go? How about if I moved those supplies over- no, they won't fit. What about over there? That might work. But then what about the other...? Do I need to buy more containers? I don't want to buy more containers. How can I make this work?

It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle in my mind, and I didn't move until I'd worked out a plan. 

The whole plan didn't come together all at once; there were several things I had to physically try to see if they'd work before I could continue. Some worked, some didn't. But I can unequivocally say that I probably saved myself about 10 hours of work and months of disappointment with just those 20 minutes of thinking.


And I now have a beautiful, peaceful space to call my own (and the only I thing I bought was the fitted sheet to cover the futon- the rest was all brainpower!)

Now let's talk about your writing. I know, I know, we say, "Just write! It doesn't have to be pretty! If you want to be a writer, then write!" I still agree with that, but there will come times when writers' block will stop you dead in your tracks, and then what?

If you're like me, you will delicately set your laptop (or notebook, or whatever) to the side and stare at it like it's a rat you just discovered in your sock drawer. You will stomp your foot and complain on facebook. You will grab your computer again and stare at the blinking cursor with contempt and then start to pull your hair out in frustration.

You can do all those things. You have my permission. But when you're done, could also do one more thing?

Think.

Just sit in a quiet, comfortable place. Light a scented candle if you like. Think about your book and your characters. Don't force yourself to solve the problem. Just think about it. Try different options in your mind- don't write them, just give them a mental whirl and see how they feel. Then try some more. Think, think, think. 

You might be surprised at what your brain can do for you. ;-)











Saturday, September 17, 2016

What Makes a Good Critique Partner?

By Lacey Gunter

A good critique partner is worth, maybe not their weight in gold, but perhaps their weight in publishing contracts. =)

So how do you know if you have found a good critique partner? Aside from the obvious of being capable of offering you a critique in a timely manner, here are a few things I recommend looking for:

1. They write in the same genre as you and they are actually pretty good at it. This is a must people. You need someone who can offer feedback that will improve your manuscript, not make it worse. It's okay to have a talented writer outside your genre give feedback on your manuscript. But for a good critique partner, you need someone who is very familiar with the nuances, rules, styles and marketability in your particular genre.

2. They give more than just grammatical feedback.  While grammatical feedback is nice to have, a good critique partner should be more than just a proof reader.

3. They are capable of recognizing and communicating the weaknesses of your manuscript or writing. We all like a good pat on the back. It's nice. But if this is all your critique partner does, then you're wasting your time. By all means, find someone who likes your writing style. Just make sure they are also able to ask the tough questions and challenge you to think harder and write better.

4. They can recognize the strengths in your manuscript or writing as easily as they can the weaknesses.  A good critique partner should be able to find at least one thing about your manuscript that is working and should be willing to also point this out.

5. They can communicate their thoughts to you without being rude or condescending or dashing your hopes. Thick skin is a must in this industry. However, that doesn't mean you have to stick with a critique partner that only knows how to use a dagger.

6. They don't try to solve the problems for you. A good critique partner should respect the fact that this is your manuscript and you are the master of it. It's okay for a critique partner to suggest a good idea now and then, especially when you ask for it. But avoid critique partners who always have to be in the driver's seat of your manuscript.

7. They consider your feedback valuable.  If you want the relationship to last longer than a couple of critiques, make sure to find someone who appreciates your critiquing abilities as well.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembrance and Joy

by Jewel Leann Williams

Fifteen years ago, I was a Communications Operator for a police department (that's fancy talk for "911 operator/police dispatcher). I was at the end of my shift, and an employee from another area in the department came in and said "A plane has just hit one of the Twin Towers." We turned the radio up to hear this sad, interesting piece of news. Then a second plane hit. 

I started answering 911 calls from people freaking out about what was happening on the other side of the country. My department was making preparations "just in case" this was just the beginning of something worse, something nationwide. We didn't really know what we could do, but we made our city as secure as we could at that moment.

Shock, fear, anger---as I finally made it home, hours after my shift was supposed to end, and sat glued to the TV as the towers fell. Knowing that cops and firefighters were sacrificing their lives in that moment, knowing that dispatchers were hearing their friends' last words, their cries for help, their silences..... I couldn't stop shaking. My heart broke for the victims, and broke again for the public safety family that I belonged to.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, a little girl with blue eyes and shiny white-blond angel hair was joining our crazy world. Her parents named her Joy and a truer name was never given. I got to take my place as her Mom when she was 5 years old and from that moment, 9/11 became about something more than loss and shock and even patriotism, it also became about Joy, about hope, life, love, and did I mention JOY?

When I think about the horror that entered our world and took its place in our collective consciousness that terrible morning, I can't help but think about the gift that was given as well. I do not think that Joy's personality and her spirit were by chance. Being around her and experiencing her is the polar opposite of the horrible emotions of the other part of September 11th, 2001. 

Those who know my sweet Joy know that she was truly a gift given to a world that had "stopped turning" to quote the song. Her smile, her care and concern for all she meets, her amazing capacity to show love, and the literal joy that just oozes out of her, are all gifts to us from God, and I am so grateful that I get to be her Mom.

On September 11th of every year, I cry, I remember, and I mourn. But at the same time, I celebrate the life of the young woman I believe was sent to balance that sadness with a little joy of her own.  I also say a prayer of gratitude for this reminder from our Heavenly Father that He will not leave us comfortless. He is ever mindful of His children and even in the midst of tragedy, there is always


Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Power of Story

By Lacey Gunter

I had the privilege of attending a local storytelling festival this week, the Timpanogus Story Telling Festival. I have wanted to attend for a few years and it was as fun and delightful as I expected it would be. The festival features many seasoned story tellers, a good portion of which are also authors, and several young budding story tellers.

One of the stories told was a fable about the origins of storytelling. The story encouraged me to reflect on the role of stories in our personal lives, in our community and in our culture.

Spannende Geschichte. Öl auf Leinwand, Provenienz: Nachlass Clemens von Franckenstein (1875-1942);  
 Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Each of us have our own internal stories we tell ourselves and those around us. They can be as simple as how we learned a certain skill and as complex as a long and bumpy road toward motherhood. They shape who we are and what we become. They affect our outlook and how we interpret and react to interactions with others.

Long before people where commonly able to read and write, the tradition of oral story telling was used to teach and shape the people who heard them and they way they behaved and made choices. These stories had the power to spark strong emotional reactions, help us understand the mysteries in the world around us, transfer vast amounts of practical knowledge, connect people from drastically divergent backgrounds or even lead entire nations of people to war.
 
To understand the importance of stories, one need look no further than the Bible. Suggestions, instructions, rules and commandments are simply not enough to move human nature toward a better way of thinking and acting. God knows this and so do we. It is only through the sharing of historical narratives, allegories, parables, poems and songs that we begin to understanding and internalize the lessons of human nature, the laws of God and the effects of our choices.

Knowing the profound affect stories have on ourselves and our society, how important it is for us as writers to carefully select the stories we listen to, reinforce and share with ourselves, the people around us and society at large. There are far too many story tellers willing to strip us down to our lowest common denominators just to make a quick buck or get a little attention. We need more stories that inspire, uplift, and enlighten. We need stories that encourage us to magnify our better parts. It is our responsibility to write these stories and share them with the world. Writing is more than just a fun hobby. You have the power the change the world. Be sure you're changing it into the kind of place you would want to inhabit.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Yes, But What's the Point?




by Kasey Tross

This week I have been reading a book that's been on my radar for over a year now: "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less," by Greg McKeown (who is Mormon, by the way).

I'm only about halfway through, but it's one of those books that's giving me 'aha moments' on almost every other page. And one of these aha moments made me rethink my writing.

In his book, McKeown tells the story of a journalism teacher who started class by explaining the concept of a "lead:"

"He explained that a lead contains the why, what, when and who of the piece. It covers the essential information. Then he gave them their first assignment: write a lead to a story. 
"Simms began by presenting the facts of the story: 'Kenneth L. Peters, the principal of Beverly Hills High School, announced today that the entire high school faculty will travel to Sacramento next Thursday for a colloquium in new teaching methods Among the speakers will be anthropologist Margaret Mead, college president Dr. Robert Maynard Hutchins, and California governor Edmund 'Pat' Brown.' 
"The students hammered away on their manual typewriters trying to keep up with the teacher's pace. Then they handed in their rapidly written leads. Each attempted to summarize the who, what, where, and why as succinctly as possible: 'Margaret Mead, Maynard Hutchins, and Governor Brown will address the faculty on...'; Next Thursday, the high school faculty will...' Simms reviewed the students' leads and put them aside.  
"He then informed them that they were all wrong. The lead to the story, he said, was 'There will be no school Thursday.'" 

If your reaction is anything like mine, you may be smiling, laughing a little, and raising your eyebrows in awe at how accurately that one sentence nails the exact information the reader needs and wants, despite the fact that it excludes the majority of the specific details that had been outlined. This made me think:

What's the point of my story?

As writers, we are creative people, and we can so easily get caught up and swept away in details: a character description, a personality trait, a plot line, scenery, symbolism, etc. But what we really need to ask ourselves in all of this is: What's the point? What is the main objective you want the reader to take away from your book?

And then when you're writing that character description, ask yourself: is it furthering that objective?

When you're crafting that plot, is it clarifying the objective?

The scenery and the symbolism- how are those contributing to your objective?

It can feel virtually impossible to distill your book- your masterpiece- down to a single objective, but it is oh-so-important. After all, without knowing where you're going, how will you know whether or not you get there?

;-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When Hollywood Gets It Wrong, part 2: Into the Woods



- a post by Jeanna Mason Stay
 
Here’s venting session #1, in which I complain that Hollywood really watered down the moral message of Harry Potter. Now get ready for venting session #2, in which I make the same complaint about Into the Woods. Then stay tuned next time for how Hollywood ruined the message of If I Stay in approximately ten seconds.

Warning: Spoilers for Into the Woods are contained herein. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Let’s start out with something I should have suspected but hadn’t really thought about: Plenty of people have already complained about the Disney film adaptation of Into the Woods. In fact, plenty of people have already complained about the very thing I’m complaining about. They did it so much that one of the actresses and even the director commented on it, both saying they didn’t think it was a big deal. The director makes the most compelling argument for cutting it because of pacing, but I just think he’s still wrong.* So we’re gonna make this short today (that might also have something to do with me being on deadline for a gazillion things and being way behind).

So what am I complaining about? The cutting of the song “No More.” Okay, so a quick recap if you’re not familiar with the story. Into the Woods mashes up a whole bunch of fairy tales, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel. The pertinent character here, though, is the Baker, whose wife has committed adultery then gotten smooshed by a giant, leaving the Baker with a baby to raise (a baby that he and his wife had gone on a huge quest to be able to conceive, by the way). In this song, he is grieving and just wants to run away from his responsibilities. He has a history with this response—his father abandoned him and his mother when things got hard. So when his father appears and, musically, points out all the difficulties with running away, the Baker goes back to his baby and decides to stay.

To me, his father’s words are an important message:

Running away, let’s do it.
Free from the ties that bind.
No more despair, or burdens to bear,
Out there in the yonder.

Running away, go to it.
Where did you have in mind?
Have to take care, unless there’s a “where,”
You’ll only be wandering blind.
Just more questions, different kind.
Where are we to go?
Where are we ever to go?

Running away, we’ll do it.
Why sit around, resigned?
Trouble is, son, the farther you run,
The more you feel undefined.
For what you have left undone, and more,
What you’ve left behind.

Without this song, the Baker pretty much just goes back to his responsibilities without much deep consideration of why it matters. Without this song, we miss the message: Sure, life is hard sometimes, but running away just makes it harder.

You want to know the truth? This message is part of what grounded me in life when I was struggling (in an admittedly very mild case) with postpartum depression. There were times when I thought it would be so much easier to just be gone, but I was blessed to have that inner voice of the Spirit tell me that running away wouldn’t solve anything. I’m so grateful for that.

A reviewer for the Washington Post also complained about this omission, though in my opinion
her review had two faults: 1. She states that the change ruined the movie. I don’t go that far. I think it made the movie less powerful than the stage production, but I don’t think it entirely ruined the thing (which, on the whole, I truly enjoyed). 2. In my opinion, she missed the greater meaning behind the story. She is hung up on a bleak, nihilistic sort of interpretation about how life sucks, but to me, the truth that got weakened in the film version of the story is one of moral courage in the face of despair. It isn’t that life sucks and you just have to get over it. It’s that when we do the hard thing, when we make the decision to stay instead of running, we have power.* At least that’s what I think.

* A personal note: Yes, I know there are times you have to leave. I quit grad school, after all, because it was (as I melodramatically put it) crushing my soul. Abusive situations, truly dangerous places, and such—yes, feel free to run.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Boring Secondary Characters - Line Up Here

By Lacey Gunter

As my kids and I were debating this afternoon about whether a certain character in a book we are reading is about to die in order to save a loved one, my son asked me "Why do characters have to die? Why can't they all just live and be happy?"

It was a simple enough question to answer, and it didn't take much explanation to convince my son that conflict, adversity and challenges make stories interesting and compelling. But reflecting on the question afterward, there seems to be an important life lesson here.

Most of us would like to think of ourselves as the hero or heroine in the story of our life. Perhaps a few might like to be considered as the villain. But none of us wants to be thought of as a boring side character with little importance to the story. Yet in the course of our life we are often prone to ask ourselves, why me? Why do I have to face this challenge? Why did God have to give me this adversity? We may even pray to God and ask, for the challenge to be taken away or easily solved for us. We just want everything to go the way it is supposed to and everyone to just live and be happy. Wow, doesn't that reek of boring secondary character, or what?

So here's where we look to literature for another important life lesson. Stop asking why me, why God please just take this away. Start praying for knowledge, blessings or opportunities to learn that amazing something special about you that will help you overcome your adversity.

I'm not saying we should go chasing down trouble. But at the same time, let's not cower to the margins of our book of life hoping to avoid it. This is your opportunity to grow and demonstrate just how awesome you can be.  Challenges and adversity aren't just what make a great story, they're what make us great. Be the heroine, not the boring secondary character.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

What Do You Create?

by Jewel Leann Williams

I have a new hero. Her name is Sharon Eubank and she is one of the most inspirational women I’ve listened to since Sherri Dew. Heck, dare I blaspheme and say that she inspires me MORE than Sherri Dew? Or maybe they can be the Hawkeye and Black Widow of my own personal Avengers. I don’t know. Maybe I need to watch less Marvel property entertainment. 

Nah.

Anyway, Sister Eubank is the bomb.com. She is currently the director (or is it Director with a capital D?) of LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the church. She has been active in the world as a giver of aid to those in the most desperate need. She has spent much of her life in the trenches. She also has made presentations to the United Nations, to international coalitions, and various other outlets.  She is the epitome of that LDS woman that Spencer W. Kimball prophesied of in 1979, when he said:

“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that they are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways— from the women of the world.”

She is certainly articulate, and I would add fearless and about a hundred other superlative adjectives. I just—I want to add her to my posse of BFF’s because man, I can’t imagine anyone who has her for a friend can do anything but be awesome.  I’m gonna post some links to some of her talks below, just because.

But, this isn’t about her, but just about something she said and how it got me thinking. In one of the addresses I watched, Sister Eubank, my new secret best friend, mentioned a statement made by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf in 2008 General Conference, in a talk titled, “Happiness, Your Heritage”:

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.

Sister Eubank asked a question:  “What do you create when you feel the Spirit of the Lord?” She talked about making a quilt for her nephew, even though she couldn't sew and didn't have the slightest idea how to make the pattern correctly. She learned techniques, picked stitches out and did them again, and muddled along until she got it finished to her satisfaction. It was a labor of love that expressed her love for her nephew, and she was proud of what she'd done. 


In many ways, writing is much like that quilt. Some of us have advanced degrees in writing, and many of us would have advanced degrees in writing if we were writing in college instead of in chairs soaked with what we hope is water because it's now soaking our own trousers by osmosis. Not that that has happened lately or anything.  Many of us have learned and continue to learn the art of writing through trial and error, picking out our missed stitches, so to speak. 

The point is that when we write, we are reaching up and snatching ideas out of the ether and shaping them with words, sentences, paragraphs and pages into something greater than the sum of its parts. Unorganized matter becomes a thing of beauty that can bless other people. It is even more so when we take the time to ensure that we are writing while under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord.

That is no small thing. Remember what President Kimball said above, and then think about your own efforts to be articulate and to use your creative powers to influence the world for good. 




Is it worth it to pick at the stitches of your writing, to mold those words into something again and again, until they become the form you desire of them? Is it worth it to ensure that you are feeling the Spirit when you write (even if it's a story about zombies)?

Well, of course it is! 

Your words can be the words that reach someone's heart and teach them truth. 

Your words can spread the light of Christ. 

It is worth it. Keep creating, keep molding, keep working at it.

Create!


PS here are some of those links: 

talk to read: 

http://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2015_07_14_Eubank.htm

talk to watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5-qncZmvWg    FAIRMormon conference address 18 June 2016 in Sweden. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OasXz7LVRCg   TedxBYU talk, about slowing down

Monday, August 8, 2016

What Writers and Olympians Have in Common





by Kasey Tross

I don't know about you, but I LOVE the Olympics. I just get the biggest kick out of learning about the competitors and watching them do their thing, knowing they're the best of the best in the world. It is absolutely awe-inspiring to me.

Last night I was watching the swimming competition, and they were interviewing one of the swimmers after his race. They asked him something about how he prepared and he talked about things he did when he came to "training every day." It suddenly occurred to me that for these Olympians, their training is like going to work every day. Half the battle for them was just showing up- not once or twice a week, but every. single. day.

And that's how greatness is born.

It's not always about natural talent as much as it is about working really hard. I was really impressed by the story of U.S. swimmer Lilly King. When she was 8 years old she attended a swimming clinic with world-record-setter Janet Evans. King said, "I was the slowest one there." But she worked hard, and last night I watched her win a semifinal in the Olympics! The Olympics, people!

(Funny side story- King said she was so nervous as a kid to meet Janet Evans- just recently, King learned that Janet Evans' daughter Sydney, an aspiring swimmer, is a huge fan of Lilly King's and was nervous to meet her!)

So how are Olympians and writers alike?

If we want to succeed, and we want to be great, we have to show up and work hard. Every. Single. Day.

I am being a total hypocrite as I write this, because I don't write like I should every day. But the Olympics is just reminding me yet again that if I want to succeed, I have to put the work in. There are no shortcuts. Natural talent can only take you so far. The rest requires daily, consistent effort, even when it's hard.

Well, that's the work part of what writers and Olympians have in common- the other part is the fun part. It's the part where we're reaching for our dreams. I think that's the other reason I'm such a huge fan of the Olympics, because how often is it that you get to see someone realize their lifelong dream right in front of you? To watch them achieve the goal they've been working for as long as they can remember? It's a pretty amazing thing, I tell you, and it's an incredible feeling to not only watch it, but to be a part of a group of people who are constantly striving for it.

That's one of the things I love about the writing community. It's great to be around my friends and family and other moms, but there is a different feeling when I am with other writers (even if just online), because I know I'm with a group of people with some of the same dreams and ambitions that I have, and it's thrilling to see others progress and to be able to cheer one another on. Pursuing a dream is a very personal thing, and it's reassuring to know you're not the only one with big goals.

So as you're watching these incredible athletes over the next few weeks, just remember that you're made up of some of the same stuff. You understand goals and hard work, and while you might never go to the Olympics, if you keep working you will have some of your very own gold medal moments to celebrate- and we'll all be right here celebrating with you.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails