Saturday, September 26, 2009

Motivational Quote #31

"Have confidence in yourself, and you can lick anything." - Pa to Laura in These Happy Golden Years

This might seem like an unusual source for a motivational quote, but pioneers, out of necessity, were forced to persevere against seemingly insurmountable odds. In The Long Winter, which is two titles in the timeline ahead of These Happy Golden Years--the Ingalls family and other members of De Smet, SD are forced to pull together during the Hard Winter, when months of blizzards--sometimes only a day or two apart--kept the trains from reaching the town until spring. Eventually supplies ran low or were entirely depleted, leaving families close to starvation.

Fans of the books learn how Caroline (Ma) Ingalls makes a lamp out of a button and some grease. They feel the pain of raw hands as the Ingalls family endlessly twists hay into knots to feed the fire and their muscles ache as they read of the constant churning of the coffee mill that grinds wheat grain for bread.

After reading The Long Winter, you feel inspired by how everyone pulled together to survive until supplies came through on the first train in spring.

But I digress--as my love for Little House tends to make me do. The quote above is part of a conversation between Charles (Pa) Ingalls and Laura, who is on her way to teach at the Brewster settlement. Laura is not quite sixteen, and this is her first job away from home. She is scared about her ability to teach and maintain order since she has never taught before and because she is very small. As part of this exchange, Pa reminds Laura of the time a blizzard came up while Caroline and he were away, and Laura (if I remember correctly she had Mary's help) brought the entire woodpile inside the house so they would stay warm.

"Success gets to be a habit, like anything else a fellow keeps on doing," Charles says to his daughter. Then he reminds Laura of the woodpile incident and tells her, "That's the way to tackle things!...Have confidence in yourself, and you can lick anything."

These are very wise words for writers to keep with them. The thought of success being a habit might seem strange, but I believe it's true. Successful writers continue along their paths to success because they remain focused on their goals and religiously work to obtain them.

Our feelings of self-doubt and fear of failure zap our confidence. It is easy to retreat into a world ruled by our fear that we can never obtain our writing goals, even the smallest of them. Don't allow that to happen. Be confident that you can lick anything. Persevere like the townsfolk of De Smet, SD during the Hard Winter. While your very survival likely doesn't depend upon it, achieving your dreams of being published, do. And as Charles Ingalls said to his insecure young daughter, having confidence in yourself is "the only way to make other folks have confidence in you."

You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Motivational Quote #30

I am so bad. I saved this two days ago and never posted it. I was kind of busy, though, finishing edits to a manuscript and playing mommy.

If you've never read anything by or about Dale Carnegie, then you might not realize how amazing and inspiring he was. The son of a farmer, he was a traveling salesman and an actor before he began teaching public speaking at a YMCA In New York City.

Due to the popularity of his classes, Carnegie standardized his teaching methods and put them into pamphlet form, which he later collected into a book. His most popular title, How to Win Friends and Influence People--a title I've read--was published in 1936.

One man's vision has turned into an entire performance-based training company with offices worldwide.

Carengie's achievements are enough to inspire anyone, so it's not surprising that his quotes pop up here from time to time. When I saw this one the other day, I immediately fell in love with it and wanted to share it with all of you.

"All life is a chance. So take it! The person who goes furthest is the one who is willing to do and dare." - Dale Carnegie

So often as writers we doubt our abilities. We create excuses for why we can't focus on our dream of becoming published authors. Carnegie says it so well. "All life is a chance." He's so right. We can't always predict the outcome of things, but sure won't get anywhere if we don't try.

No one will ever accuse me of being a risk taker, but when it comes to my writing, I want to make it happen...most of the time. I am willing to take a risk here and there to make it work.

What is it that stops you from being the person who goes the furthest? Why are you afraid to do and dare? And are you ready to live with the consequences of your inaction?

Remember, you have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Remembering September 11th

c) 2001 The Record, (Bergen County, NJ).

Just as those who are old enough to remember where they were when they heard of John F. Kennedy's assasination, people of our generation can vividly recall what they were doing when radios and televisions shared reports of the Twin Towers being struck.

I was home with my month-old daughter, still on maternity leave. The phone rang and my husband asked me to turn on the television to let him know what news stations were saying. He was at work and gaining access to the Internet was almost impossible with so many people trying to find out the latest details of what was happening in New York.

When news came of the attack on the Pentagon, I called my husband back and immediately felt that we were at war.

I would find out later, that my brother-in-law was supposed to be at the World Trade Center that morning, but at the last minute his meeting was changed to an alternate location. Our family was spared...but many others were not.

As our country honors those whose lives were lost on that fateful day, I personally hope that the many families affected by this horrible tragedy have begun the road to healing; that they have found some way to carry on after the unexpected loss of their loved ones; and that they may know the peace and comfort only God can provide.

God Bless America!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The President's Speech and Our Writing

President Obama delivers a speech on education at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., Tuesday. (AP Photo)

This week, President Obama delivered a speech that was telecast to America's school children. I watched the speech and I got to thinking that the President's words could apply to other situations and environments. In fact, I knew it could also be applied to writing.

While I am going to paraphrase, you'll get the meaning of what President Obama was saying. We can have schools with teachers, parents and the government working to make them the best, but it is the child's responsiblity to stay in school, make the grades, set goals and reach for his dreams. Ultimately, the responsiblity remains with the student.

And so it is with your writing. You can attend the best writer's conferences, participate in the most helpful critique groups, and read hundreds of books on how to hone your craft, but it is up to you whether or not you have the writing career you desire. You have to use what is offered to you to the best of your ability and make it happen.

When I tell people I'm lazy, they laugh at me. How can someone who is so busy, be lazy? But when it comes to my writing, I am. Why? Because being published isn't what motivates me. Being creative, writing down my thoughts, and reading good books is what motivates me more than anything. With five blogs, the articles I put together for Writer2Writer, and the occasional fan fiction story I dabble in, I reach most of those goals. Add in the books I review, and I'm all set.

And honestly, I'm much better at motivating others than myself. I enjoy cheering people on and helping them improve their work. Someone has just asked me to be her writing coach and help keep her focused on a project that needs to be completed quickly. I jumped at the chance.

In all things, we must be honest with ourselves and admit what it holding us back. We have to realize that no matter what, you are responsible for putting into motion the things that will turn you into a published author.

You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day!

Here's to all of the workers who have and continue to make a difference in the American way of life. For a brief history of Labor Day, visit

Happy Labor Day!