"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!
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a lifelong resident of Western Mass and an award-winning REALTOR® with Real Living Realty Professionals in Wilbraham, MA. Her background in management, financial services, and social media marketing served as an excellent foundation for her real estate career.
Cheryl is also a freelance writer, children’s author, and editor. A 2005 graduate of Long Ridge Writers Group, she specializes in articles on time management and organization. Her first picture book, Little Shepherd, was released by Guardian Angel Publishing in August 2010. A Christmas Kindness was released by 4RV Publishing in 2012. Ms. Malandrinos has edited numerous manuscripts in a variety of genres and has ghostwritten a Christian chapter book.
So, in other words, Cheryl is your typical busy mom who balances family life and career on a daily basis while seeking to carve out a little bit of “me time.” She and her husband, Paul, have two daughters at home and a son who is married.