Monday Musings

Before getting to my musings, I want to put out a quick reminder that this Friday, February 28th is the deadline for submitting your critique. Head over here for detailed instructions. Don’t forget you must first register for our conference, Spring: Nature’s Revised Draft. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there! It’s going to be a good one!

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The XXII Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia came to a close yesterday. I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of an Olympics junkie. Not enough to watch curling at any length – though I did give it a quick look – but enough for me to watch sports that I rarely pay attention to.

Every athlete in Sochi is an inspiration. More than possessors of sheer athletic talent, each are a testament to what it takes to succeed: tenacity, hard work, focus and, most importantly, passion. But while they share similar traits, their experiences are different. Some shoot to the top quickly, nabbing a gold medal as a teenager, like American skier Mikaela Shiffrin.

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(courtesy tdn.com)

Others are repeat olympians who finally get a medal on their third try, which is what veteran Italian figure skater Carolina Kostner did when she captured bronze.

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(courtesy canada.com)

And most likely a majority hoped to score a personal best without much expectation of standing on the podium. While no medal was ever hung around their necks, they will forever wear the shroud of accomplishment across their shoulders.

All of this got me to thinking about our varied journeys as writers and illustrators.The road is a hard and often circuitous one. It can be excessively meandering for some or just a couple of turns from landing a book deal for others.

We have our teenage phenoms, like S.E. Hinton who at the age of seventeen gave us the classic THE OUTSIDERS.

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And we have the beloved Laura Ingalls Wilder. She didn’t publish her first book – LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS – until she was sixty-five years old.

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So, what am I driving at? It reminded me to be inspired and encouraged by those who have busted their backsides to achieve their dreams – no matter when that happens and I urge you to do the same. Don’t be discouraged when you hear about that 65 year old who finally sold a book and think “That’s too long to wait!” And don’t scoff at the high schooler who lands a book deal, refusing to take her or him seriously. 

Think about what your childhood would’ve been like if Laura Ingalls Wilder gave up and never wrote her Little House series. And how many people would be denying themselves and others the brilliance of S.E. Hinton if they blew off her classic work because of her tender age?

I remember Carolina Kostner as a gangly young skater who withered in comparison to the likes of Michelle Kwan, whom she competed against. Yet look at her now – she is a lovely swan on the ice that has won multiple titles and is now an Olympic Medalist. I am glad she hung in there and fought for her dream.

And I am so grateful that Olympic Champion Mikaela Shiffrin is such a young star. Otherwise, I would never have come across her tweet just when I needed it most – “The sacrifices are nothing compared to a dream dying- keep your dreams alive, give them all of your soul and #createyourownmiracle.” Such wisdom for one so young.

Happy writing and illustrating everyone! Create that miracle.

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About Susan Mannix

Susan worked as a biomedical research editor for the Department of the Navy for fourteen years and has been a member of SCBWI since 2007. She writes young adult and middle grade novels. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time doing all things horses, including attending her teenaged daughters’ many competitions. Susan lives in Maryland on a small farm with her husband, two children, an adorable black lab, two cats, and three horses.
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2 Responses to Monday Musings

  1. Mike Crowl says:

    Susan, thanks for this inspiring post! First though… don’t knock it til you try it. I went Curling in Laurel, Maryland with a bunch of rowdy Canadians once, and it was a blast. It was goofy, but it sure was fun at the same time. Maybe the coolers full of Moosehead helped, I don’t know. Anyway, I had no idea that Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when she sold her first book. I’m a 51-year-old guy, so I do often raise the question of whether I’m just too old for this market. Luckily, my brain is not quite as old as I am, and also there are many other examples of folks who, like me, are just stepping into the writing world a little later on than S.E. Hinton (Likewise, I didn’t know that was a 17-year-old girl) and hoping for the best. I do have a day job, but I also consider writing more than just a hobby. I will stand on that podium someday. I just hope that when I am finally standing there, I’m still able to remember why I climbed up there in the first place.

  2. Susan Mannix says:

    Hi Mike! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I actually said the other day that I think curling would be a lot of fun to play. And hey, a full cooler can make anything bearable, right? 🙂 Never give up your dream and keep writing! The podium awaits you!

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