This week my kids go back to school. And while I mourn the passing of another summer (gone so fast!) with its relaxed routine, I can’t help but look forward to the more structured days ahead. Days when, in a quiet house, I can be pretty sure I’ll get some solid writing accomplished.
On the other hand, days of writing will inevitably bring moments of discouragement because writing doesn’t always go the way I want it to go. That’s when I need a boost to remind me why I stick with it. An occasional dose of encouragement to keep me flying high.
I recently received such a dose from a most unexpected source: an old college friend with whom I had reconnected. After graduating from Whitworth John moved to Texas, where he became a city planner and, for fun, a high performance race car instructor (reminding of the old bumper sticker: I don’t drive fast, I fly low). When I told him I had become a writer, he commented:
“Writing is something that transcends our own lives and reaches out to others both today and in the future. The written word is so powerful…and such a comfort to others. Those who read instead of watching TV are so much richer for it. As much work as it is, know you make a difference with every story you tell. And that the story need not always be profound to move people.
“I bet there are times that you feel like you are just on a plateau…much less exciting than going up to the peak and down to the valley. The process is like that in so much of life, isn’t it? With students at the racetrack, the excitement of learning the easy stuff often wears off as they become intermediate students. I find myself telling them that learning is like a series of steps…they may not see the progress but they are building the basis for the next breakthrough with every action they take, no matter how subtle. I remind them to take pleasure in the details rather than the giant leaps forward.
“We could all use a few more reminders of those good things we have all done in the past so that we remember why it really makes a difference to keep doing them now. I hope you will remember how much one person can influence another (and that, for the most part, you will never know what role you might have played for someone else).”
Who knew a racing instructor could have so much to say to a writer? I liked this reminder especially: to take pleasure in the details rather than the giant leaps forward. Ah yes. If only I could remember that on a moment-to-moment basis. My writing (and my life) would be so much the richer for it.
John’s insights uplifted me. So much so that I felt selfish keeping them to myself. So thank you, John, for allowing me to share them here with my readers. Your words gave me so much more than mere encouragement. They gave me wind beneath my wings.
Readers, when have you experienced encouragement from an unexpected source? What words have helped you fly high?