What have you learned about writing from your hero?

Do you have that one person in your life who is your greatest champion? I certainly hope so.

Me and my Mom

For me it was my mom. I said goodbye to her two years ago on Easter Sunday. It was the last time I ever saw her. Cancer took her the next day.  I have been thinking about her a lot lately.

Since her death I realize I carry her with me and much of my success can be attributed to her. In my grief I finally got down to writing my book, and finished not one, but two and now on a third.

Parasailing in Key West. She was afraid of water!

But it was my Mom’s many “isms” drilled into me growing up that gave me that foundation to make my dream come true today. I can say confidently, “I am a writer.”  And I know she would be as proud of me as ever and I realize I must be proud of myself for her.

She taught me many things growing up (some I didn’t like at the time ) that I carry on. Do you carry things with you that your hero taught you?

Here are things my mom taught me that translate into my writing life:

The early bird catches the worm = set the alarm early and get up and write.
Always make your bed first thing = don’t procrastinate, get to it!
Never go out of the house with wrinkled clothes = shower and dress like you are going to a real job, Miss Writer.
Polish your shoes = you can never edit enough, it makes your work “shine”.
Stand up straight = be confident about your writing when you talk about it.
Place your napkin on your lap = keep an organized desk.
Clean your plate = don’t give up, eventually you will finish that scene, that chapter, that book.
Polish the silver = make your words pretty. Get rid of those clichés and make it your own voice.
Haste makes waste = don’t rush through your masterpiece. Some parts take longer and more work.
Mind over matter I CAN do this. Me. Yes, I can!
Complaining is a waste of time = if this writing thing wasn’t hard everyone would be doing it. Now get back to work.
Time to move on = something not working? Move on to another scene or project for awhile.
You are #1 = Be kind to yourself first before others. Don’t be so hard on yourself but don’t give up. Be your  own champion.
Eat your veggies = get out that grammar book and make those words ‘right’. It’s not fun but necessary.
And yes, you must vacuum under the bed = at some point you’ll have to clean out the dirt and weed out all the junk in your writing to improve it.

Grammy sure loved her grandson, Joshua

And my favorite saying was the one she would call out early in the morning, even on weekends, “Up and at em’!” For years as a kid I would groan and wonder “Just WHO is this Adam?” But it became my standard greeting for her later in life as I knew I had to call her early in the morning before she was “out and about” for the day.

Are you up and at em’ today with your writing? I am sure trying. But at least I made my bed first thing.

I wish she was here to read my books

My mom also taught me that we learn from the hard things. She encouraged me to take a job out of state once I graduated college so I could experience life, even though she would miss me. I say, that’s about as unselfish as you get. She was always clipping articles to send me for encouragement after I moved away. I laminated this one years ago. It has followed every move to a new house. It’s on the fridge now with a handwritten note from her, “In case you missed this one! Love, Mom”

So you don’t miss it, here it is, in case you need encouragement today:

AFTER AWHILE by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, Not the grief of a child
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
In stead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth,
and you learn and learn…
With every good bye you learn.

Hanging in Hawaii

I feel like these words are what my Mom would tell me today when I feel sad about missing her…”With every goodbye you learn.”

Now go – plant your own garden and decorate it with your own voice.

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5 Comments

Filed under Inspirational

5 responses to “What have you learned about writing from your hero?

  1. Love your blog—and particularly this post! Thank you for sharing….what a tribute to this weekend’s celebration of Moms!
    Keep up the great work—as a Mom would say: “I’m proud of you!”
    Lisa T.

  2. What a great post – thanks for sharing!

  3. Such a great post, Donna. Our moms teach us so much, and it’s so funny that you mentioned your mother’s “isms”. My mom has the same thing, and my brother and I call them her “quippy qwerps”–no, I’m not sure where we pulled that from!

    Your pictures are absolutely beautiful. Keep up the great writing 🙂

  4. What a sweet story. And such a loss for your family, I’m sure. I really enjoyed reading your post, though. Wonderful job.

  5. Randi

    Wow, I never thought when my mom said, “wear clean underwear” she meant…wear clean underwear? Donna, loved your insight into simple things we overlook. It’s amazing how many things our parents say that we don’t realize til later how much they shaped our lives.

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