For the last couple of weeks, my niece has stayed with us. One of her favorite games to play is a card game called Rats. The game has wonderful illustrations of cartoon rat characters doing silly things and standing by giant cheese numbers. Each player attempts to collect all the cards in the deck, whoever does is the winner.
My sister prefers I keep my niece’s identity a secret. So from now on, I’ll call my niece, Princess Cadence, her favorite My Little Pony.
Princess Cadence is 7 years-old. Somewhere along the line she heard the term card shark. In typical kid fashion, she shortened that down to “shark.” As we played the game and her pile of cards grew she began asking if she was a shark. We assured Princess Cadence, that she was a shark.
A few days later, she and I were playing an intense game of Rats. Slaps (on the table and a part of the game) and laughter could be heard anywhere in the house. Princess Cadence had a huge pile of cards. She looked at Auntie’s small stack and announced I was a crayfish and she was a shark; a running joke was born.
The next day tiredness prevented her from doing well. Her concentration was like a bubble; there one second, popped and gone the next. When she complained that I was a shark and she was a minnow, I suggested that she need to think like a shark.
A strange look crossed her face.
We continued to play and I discovered a shift had occurred. She became present in the moment, focused, and quick on the slaps. Her pile was growing and mine was shrinking — quickly! Flashing a grin at me she asked, “Am I being sharky now?” I assured Princess Cadence that she was being very sharky. Before we go on, you should know she came back to win the game, and not because I took it easy on her. My niece is sharky!
This got me thinking. When fatigue, frustrations, roadblocks, negativity, or unbelief creep in, why are we so slow to escape their grasp? Princess Cadence beat me soundly by changing her thinking, by being sharky.
Believe In Yourself
I know as writers we face many obstacles. Sometimes the first and most important obstacle is me. I can’t accomplish anything if I don’t believe in myself. Starting today, I’m telling myself I can carry out my dream!
Make A Realistic Plan
Closely followed by me, is the obstacle of those closest to us. It’s wonderful if family and friends support your dream, but often times they don’t.
My parents, sister, and niece are very supportive of my writing. Many of my oldest and dearest friends are also supportive. Having this support system in place is truly a blessing because there are days I need their strength to remember that my dream isn’t silly, stupid, unrealistic, or unachievable.
Despite having a group who wants me to succeed, there is another group in my life that doesn’t believe in me. Sadly, some members of this group are my own extended family. You see, I’m not the anointed writer in the family, and so I can’t possibly be a writer, or so they think. Through comments, conversations, and by their sheer lack of support they’ve expressed their displeasure many times. I share this not to gain pity, but to point out that no matter what the nay-sayers think or say, it really is up to me to dream and to turn that dream into a reality.
I’ve read many popular bloggers who recommend telling family and friends “I am a writer,” or whatever it is you’re dreaming of becoming. At first I thought it was a silly idea. Now I see the wisdom of it.
So what happens when I believe but no one else does? The first thing I needed to realize is that there are others out there like me. I had to find them!
Since my goal is to write, I’ve looked for groups that support and encourage writers. One group that I’ve gotten a lot of help from is NaNoWriMo. Their community is a mix of unpublished writers, young and old, and more experienced published writers. Camp started July 1 at 12:00:01 a.m. in your time zone. Fingers across the globe began flying over keyboards, pens scrawled words across paper, and everywhere writers wrote.
It’s wonderful to realize how many other people are out there working on their goal at the same time I’m working on mine. It’s comforting to know that as I sit here in the glow of my laptop, with a cup of coffee, tapping keys on the keyboard, pouring out my heart, there are thousands of others doing the same thing. Each time I take part I try to make new connections with other writers. Last camp I made several new friends, we’ve kept in touch and are always encouraging each other with our writing and editing efforts.
Embrace My Sharkyness
Once I set my goal, it was time to embrace my sharkyness. Embrace what? You read that right; embrace sharkyness. Sharks believe they can slap the matching cards first, they believe they will collect all the cards and win! Sharks know they are intense, fast, brave, and clever game players. A shark never questions their purpose; success is theirs!
Thinking sharky thoughts made Princes Cadence believe she could win.
What Does That Mean For Me?
I must unquestioningly believe my dream is achievable and assure myself that I am good enough, smart enough, clever enough, and brave enough to succeed. Knowing there are people who will support me and that I just have to find them is reassuring. I have to remember that through planning and hard work I can do anything!
My new mantra is: I am sharky!
I’d love to hear what steps you’ve taken toward achieving your dreams. Is something holding you back? What is it? I look forward to learning from you.