I spoke to more than a thousand kids a day at the Youngstown State University English Festival for three days at the end of March. I saw them in “smaller” groups throughout the day, then gave a final presentation to everyone before they went home. It was a life-changing experience to be in a room with a thousand kids who were completely stoked about books and reading and writing. I adored all of them… and their teachers who worked very hard to prepare them for the experience.
I signed books for about three hours each day. Several times the organizers had to cut the line short so that I could give my next presentation. A girl named Faith was crushed when she made it to the front of the line (after waiting an hour) only to be told that she would have to wait until after the presentation. (I had already snuck several kids past the organizers and was pushing the limit in a big way.) The look on her face slayed me, so I wrote her name on my arm and swore a holy oath that as soon as I was done talking, I would find her and sign her books.
Which I did.
Faith was patient and mature and responded beautifully to a situation that she was not happy with. I will always remember her. Having the word “Faith” written on my arm at the end of the three-day festival summarized perfectly my relationship to my work and to my readers. (The photo above was taken shortly after I signed Faith’s book.)
“Art glows with faith even in its weakest parts. At every moment, writing is an act of self-confidence – the sheerest, most determined, most stubborn self-belief. You CAN have faith and doubt at the same time; the most insecure writer on the planet has faith that shines just as bright as her doubt, and she deserves props for that. It might be hidden deep, she might not feel it and you might not see it, but it’s in there, or she wouldn’t be able to write.”
Today’s prompt: What is it about your writing that you want to give up on? What causes you to think of quitting? Who would be happier if you stopped writing? Who would be crushed? How will your life change if you quit? Make a promise to that scared part of yourself that is having doubts. Write down that promise and put it where you can see it daily.
Scribble… scribble… scribble…