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The Writing Journey – Smile No Matter What!

by Donna L. Rich

My last speaking engagement was with the Optimists Club, and they asked me to speak on my writing journey. Since they were optimists, I had to tell them about smile no matter what.

When I was a kid, my mother always told me to smile no matter what, and I did just that – even when it hurt.

The Maypole in Franke Park consisted of a steel pole that shot up into the air as high as I could see. On the top of the pole was this little revolving thingy onto which were fastened six chains. A group of three bars were situated crosswise at the bottom of each chain and the bars were set quite high. I remember them being top-of-the-head high.

Children grabbed ahold of one set of bars and began running in a circle. After the speed picked up, the momentum lifted everyone’s feet from the ground into the euphoria of whizzing around that pole in mid-air. But I couldn’t ride it because I was too short.May Pole - Donna Rich

I visualized the first day I’d ride on it – flying high with the other kids – and before I knew it, I had grown. Summer vacation had come, we trekked to the park, and I headed for the Maypole. On my first try I kept up with all the others as I began my charge around that pole, and gravity lifted my feet up into the air. The next thing I knew, my sweaty hands slipped from the bars, and I skidded about five feet across pea gravel that covered the playground. I tried to smile.

I was in pain, humiliated, and disappointed in myself that I fell. Others mastered it, why couldn’t I? The bad thing was I lived in the day of methylate – that orange stuff in the brown bottle that they said only stung for a little while. My parents took me home, picked out what gravel they could, wiped away the blood, and made a massive sweep of methylate on the backs of both legs from the knees up to the trunk of my body while I tried to remember to smile no matter what.

I love writing, but it can be downright painful sliding across that pea gravel of manuscript rejection. It only hurts for a little while. Thank the Lord that the calm healing balm of his Word heals much better than methylate.

It takes more than one time of trying to ride the Maypole of the author’s life. The bar has been set high by many excellent writers. Nevertheless, with a little bit of growing, you may reach or set a higher bar. Remember to allow a little time to heal, but don’t stop trying.

God has infused us with tremendous potential. Sometimes, we’re not quite ready for the Maypole, but we have to keep trying. The potential is there, but we have to keep working at it until our potential is realized. Don’t give up. Your day to fly high is coming.

Be blessed!
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men.

Donna Rich
Donna L. Rich is a member of ACFW and writes contemporary and historical romance. She and her husband live in Huntington, Indiana, and adore their beautiful blended family of six married children, seventeen grandchildren, and soon to be four great-grandchildren. Her third book, Love for the Right Reasons released in March from Heartsong.

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7 Responses to The Writing Journey – Smile No Matter What!

  1. Your blog post is timely for me. Your words, “Sometimes, we’re not quite ready for the maypole,” along with the scripture “working for the Lord, not for men” made my day. Sometimes it is the self-talk we are trying to beat, which can be worse than any other.

    Thank you.

  2. What a great story.

    And a great reminder. Waiting, growing, failing…all painful things. But well worth the pain and the effort when you finally master the task. We all kept on trying to walk after we fell, over and over, and before we knew it we were not just walking but running.

    Did you ever try the Maypole again?

  3. Donna Rich says:

    Ha, ha! Yes, Sally, I did. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Oh, Donna, I do remember those Maypoles! You did try and I bet you succeeded with that thing in time. Just as you have succeeded with your writing, but your analogies are so apt. Besides keeping a smile, we also need to avoid that ‘comparison’ thing with a passion! Thanks for your post.

  5. Beth Steury says:

    Great post, Donna! It’s so important to push ourselves to not give up, to keep picking out that “pea gravel” and forge ahead!