Saturday, December 10, 2011

If You Just Believe

I love the holidays.  Once the new school year begins,  I'm already thinking ahead to the holidays...October with the lovely changing leaves on the trees and trying to decide just what I'm going to wear for Halloween.  There is a crispness in the air that quickens my step and prepares my mind for the days ahead. November brings Thanksgiving and with it a chance to gather with friends and family as I cherish those closest to me.

But it's Christmas time that I love the most.  I wait like a child all year long for that sense of wonderment to return as I prepare for a month long celebration.  If I'm lucky I will see snow fall on Christmas Eve and feel the crunch of the flakes under my boots.  I will take my sister on a tour of the holiday lights twinkling around the city while we listen to Christmas songs on the radio.  Later we will return to my house for hot chocolate and a holiday movie.  December brings with it a chance to make new holiday memories while still allowing me to reconnect with the traditions of Christmases past.  But there is a new tradition that I have started this holiday that will hopefully bring me comfort and joy for many years to come.

After many years of silence, I have returned to writing.  Now, more than ever, the words of stories yet to be written call to me...urging me to get it all down on paper before I forget.  But it also makes me wonder sometimes if I'm ready for the challenge.  My heart tells me to write for children and young adults.  My mind says it is a very demanding task to create something in today's world that will stand the test of industry critics and today's readers.  Yeah, I could slap something together and probably find some online "publisher" to put my story out there.  But I'm a perfectionist and I expect more from myself than that.  And so there are moments since I have started writing again when I think to myself, "Can I learn what it takes to be not only a good writer, but a GREAT one?  Will I be able to write something one day that will bring a smile to a child's face, comfort a fear, or encourage a dream?"

I was listening to the radio the other day, enjoying the latest round of Christmas tunes, when a song by Josh Groban started playing.  "If You Just Believe" was originally intended to remind children...and adults...that the magic of Christmas is very real if one is willing to just believe in the possibility that such a thing can exist.  But when I heard him sing that chorus, it flashed in my mind that those words can ring just as true for a writer like myself.  I like to believe that I have a talent that can be cultivated in order for me to create stories that others may enjoy one day.  Now I just need to believe that this talent, if I work hard at sharpening it, will be the foundation by which I become that GREAT writer I would like to be someday!  

So my new tradition this holiday season is to lay aside any self-doubt in my writing ability, especially at Christmas time, and let the wonderment of the season spill over into my stories.  I will sift through my PB ideas like a child rattling a Christmas gift, trying to determine what is inside, and choose the brightest ones from the group to work on.  I will write, rework, revise and polish each nugget until it outshines any bauble on my tree and then I will BELIEVE that there is a home out there in the great big world for my creation.  What a wonderful tradition that can be enjoyed all year long!

What will YOU believe in today?  What new writing traditions will you create for yourselves this holiday season?


  1. An inspirational post Donna! I love this special time of year to. I feel as though you have been looking inside my head for I to want to believe I have that special talent to bring a smile to a childs face by reading something that I wrote. I think there will be many like you and I, that will be sifting through their ideas and readying themselves for the next challenge in the New Year.... ahhh yes I believe, I believe......

  2. Thanks, Diane, for your kind words! I always told my son as he was growing up to experience this time of year as a way to give back for all the blessings he had received. To reach beyond the bright lights and pretty bows; giving the gift of encouragement to those around him. Now that he is all grown up and living on his own, I guess I'm looking to remind myself to continue to help others, even if it is just with a encouraging word to remind them to believe in themselves as much as other do!

  3. Beautifully inspiring post, Donna! Thank you! And yes, believe in yourself and continue to do so, believe in your ability to craft stories that will touch children (and their adults). Your writing will be a gift for you to open daily, and will become a gift for others to open and delight in.

    I am so enjoying opening each little "idea gift" that I wrapped for myself in my PiBoIdMo file, and each day looking for the potential in that day's unwrapped gift.

    Beth of

  4. Thank you, Beth, for your encouraging words. I'm so glad I joined PiBoIdMo...I have discovered so many new friends...such as yourself...Christmas came early for me this year!

  5. What a wonderful, inspiring post Donna. You have expressed so articulately exactly the things that go through my mind as well. If your stories are as good as your posts, your writing will shine :) And while you're polishing and perfecting etc., remember what someone (I can't remember who) said (probably not exactly this way :)) - the difference between a writer who is published and a writer who is not is that the published writer never gave up! Good luck with all your projects and looking forward to being involved with 12X12 with you in the coming year!

  6. Susanna, my blogs are the written reflection of the person I truly am. I feel my story ideas are strong, but I am a beginner writer who is trying to learn this craft as quickly as I can in order to make my words even stronger. If belief alone could be enough, I would be published by I'm no stranger to hard work so I say..."BRING IT ON!" ;0)