Last week at Write On! Summer Camp, we were lucky to have a visit from Mette Ivie Harrison. Mette has five children, is a triathlete, and writes novels. Lots of them. How does she do it all? I don’t know–but she does it. When I had my first daughter, motherhood was all encompassing. Every dream I’d ever had was put on a shelf in favor of stocking the diaper bag. But I think it is possible to be a good mom and still pursue your own interests. Mette personifies this. While we sold her books, she offered inspiration for the young (and not so young) writer. Here are a few highlights:
- Your book not only has to be good, it has to be better than everything else out there. It has to be good enough for an editor to put their job on the line to publish you.
- I wrote twenty novels before my first novel was published. Twenty. Writing is a great exercise in never giving up.
- I’ve been in several writer’s groups through the years. Looking back, each one of those writers that stuck faithfully to the writer’s group and took suggestions to heart has been published.
- If you want to be good at something, do it everyday. I write 5,000 words a day. Everyday.
- If you want to write, you have to decide what in your life you are going to give up to be a writer. I write at 5:00 a.m.
- Simply put, you just have to work harder than everybody else. If you work harder than everybody esle, you will be published. You just will.
She brought one of her daughters with her on her visit. We let her sit in the author chair next to her mom. They are writing a play together this summer for the girls in their neighborhood. At the end of her visit, I invited her daughter to stay and join our class. She stayed and liked it so well she came back the rest of the week. Mette waited for her outside our classrooms. She sat at our registration tables with her lap top–writing her 5,000 words for the day. It was a cool visual–an author writing her novel at writing camp. A mom who also writes. A writer making time and space for her daughter to grow too. I liked it very much.