Confidence or Foolishness?

I’m finally home from a one-week vacation! And I’m proud to say this pregnant mama survived a 6-hour drive (maybe even more than that with all the potty breaks we had to stop for) both going to our destination and coming back. Plus the baby did NOT come out during the vacation so hooray! hooray! I did make a deal with him, you know. You stay put in there, little mister, but after vacation is over you can come out anytime you want to and we will be ready for you. His first order from mommy and he obeyed! I think this kid is a keeper. 😀

Anyway, I missed all of you. But at the same time, I was glad to be mostly unplugged during the entirety of our much needed R&R. I say mostly because apparently, I didn’t have the willpower to stay totally unconnected (must check email…just a peek, I swear). We had a very pleasant time and the best part was I didn’t feel overwhelmed. It was all about relaxation and family bonding. And I got to take naps, read two books and a friend’s manuscript, and eat yummy, yummy food without cooking! WIN!

The kids’ favorite activity was swimming. No surprise there, right? Actually, for both my 8-year-old and 4-year-old, this was a vast improvement from last year. They had taken swimming lessons prior to our vacation, and while my 8-year-old girl can now swim on her own, my 4-year-old boy only THINKS he can swim on his own. Last summer, they were both afraid to put their faces in the water or to stray too far from the shallow end. This summer, they were diving off to retrieve dive toys from the bottom of the pool.

That’s all fine and dandy, especially when daddy’s nearby to rescue them if they needed help. But my little boy is overly confident. He thinks he can swim without any help. No wait, he BELIEVES he can swim on his own. So all of a sudden, we had a slippery fish on our hands (well, I didn’t go swimming, so poor daddy had to handle the boy by himself). Which meant, we had to watch him EVERY. DARN. SECOND. You couldn’t take your eyes off him because he would just jump off without warning–arms scooping water wildly, legs kicking, his chin tilting briefly to breathe and then he’d go under again…only he couldn’t keep it up for very long so he’d end up sinking in a matter of seconds. My boy knows the basics of swimming–unfortunately, what he’s lacking is proper execution. But you know, he’s only 4, and he’s only had two summers of swimming lessons. He’ll get it by next year. Or the year after that.

Still, I was both amazed and scared by his abundance of CONFIDENCE. Or was it FOOLISHNESS? Maybe it’s a mixture of both. It kinda reminded me of my days as a newbie writer. We probably have similar stories to tell. You know, that first instance when you decided you wanted to write a book. There was probably a little apprehension, but that was quickly swallowed by enthusiasm. Oh yeah, this story idea is the most epic ever! Then you wrote with abandon–places and characters coming to life on your computer screen. Never mind that you started with a prologue that had nothing to do with the beginning of the story. Never mind that every dialogue tag was a synonym of “said” and duly accompanied by an adverb to reinforce what the character was feeling at the moment. Never mind that you were info-dumping left and right.

This was your story, and 150,000 words later, you knew you were a writer. No, you believed it. So much so that you immediately decided to send it off to a literary agent or a publishing house.

Okay, so this is a bit exaggerated. I didn’t write 150K, nor did I send the first draft to any agent or publisher. It was the SECOND draft, and I mailed them a query letter, not the manuscript. Even I wasn’t as stupid as that back then. Thankfully for me, I learned quickly. I only sent 3 queries before realizing my first manuscript was total crap. My query was crap, too. Heh.

Like my 4-year-old boy who fearlessly threw himself in the water, we writers need to have confidence, but not too much so we don’t drown. We may know the basics, but it takes time and effort to master execution. And lots of drafts and revisions.

My boy will learn how to swim, and how to do it well. So what if it doesn’t happen right away? As long as he continues to love the water, and keeps up with his lessons, I have no doubt he’ll make it. After all, the very first day of vacation he came up to me and declared: Mommy, I’m going to be a great swimmer. I believe him.

And you can be a great writer, too. Just keep on writing.

Photo by ~ezs’

8 thoughts on “Confidence or Foolishness?

  1. What a cute comparison! And so true. There is nothing like realizing with that first manuscript (as sucky as it may have been) that you can do this.I'm sure your little man will be swimming in no time:)

  2. surviving your long drives while pregnant was a great accomplishment! and glad you had a nice time and practice is key to being great at anything!

  3. Aw, this is so cute 😀 Your family vacay sounds awesome, btw! Hope you had a blast, Sparkles! And yes, I was a foolish first-time writer–every stupid mistake was mine to claim as brilliance :/ LOL

  4. Just like with swimming, you dive into the deep-end and pray that you remember everything right. That you do everything right. So that you can keep your head above the water. Yep, so many ways that swimming can be used as a good comparison to writing.I'm glad you got to enjoy your vacation. And I hope you had an awesome weekend and that you have a fantastic Monday. 🙂

  5. A good vacation always lets us go back to the same old routine feeling rejuvenated. We all need one every so often.And my first ms was like 400,000 words long and snagged me an agent. Unfortunately, he didn't know what he was doing and neither did I!

  6. So true. I think I'm one of the few people who went into the writing gig knowing what I'd need to do. So I was pretty much dipping my toe in first to see how I liked it. :-PStill, there are sometimes these aspiring authors that go: "Wow. This is for Oprah." or "The agents will fight over this." They really just make me laugh.

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