I have been reading children’s literature all my life. It’s only been the last two years that I’ve started trying to write it. I consider myself an experienced reader and a beginning writer. Because of this, I’ve developed a mentor/protégé relationship…with myself. I imagine it’s a pretty common occurrence.
“You’re a genius!” says the mentor in me. “This book is destined to become a classic!” And the writer smiles and types furiously while the muse is still nearby.
But soon (sometimes within minutes), the mentor has changed her tune.
“This book is garbage. You’ll never amount to anything as a writer. Your time would be better spent cleaning the fridge.” [sympathetic “wah-wah” from a single trombone]
At times like this, the mentor would do well to remember words from her own hero, her great-uncle Wilbur Braithwaite. Wilbur was a writer of poetry and music who also happened to be veteran of World War II, a state-champion coach in multiple sports over a 50-year career, and a mentor to hundreds of high school athletes. In this article, he listed the following as one of his “Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Coaching”:
So the lesson, I think, is this: Be kind to yourself, believe in yourself, and then remember #10 from Wilbur’s list:
That’s the advice I’m giving my protégé today.