My grandparents owned an old Underwood typewriter that my mother used in school during the fifties, and her four sisters used in the sixties and seventies. It was old, durable, and downright tough against all the fingers that tapped its’ keys to complete many a school paper.
When I was twelve years old and announced that I wanted to be a writer, my mother bought me a pink typewriter for Christmas. I don’t recall if it was a Royal or Olympic, but I do recall typing stacks of my handwritten poems onto onion paper to create a booklet for my mother.
That pink typewriter lasted through junior high and high school and has always been a well-remembered placeholder symbolizing when I first became serious about writing.
In fact, placeholders are important to remember as we walk our journey to success because they tell us where we have been and where we are going, and let us know when we have reached our destination.
Where You Have Been
One of the most important things to remember is where you come from. Even if right now you’re churning out novels, stories, or articles left and right and making a living writing, chances are you didn’t start that way. You started where all writers start and faced rejection, and more rejection, probably until you were ready to give up.
For example, Dean Koontz sold the first short story he wrote then received 75 rejections before selling anything again.
Stephen King said that by the time he was fourteen, his rejection slips hung heavy from a nail on his wall. When the nail would no longer hold the rejections slips, he replaced it with a spike and went on writing.
It’s clear these two prolific writers never forgot where they came from and, despite the odds, they kept moving forward.
Where You Are going
It’s important to have a clear picture of where you are going.
If you want to be a writer, then you must write and keep writing. You must use a pen and paper, or open a word processor, and you must write, and keep writing. To do this, it’s a good idea to:
1. Find a quiet place to write
2. Open notebook or laptop, or engage typewriter or desk top computer
3. Cut our all distractions
4. Put butt in chair and write for a specified amount of time each day
If writing isn’t your thing but law is, then you must go to law school and make sure your activities revolve around law. A lawyer never starts off as a lawyer, even if their dad or mom, or uncle, practiced law.
If you want to be a nurse or doctor, you must first complete educational requirements. You don’t just start off as a nurse or doctor, you take steps toward working in your chosen profession.
As you take each step toward where you want to be, keep in mind the path that is helping you travel toward your goals. Each place you have been holds purpose and intention.
Where You Want to Be
Finally, there is that moment in life when you reach the place you want to be. Perhaps you finished law school and decided to practice elder law, or you earned your RN and became an emergency room nurse.
If you had not stuck out all the prerequisites in college to get into law school, or endured all those late-night nursing, you would not be doing what you had set out to do.
Or, after years of enduring rejection slips, you finally sell that story or novel, that leads you to writing more novels and becoming a midlevel or bestselling author.
Had you let those rejection slips knock you down, you would not have met with success so many years later. You would not have reached your goal of honing your craft and finally selling your work.
If I remember correctly, my grandparents donated that old Underwood to the local historical society. As for me, I don’t remember what happened to that old typewriter, but the clickity-clack of the keys in motion is forever embedded in my memory.