Need a good kick in the butt?

A couple of this week’s blogs had a few messages of inspiration, and overcoming obstacles, which I hope helped the writer, the poet, the artist, the mother, the accountant and anyone who needed a dose of “can do.”

“Encouragement, keep plugging away, keep on keeping on, never give up, and perseverance” were a few of the affirmations that were offered in comments throughout the blog and I thank you for sharing.

Even when we’re scared or doubtful in our work, or trying to ignore the naysayers, we should remember that there will be bumps along the way. However, we need to harness our strength (because we know it’s inside us) to get over the hurdles and go after our dreams.

Writer Amy Tan did.

I wanted to share an article that I found about Ms.Tan, and the beginning of her illustrious writing career.

The Manager Who Couldn’t Write
By Gary Sledge
from Reader’s Digest | July 2005

What launched Amy Tan’s career was not a big break, but a kick in the butt.

Before the million-copy sales of The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife and The Hundred Secret Senses, Amy Tan was a writer. A business writer. She and a partner ran a technical-writing business with lawyer-like “billable hours.”

Her role with clients was largely that of account management — but this daughter of immigrants wanted to do something more creative with words, English words.

So she made her pitch to her partner: “I want to do more writing.” He declared her strength was doing estimates, going after contractors and collecting bills. “It was horrible stuff.” The very stuff Tan hated and knew she wasn’t really good at. But her partner insisted that writing was her weakest skill.

“I thought, I can believe him and just keep doing this or make my demands.” So she argued and stood up for her rights.

He would not give in.

Shocked, Tan said, “I quit.”

And he said: “You can’t quit. You’re fired!” And added, “You’ll never make a dime writing.”

Tan set out to prove him wrong, taking on as many assignments as she could. Sometimes she worked 90 hours a week as a freelance technical writer. Being on her own was tough. But not letting others limit her or define her talents made it worthwhile. And on her own, she felt free to try fiction. And so The Joy Luck Club, featuring the bright, lonely daughter of Chinese immigrants, was born. And the manager who couldn’t write became one of America’s bestselling, best-loved authors.

I’ve been dragging my feet about finishing a current story. I owe my critiquing partner a 1,000 words. And trust me, he won’t let me get away with not handing it in. But after reading the short story on Amy Tan, I have a different frame of mind. I can hand in my words. I just got my kick in the butt.

It was a tough go for Ms.Tan, but she held on, preserved and didn’t run away from her dream. In fact, she ran toward it without fear and with dedication. We can too.

TGIF! Have a good weekend and run toward your dream.


One thought on “Need a good kick in the butt?

  1. […] may have been on to something in the second part of her quote as we know a writer’s life is tough! However, as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table and a Hollywood screenwriter, Parker […]

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