When it’s hard, try harder.

When it's hard, try harder.

“This is too hard.” Those words make me cringe. I hear them daily. They might be the most common words in my professional life. I tried to ban them. It didn’t work. They still sneak their way into lessons, tests, discussions.

“When it’s hard, try harder.”

That’s my newest response. I wrote those words on the board today, before we took our reading benchmark. I also tried something else. The school psychologist slipped a book into my box, Teaching Meditation to Children. We closed our eyes and imagined ourselves on a beautiful spring day confronted with an enormous wall. Instead of turning around, we figured out a way over, through, under… We didn’t give up.

The irony does not go unnoticed. I teach kids to do their best, to not get discouraged by their mistakes or failures. Yet, sometimes in my personal life I want to give up. Lately writing has felt this way. At first I was unfazed by the rejection letters from my queries, but more than forty later, they are beginning to feel heavier as they pile up. The worst are those from agents who asked to see more but then weren’t interested. The others feel less real, less personal. They didn’t take the time to look.

I’m not sure what’s next. More querying, rewriting, beta readers, self-publishing, a different project, or some combination of it all. Today I realized the important part is that there is something next, that I follow my own words to try harder when it’s hard. After all, what good is a leader who does not believe her own words. Maybe a little meditation would not hurt either.

"Children experience feelings such as love, joy, fear, disappointment and anger with intensity they may never match in adult life." So true. I remember that intensity. I also remember the teachers who asked us to close our eyes and imagine.

“Children experience feelings such as love, joy, fear, disappointment and anger with intensity they may never match in adult life.” I remember that intensity. I also remember the teachers who asked us to close our eyes and imagine.

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5 thoughts on “When it’s hard, try harder.

  1. kingmidget says:

    Keep moving through this, Olivia. There are plenty of paths in the writing life you are pursuing. Avenues you haven’t even begun to walk down. Stories in you that you don’t even know exist. There is so much capacity for more. You’ll get there.

  2. jeffo says:

    Great advice to the kids, Olivia. And to all of us.

    I know exactly how you feel on the query front. Some days you shrug off the rejections and it’s no big deal, some days they hit you kind of hard. All you can do is check your letter, make sure it’s the best it can be, and try again. Hang in there.

    And keep working on The Next Thing.

  3. Covetotop says:

    I’d suggest to write a new novel, and whenever you finish it (or abandon it, to better say), begin a third novel … don’t focus all your attention and efforts in publishing your first one. Si algún día tienes éxito, en Amazon aparecerán al mismo tiempo dos, tres o cuatro novelas de la gran Olivia O´Bryon

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