Last year, I wrote about how my oldest son went to a music event and played three performances - and how one of them didn’t go as expected. Matt played a bassoon solo, a piano solo and in a clarinet ensemble. The piano solo was what kids today would call a Fail. When it was all said and done, though, Matt brushed himself off and told me that he wanted to play a French horn solo the following year. (You can find the full article Here.)
And guess what Matt did this past weekend.
Yep. I’m proud to to say he went back to the event and played the French horn. Not only that, but he walked away with a “Superior” rating.
He received “Superior” ratings on his bassoon solo and for his clarinet ensemble, too. But I think the French horn rating was the one he felt most proud of. And why shouldn’t he? Until this year, he’d never even picked up a French horn. But he’d decided on a goal, made a plan and worked steadily toward his goal.
The kid has some amazing natural talent. (Trust me, he didn’t get it from me!) But he also worked very hard. First, he had to learn how to blow on a brass instrument so he played mellophone during marching season. Next, he had to borrow a French horn from school so he had one to practice at home. Finally, he had to *practice.* A LOT. In other words, his success wasn’t a crazy, random happenstance. And I think there’s a lot we can learn from him.
What does success look like?
1. Decide what you want to accomplish. Make it concrete and something measurable.
(What writing goal do you want to meet? Finish a draft in six months? Find a critique group? Submit to at least six agents?)
2. Decide what steps you need to take to reach that goal.
(Give up an hour of sleep to have more writing time. Search online or ask at your local SCBWI meeting for critique group openings. Research agents who handle your genre.)
3. Show up and do the work.
(Read, attend conferences, check out writers’ sites and so forth and then - put your butt in the chair and write. There’s just no way around it.)
So. What do you want to accomplish next?