Tuesday, June 13, 2006


On our recent trip to South Dakota, I fulfilled a long time dream of seeing De Smet, SD, the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. As a girl, I wore out a set of her books and had them practically memorized. Now, I'm re-reading them with pictures of the actual setting in my mind. It is so...amazing!

I've also been studying her writing style. I've learned a few things.

1) Classic literature does not have to be wordy.
2) Verbs are so...alive!
3) Tight writing is good writing.
4) Morals don't have to be taught in literature. The reader will learn as the character learns. That way, you avoid being 'preachy' and still get the message of your heart across.

In her book "These Happy Golden Years" she writes about a composition she did in school on the subject of 'Ambition'.

In it, she says, "Ambition is necessary to accomplishment. Without ambition to gain an end, nothing would be done." and "Ambition is a good servant, but a bad master."

She was so right. If I choose to channel my ambition by writing down my goals and aims, I get a lot more done. Having a target to shoot at is much more effective for me than a vague notion of doing 'something'.

That being said, one of my downfalls is when I write down a goal, I then kill myself to meet it as soon as possible, often to the exclusion of all else. I've had to back off some of my goals, in favor of other things at the moment, which leads to frustration.

What I'm learning is to let my ambition serve me, not to be mastered by it. I'm learning to take a realistic look at my goals and adjust them so they are incorporated into my life rather than becoming the entire focus of it.

In relation to my writing goal. I'm up to 50 pages and over 15K words. Five pages a day might have been too high an expectation for this time in my life, but I'm going to keep plugging away. I'm pinning my hopes on the writing week next week, where my buddy an I will encourage each other's ambition and goals.



  1. Stephanie9:28 AM

    An excellent point about ambition. I often struggle with feelings of failure if I don't meet a a goal I set for myself, even if reaching my goal was near impossible. It seems I forget that I'm a human being before I'm a writer. Thank you for articulating something I've been struggling with!

  2. I think the real lesson is not about accomplishing a specific goal, but the journey getting there.