Picture a hungry writer sitting in an unheated attic, wearing a ragged head scarf and moth-eaten sweater over shabby clothes. She’s blowing on her fingers, warming them just enough to dip the pen into the ink well again. Then she scribbles a final sentence “the end” on a page of cheap paper, lays it reverently atop a pile of similar paper, and sighs, knowing she has written a book of aching genius that will make her fortune. nike air max 1 pas cher
At least that’s the romantic image I grew up with. Most of my young life I envisioned myself being like Louisa Mae Alcott’s heroine, “Jo.” A writer suffering for her art.
Being a writer in America in the 21st Century is nothing like that.
The glut of manuscripts, thanks to the ease with which one can churn out thousands of words a day on a computer—readable or not–has made publishers very suspicious of unsolicited manuscripts. nike air max Slush piles grow to towering stacks. Endless on-line submissions queue up in an editor’s in-box. Few editors have the time or manpower to skim through all of them.
For those of us who first published during the days of hoping to be picked up by a traditional, royalty-paying publishing house (before the Kindle was invented and getting published through Amazon made self-publishing a viable venue) the struggle to get noticed was real.
I completed manuscripts and sent them to publishers. Asics Pas Cher After a while felt like I was tossing them into a black hole. Then I joined Romance Writers of America and was told about the Catch 22 of publishing. The more experienced writers said that publishers didn’t want to look at a manuscript unless it was first vetted by a literary agent. mochilas kanken baratas Literary agents preferred not to look at a manuscript until an author was already published.
It was like being told as a child that I could not go near the water until I could swim.
Eventually I learned about and joined Romance Writers of America, where I learned that the only way to break through this invisible fence was to 1) write a good book 2) go to writer’s conferences where the admission price bought us wannabes a whole fifteen minutes to make a pitch to a literary agent or editor.
Problem was—writing conferences cost hundreds of dollars and my husband and I did not have deep pockets. We were trying to raise three sons on a country preacher’s pay.
Things changed when a friend called and offered to give me a part-time job of stocking Hallmark cards in area grocery stores. air max pas cher I jumped at it. The hours were flexible, the money was decent, and the work was pleasant. Best of all, I made enough to pay for several conferences and workshops, where I sweated my way through interview after interview until a literary agent finally decided to take a gamble on me.
That gamble paid off for both of us.
A lot of wonderful things have happened since then career-wise. I’m a full-time writer these days. I gave the Hallmark job to a friend who needed it.
Joyanne and her husband had traveled all over the country before settling in Holmes County, Ohio. Soon, they began driving a van for the Amish and became close friends with several Old Order families.
One night as we were discussing our mutual respect for the Plain community, Joyanne said, “I am convinced that Amish children are the happiest children in the world.”
I had to agree. From what I had seen, Amish children were the happiest, most contented, most competent, and the most cheerfully obedient children I’d ever seen and I wanted to know why. Was it merely the lack of television and video games that made them so content, or did the reasons go deeper?
My editor, a young mother raising two daughters in New York City, also wanted to know why. That desire to find out the secret behind the admirable behavior of Amish children led to me to many discussions with the Amish about their methods of parenting, which eventually culminated in a non-fiction Amish parenting book titled More Than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting.
I discovered many things during these interviews, but the most profound lesson came from a conversation I had with an Amish minister. We had discussed everything from the necessity of having family meals together to the methods with which they teach their children a solid work ethic. I was just about to close my notebook when my husband asked this final question:“What is your dream for your children?”
I silently ran through several possible answers an Amish person might give. I already knew the answer that most non-Amish parents would give—that they just wanted their children to be happy.
What the Amish minister said rocked me.
“My dream for my children,” he said, simply, “is that they become people of value.”
Another Amish man who was in the room nodded his head in agreement. That was his dream for his children, too.
The interview had been unemotional up to that point, but when I heard those words, I had to fight back the tears. I knew I had found my answer. The goal of an Amish parent is not to make their children happy. Their goal is to raise children who are so much more than happy.
Amish parents very deliberately teach their children how to be good workers, how to show compassion and respect for others, how to live lives of integrity, and how to be people of faith. The need for a parent to be a good example was often emphasized.
Many of us non-Amish parents, often without realizing what we’re doing, find ourselves prioritizing our children’s temporary happiness over helping them learn principles of permanent importance. Often we do this because it is just so much easier.
The Amish have learned one of the great secrets to life–persons with true value generally become very happy people.
If you’d like a chance to win a copy of More Than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting, jump on over to AmishWisdom.com and scroll down towards the bottom to sign up!