This morning, in my Writing for Children class, I passed on some advice I got long ago from my opa (the Dutch word for grandfather). I had just handed back some terrific assignments (I'd asked the students to write the first chapter of what's called a "junior novel") and we were discussing the possibility that some of them might want to continue working on their novels. One student said, "I wouldn't know how to do it." Which is what made me remember what my opa once told me. (Opa was a painter and at the time, I wanted to paint, too). Opa said: "It's not enough to have talent; you also need drive. And it's not enough to have drive; you also need talent. One without the other is not enough."

What I didn't mention in class is that I've been reading a book called The Follow-Through Factor, which I'm going to be reviewing for The Gazette. The book's author Gene C. Hayden wants to help people move from what she calls "doubt to done." What I like about Hayden's approach is that she acknowledges that doubt (and self-doubt in particular) is just part of the process. Here's a passage I read last night that I really liked: "the difference between those who follow through and the rest of the world is that people who persevere don't expect that opening a dance school or bread shop is going to be an earth-moving experience. They accept that it's going to be a lot of hard work and hassles." 

So if you're working hard and feeling hassled, that may not be such a bad thing after all! 

And just one small funny thing that happened in class this morning: Alexandra, who was doing a presentation, asked the class what sorts of things they do to relax. Alexandra started the discussion by saying she reads; Annie told us she paints; and Charlie said he runs. Mirna had a more surprising answer: "I chew gum!" Which made us all laugh! 

Okay, have a good rest of the day -- and if you are celebrating Passover, a good Passover.