I’ve got another blogs half way done about teachers in Iowa and the Iowa Legislature, but I figured I push a little positive energy out into the world today.

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the Young Writers’ Award Banquet put on by the Northeast Iowa Reading Council. Each year, they sponsor a writing contest for students grades three through twelve, and this year, I had two of my students win the regional contest. One winner was a narrative, the other in poetry. After the regional contest, all winners are sent to the writing contest, sponsored by the Iowa Reading Association. Of my two regional winners, I had one of them, the narrative writer, place first in his category at the state level! Woot woot for us!

Anyway, we have a dinner, award students from around the area for the great work in writing, then have an author come and talk to us. This year, the author was Derek
Anderson of Hot Rod Hampster fame! What an engaging author for the students to have speak to them. He showed us many of his illustrations, drew a “Hot Rod Hampster” sketch for us, and talked to us about the secret of an author’s success.

I’m not sure I should share this, but what the heck!! He said the secret to an author’s success is based on two things:

  1. Fear: No, not the “I hate spiders and that one just scared me” kind of fear. He’s talking about the kind of fear that holds you back, that keeps you from trying new things. It’s the fear that we have to conquer repeatedly as to get ready to step outside our comfort zone to make ourselves better.
  2. Persistence: It’s that old adage, “Never, ever give up on your dream.” Derek talked about the hundreds of rejection letters, the time spent creating things that people didn’t like, didn’t want, or didn’t need.


It’s speakers like this, ones that bring a positive message to both students AND adults that we need more of.  I’ll carry this message with me and smile as I head outside into the sun and imagine giant dragons and hamsters driving trucks! 🙂