How I Came to Write This Book – Part 1
Part 1: Trust your instincts
Fear of failure may be one of the most natural human emotions. It’s also one of the most useless.
There will always be enough other people out there waiting for you to tank, so why slam dunk yourself before you even get started? Who cares what they think? Even the experts don’t matter. We’ve all heard the stories of people whose doctors said they’d never recover, but they did anyway – or the champions who were told they had no chance of winning.
Using Fear of Failure as a Catalyst
Fear of failure in fact shaped the whole first part of my adult life. It began way back in high school (during that time when you’re supposed to decide what you want to study in college). Being a writer was the very first thing I wanted to be when I grew up. I have the distinct recollection of a story I wrote in the fifth grade about nymphs and sprites (actually, I have no recollection about what those creatures were all doing, I just know I wrote something about them), and the charge I got out of the experience was like a thrill ride for me. My terrific teacher, Miss Ann Bulger, was the instigator (she also taught us how to play chess and allowed us to compete at tables set along the windows in the room if we finished tasks early), and when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon, she didn’t discourage anyone who said they wanted to be an astronaut someday.
In the fifth grade, someday, is light years away, but seven years later it arrived. I wanted to go to school at Notre Dame, but Dad suggested that I’d be buried in debt since I was going to have to put myself through the process of earning a degree. As an Ohio girl, I looked at all the state schools and picked Ohio University because of that fear of failure thing again. It was the only school at that time that did not require chemistry of its Physical Education majors. Chem scared the daylights out of me! I had determined that being a teacher and a coach made more sense for me than becoming a writer. In 1977 girls were going to be teachers, secretaries, or nurses. Practical was way less scary. Did writers even earn a steady income? How would I pay my bills, let alone any college loans?
But the biggest reason I chose P.E. was that being an English major required a truckload of reading, and I, sorry to admit, was a painfully slow reader. I remember Sister Mary Loretta placing me in the C reading group in first grade (that’s “C” as in crappy reader). I was mortified and quickly moved up to B for better, but never could crack onto the Academic All-Stars A-list.
It really jaded me. I used to think that reading was boring as compared to playing sports. Why would you SIT IN THE HOUSE reading when you could be OUTSIDE PLAYING? Miss Ann almost turned me around at age 10, but I fell back into my chicken-sh@# mindset after graduating from her dare-to-dream-classroom.
From P.E. to Master of Sports Management
When I was a freshman at O.U., a wise instructor took a class period early in the semester to tell everyone about the other programs offered by the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. It was there that I learned about Ohio’s first-of-its-kind (and still best-in-the-nation) Master of Sports Management Degree Program, which is now a dual degree program within the business school where you also earn your MBA. The light bulb that went off in my head at that moment made me feel certain that working for a sports organization would be a better fit for me than teaching, but once again FOF did its thing. Instead of switching majors to broadcasting or marketing or something of that nature, I stuck with P.E. because I felt the chances of me being accepted into a program that only took on about 30 out of 300 applicants each year might be reaching for the stars. Becoming a teacher was a sure bet.
Do you believe in miracles? I was a junior at Ohio when the 1980 U.S.A. Hockey team performed theirs on Olympic ice. The voice of Al Michaels still rings in my head, as does the eruption of thousands across campus that night. A year later, a tiny miracle of my own happened when I was accepted into Ohio’s Sports Management Masters Degree Program.
I wasn’t going to be a writer, but little did I know then how much material I was about to acquire.
Tune into my next blog to learn about the people who helped create some of the characters and scenes in my book FATIMA AND THE SONS OF ABRAHAM.