Note: to see all the lessons, click on the category: Making Big Things Happen
I got an email from Maya Jane, who is an avid writer and reader. She asked me:
Maya, the ride starts tomorrow! And I’m thinking a lot about courage at the moment as it is windy and rainy and very cold.
The best advice I ever read about courage was from The Wizard of Oz. The wizard had been ‘found out.’ He was just a normal guy with a big imagination. This is what he told the lion when he asked for courage:
“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”
I remember when I was struggling with my book, Harry Sue. I realized the second half was all wrong so I threw it out. That’s a lot of pages. Around that time, I met Wendy Lamb, a very famous editor, and I told her I was afraid I wasn’t a good enough writer to give Harry Sue the ending it deserved. She said, “If you don’t feel that toes-curled-over-the-edge-of-the-diving-board-scared, you’re not ready to finish your book. Which means that you are ready. So go home and write it.”
I did! It still makes me cry when I read the end.
We’re setting off tomorrow whether the weather is fair or foul. We are as ready as we can be. I’m also shivering in my bicycling shoes! But that’s just what happens when you try to make something big happen. Fear is not a feeling you can get rid of. It’s a feeling you need to get comfortable with.
I took these pictures from my bike ride in the Wasatch Mountains. Did I tell you I was afraid of heights? I decided to get off my bike and walk past some hikers because I didn’t want to get too close to the edge. When I explained why, a boy who was about ten-years-old, said: “The first time I did it, I was scared, too.”
That made me feel better.