You’re Not Special and #ROW80

Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough Jr. delivered the faculty address to the graduating students of this Boston-area school. In it, he asserted that “You are not special. You are not exceptional” and noted that “Even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you.”

As a writer, I feel that way at times too. Thousands of people are writing books, seeking publication, trying to be have their stories read. What makes me think I’m special? Why should I be a writer?

If you’re interested (and have the time–this clip is 12+ minutes), here’s Mr. McCullough’s excellent speech:

Note: From 2:11 to 9:30 will get the substance of the speech.

This English teacher makes the insightful observation that life isn’t about a set of achievements, although we certainly do what to achieve something. Since you aren’t likely to stand out as the best, or even as unique, life is best lived in doing something that you believe makes a difference. His conclusion: “As you commence then, and before you scatter to the four winds, I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance. Don’t bother with work you don’t believe in…”

So I’m not special. You’re not special. But I do believe myself to be a writer and one who will succeed. Because I love it. I believe in it. I can’t think of any job right now I’d rather be doing.

On to the ROW80 goals and the progress. Here’s my weekly report:

  • Log 5,000 words per week on young adult novel, SHARING HUNTER. This should result in a completed first draft.
  • If first draft is finished, edit once through SHARING HUNTER. Edited three chapters, sent to beta readers, and making changes.
  • Work on pitch and synopsis for DFW Writers’ Conference (taking place May 19-20). MUST GET THESE OUT!
  • If I get all of that done, edit through THE YEAR OF FIRSTS, my middle grade novel which is in second draft form and has been gathering dust for a few months. Waiting on 3 tasks above.
  • Read one writing craft book. My choice this round is Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. Stuck on page 99 of 370.
  • Read through issue of The Writer’s Digest. Not yet.
  • Take course from Tiffany Inman Lawson on 77 Secrets to Writing YA Fiction that Sells from the Margie Lawson Writers Academy. This course has been postponed a bit, so I’m going to remove this goal.
  • Read 10 books keeping to my At-Least-3 Reading Challenge for 2012. On track. I have read 8 books so far. Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas is next.
  • Exercise three times a week–length of time to be determined. Done–one Zumba, two walks.
  • NEW GOAL: Since it looks like I achieved so little this week, I thought I’d add that I wrote four lessons for a church camp curriculum. I have a deadline of getting all five lessons done by June 23 to be sent to the 8-10 teachers who will lead Bible classes.

Now time to attagirl and attaboy my fabulous fellow ROWers! Find them HERE.