I don’t know about you and your writing space. I have all manner of mantras, epigrams, inspirational phrases and sayings covering the walls of my office. Some of them, like good friends, have helped me over rough times when my writing hasn’t gone well. Take that old cartoon from early in the digital revolution. You know the one I mean. The duck stands over a computer, a vicious scowl on his face and a sledge hammer raised above his feathered head. Beneath the image are the words, “Hit any key.” Just seeing it reminds me to breathe and not take myself so seriously.
Many of my mantras have come the way of pennies in the taxi, appearing in my life when I needed them. When I moved into the Library Director’s office at Oklahoma City University, on the bookshelf behind the desk I found a notebook with these words written in large letters on the spine, “YES, YOU CAN.”
Browsing the shelves at Barnes & Noble one day, I saw the book: DO IT! LET’S GET OFF OUR BUTS. I bought it along with WRITE IT DOWN, MAKE IT HAPPEN.
A key ring with the words, JUST DO IT, arrived in our mailbox to promote Nike sportswear.
A bookmark found on a shelf on an upper floor of the library told me that “One part at a time, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set for ourselves. Today I will do one small task that will contribute toward the achievement of a life goal.”
Another found item meant to attach to a wall or a windshield summarized all of the other encouraging treasures: “I trust the process of life. Only right and good action is taking place in my life.”
Yes, you can.
Just Do it.
Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right!
Since I’m a writer, Ernest Hemingway’s “Begin with one true sentence” resonates.
I recently found another mantra that has joined my favorites—STAY CALM, HAVE COURAGE AND WAIT FOR SIGNS. When Craig Johnson came up with this title for his collection of short stories, I doubt he considered it a mantra. For me, it is the all-purpose mantra for meeting just about any challenge. In case you don’t recognize the name, Craig Johnson is the author of the Walt Longmire contemporary western mysteries that sparked a popular TV series, LONGMIRE, on the Arts and Entertainment channel.
Lolly Anderson, a friend and the author of HOW MY MAGIC REFRIGERATOR SENT ME TO PARIS FREE, believes that having our dreams in visual form where we are reminded of them every day helps bring them to life. Her book is available from Amazon, both in paper and for the Kindle. While you’re visiting her site, look at her other books. Her VERMEER’S LADY IN WAITING was a runner-up in the Oklahoma Book Awards!
A final mantra and perhaps the only one any of us need: You haven’t failed until you stop trying.