The Power of a Few Encouraging Words

Have you ever had a dream? I have. When I was a child, I wanted to write children’s novels. But somewhere along the way, I gave up the idea of becoming an author. There was no time for dreams. I had to be sensible and get a regular job with a regular income. That was what was expected.

Then one day, a few years ago, I found myself dreaming again. All it took was a few words written by a friend in a birthday card. She asked me if I’d ever considered writing stories for children. Her words went around and around inside my head. Could I write a children’s story? I decided to have a go.

A few days later, I had composed my first story. I faxed it off to author and friend, Father James Tierney, for his opinion. When he faxed back, I almost didn’t want to read his words. What if Father hadn’t liked it? But I needn’t have worried. These were his words: “Write some more!” (Father Tierney is a very kind and encouraging person.) So I did. A few months later, I’d written my first children’s novel, The Angels of Abbey Creek. Last year, I published that book. And a few days ago, I finished the sequel: The Angels of Gum Tree Road. I dedicated both books to my Goddaughter.

Several days ago, I saw my Goddaughter and gave her a parcel. She tore off the wrappings to reveal a home-bound copy of my new story. “It’s so cool! It’s so cool!” she kept repeating, as she hugged the book to her chest. Oh my! My grin was huge as I witnessed her reaction to my gift.

Charlotte is going to illustrate my new Angels story, and then I’m going to publish it. I hope everyone will like it. But if no one does, it won’t matter at all. My Goddaughter loves it. That’s enough reward for me.

It’s amazing how powerful a few encouraging words can be. They can turn dreams into reality.
My children have their own dreams. They’ve had time to explore their talents, and now they have big ideas about their future. Do you think I should encourage them to look past what’s expected, what’s safe and predictable, and follow these dreams? Or maybe I should take the sensible approach and say, “Be realistic! Do something which will provide you with a safe and steady income.” What do you think?

The other day, Imogen, my 20 year old daughter, and I were talking about her future. Her eyes were alight as she shared her dreams. She wants to continue following her two main passions: writing and music.

“Would you talk about your writing, your music and your dreams with me in a podcast?” I asked.

“Sure!” she replied.

So I’ve been making a few notes about things I could ask Imogen. Yesterday the word ‘unworking’ came to mind as I was thinking about the podcast. This word pops into my head at regular intervals. What does ‘unworking’ mean? I’m not sure. My ideas might be very different to other people’s. But maybe I could explore what this word conjures up for me in the podcast too.

Now that my novel is finished, I’m looking forward to having more time for blogging. Do you remember all those blog post ideas I jotted down a few weeks ago?

I did actually get around to writing the…

… story about the very wild life of unschoolers… (involving)… multiple balls of wool and delicious iced finger buns (the ones covered with sprinkles!)

I wrote that one more than a week ago. It’s called Maybe We Should Have Listened to the Critics.

And now I’ve written….

the post about encouraging words, and where they can lead.

My upcoming podcast will…

…  explore the idea of unworking.

But what will I do after that? Make another Evernote video? Or write a chore story? Tell you about those potatoes? No, earrings! I must definitely write about the earring disaster. But then again, before I do that, perhaps I should share my tissue story…

So many ideas! And I now have time to explore them. It’s good to be back!

The Angels of Abbey Creek

The images were drawn by Charlotte. They are Annie, Celeste and Lizzie Angel.

You can also find me on…
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  1. I think you might look to your own story when encouraging your creative children – you seem to have found a path that includes both the safe and expected as well as the daring and creative. Inspiring and encouraging!

    1. Reply

      You are right: We learn so much from our own experiences. Oh, I like the sound of 'daring and creative'. Wouldn't it be lovely to combine that with something that is secure and safe enough to earn a living? Thank you for your kind words!

    • San
    • April 13, 2015

    I will have to write a revuew for your first book and will definitely be buying the second!! Those illustrations are absolutely gorgeous!!

    Your words today really resonate with me especially where Benedict is on his journey, I have much to think about. Once again thank you for sharing xx

    1. Reply


      I would really appreciate your review. Thank you! I received an unexpected Amazon review yesterday and it made my day.

      Charlotte has made some paper dolls of the Angel characters. I gave a copy to my Goddaughter and she was so thrilled with them. She can now act out all the stories in my book! I shall pass on your words to Charlotte. I know they will make her smile.

      We will have to share more very soon. I downloaded Skype yesterday. Now I have to work out how to use it. I shall learn! And then we can chat! xx

  2. Reply

    Many congratulations on your second book. Was it an easier process with the second one? Looking forwards to hearing more form you in the coming time – untill book number 3 comes around.

    1. Reply


      Thank you! The second book ended up being longer and more involved than the first one. But I'm hoping it is better! I think it was an easier process second time around because I knew what I was doing. It still seemed to take a long time though to edit the manuscript. But now it's done, and I'm looking forward to writing something else for a while before I tackle the third book. I've already written the first draft of book 3, but it will take a lot of work to get the stories into shape.

    • Hwee
    • April 13, 2015

    Congratulations on the sequel! The issue that you're exploring here is one that many people think about, me included. It is difficult to know what's the "right" thing to do when advising younger people, but I think your own example might be a very good start! 🙂

    1. Reply


      Thank you!

      I would like to see my children use their talents while doing satisfying work, rather than consider safer options which they might not enjoy so much. Can creative work also result in a steady income? Yes, it's hard knowing what's the 'right' thing to do! Imogen and I had a great conversation the other week. She told me that when she has a creative idea, she breaks the idea down into steps. She then considers whether each of those steps is possible. At the moment, she has a big idea she's working on (while finishing her degree). I'm sure she'll share more in my podcast. And I'll probably write more about this too if anyone is interested.

      So lovely to chat!

  3. Reply

    I try and encourage my kids to follow their dreams but at the same time explain that they don't have to necessarily be employed doing their dreams. Not every single person can be in paid working at what they love doing or I doubt there'd be garbage collectors, cleaners and so on. You can always follow your dreams though. I think these days we like to be positive and tell our kids they can do anything they want to be but we have to be careful that a healthy dose of realism goes in there; quite a hard balance really.

    Congrats on the second book too. You are doing so well.

    1. Reply


      Oh yes, whatever any of us do for a living, we can still follow our dreams. There are some people in this world who do seem able to combine their dream with their employment. Maybe our children will also be able to do this. I wonder if we should encourage them to at least give it a go. This might mean working at a less desirable job while still pursuing the dream. A hard balance? I agree!

      Thank you for the congratulations. I have surprised myself. I'm not usually this productive!

  4. Reply

    The illustrations are darling. I'm glad you're living your dream, Sue. It suits you. My long-time friend since 4th grade planted the seeds in my head that I could be a writer back when we were in 10th grade. We were in the cafeteria spinning nickles after lunch. As I was spinning one, Kathy said something to me like, "Wouldn't it be something if you could make a living as a writer." At that time, I had no idea that was something one could be. Changed me life instantly.

    1. Reply


      What a significant moment for you. I wonder if Cathy realises how much her words affected the course of your life. It just goes to show how important our words can be, Writing suits me? I like that. It certainly makes me feel happy… except for those times when the words refuse to appear. Then it's frustrating. But that's just part of writing!

  5. Reply

    I'm looking forward to your next podcast and blog posts. I only wish I had more time to read and listen, I've been missing too many lately!
    I often wonder what I might have done with a bit more encouragement, so yes, I do encourage my children to do what they truly love and follow their passions. I think perhaps a major part of being a success in your chosen interest or passion is the belief that it can be done. I really want our children to believe that there is much more to life than a regular career and paycheque.
    Looking forward to the next book 🙂

    1. Reply


      There's never enough time in the day to do all we'd like, is there? I find myself running through the blogosphere trying to keep up. So many good things to dip into!

      A belief that it can be done… oh yes! Imogen and I talked about this in the podcast. Without that belief, a dream just remains a dream.

      So lovely to catch up with you here on my blog!

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