I was at a book signing a few weeks ago and a woman told me about her daughter who likes to write.
"Is she here with you?" I asked.
"Yes. She's looking around."
"Please tell her to come by and say hello. What's her name?"
A few minutes later, a tentative pre-teen was hovering nearby. "You're Amanda, aren't you." I smiled so as not to freak the poor kid out. She nodded shyly. "I understand that you like to write." She nodded again. "Tell me about one of your stories."
That's all it took for her passion for writing to explode out of her. In between signing books and chatting with book buyers, Amanda and I talked about writing dialogue, creating believable characters, and the dreaded writer's block. And then it appeared, the bane of most creative people: self-doubt. "I really hope to have a book published someday," she confided in me. "But I try not to get my hopes up. It probably won't happen."
I reached for one of my promotional postcards featuring the cover of Painting The Invisible Man. "Amanda, I want you to keep this postcard right next to your computer. And every time you look at it, I want you to envision that this is your book cover instead. Okay?"
She smiled as she reached for the card. "If you believe that you can get a book published, Amanda, then you will do it. You have to believe in yourself and your talent. And if you can do that, then you will succeed."