Pushing Ourselves

As many of us writers know, creating a good book is all about pushing ourselves. Sure, most of us have done our research on what it takes to write a good story. The right way to do it, the wrong way to do it. We work hard at perfecting our grammar and punctuation so it's as flawless as we can get it but what makes us different from other authors?

The bottom line is we need to push ourselves to accomplish our uniqueness.


When I was writing Kailee Finds Magic IN Words, I sent a good story to my publisher, she loved it. But I was using the typical magic wand, and a creature that's been used a dozen times before. My publisher reminded me that maybe I should make the story more unique. You know, throw out the magic wand and come up with something different.

When I read her comments, I thought to myself, "What's wrong with a magic wand? What the heck else is there?" Then after hours of thinking, thinking, thinking, a magic light bulb finally popped on in my head and said, "Come on, you're a fiction writer, use your imagination to create something that fits the part!"

So I racked my pea brain for what magical instrument would a chipmunk need fixed? That's when I decided I needed something a chipmunk uses on a daily basis and that I could make current with todays decade. And suddenly a magic "broken" nutcracker appeared and Oliver the chipmunk needed the password to reboot it.

I felt good about coming up with something a little different. I patted myself on the back but quickly took another big "sigh" when I realized that my job wasn't done. I needed to invent someone special who could fix it!

And that was when the Grand Garoogle came to life. Check back with me later and I'll share with you how I created that creature and where its name came from.

And no, I didn't do the illustrations, that was all Valerie Bouthyette's talent coming to life. She was able to take the picture in my head and make it come alive.

I have to admit, pushing myself was tons of fun. It was a lot of work but very uplifting and left me feeling much more satisfied with the story.

So, I'm curious. Have any of you had an experience where you really had to push yourself? And what did you come up with?


  1. That's great that you were pushed to be more creative and delivered on it. :)

  2. Sometimes a critique partner can push one to bigger stuff. I'm glad for creative pushes!

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  4. A magic broken nutcracker? I love that! I collected nutcrackers as a child, and I still have my first one, which is broken. It actually gave me the idea for a story, but not to worry...its not a children's book. It actually supplied the title for a NA book.

    Your story sounds lovely. :)

  5. I am currently not pushing myself at all, and in fact am being a bit lazy. Maybe I should take a page from you and get my rear in gear and get busy.

    I like the name: Grand Garoogle. It's fun to say.

    1. Thanks, Courtney. The creature and a name for it were really fun to create!

  6. Needing a password to reboot the broken nutcracker was an inspired idea! Thanks for coming to visit me earlier today I’m happy that you did! I’m going to enjoy your blog. Barbara.

  7. That said, Allyn, sometimes we need to give ourselves a break, that doesn't mean I don't push myself.

    My editor brought something to my attention (regarding my novel Gabriel) that I still can't figure out how to resolve, but I will. All I can add to thisi s that sometimes you've got to give yourself a break.

    Deadline or not, sometimes you can't fix something by simply pounding yourself against the wall, at least I can't. I kind of hit a wall in other areas of my writing life, and so I'm going to semi-unplug for awhile.

    If I don't, I'll say or do something I'll regret later. and I can't risk that again.

    Take Care, Allyn
    Taurean W.