As an Early Years Practitioner, there are a few classic Picture Books that never fail to enthrall and delight the children I look after.
These stories are often about very ordinary things, such as having tea at the dinner table – coupled with an added twist, such as a tiger knocking on the door and inviting himself in…
One such story is Michael Rosen and Helen Obxenbury’s ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ – a delightful tale, about a simple family stroll, on a beautiful day.
The twist is, that as the children are walking along, they pretend that they are off to find a Bear! They’re going on a Bear Hunt. They’re going to catch a BIG one!
As their walk continues, they meet LOTS of different obstacles along the way, such as:
- A deep, cold river
- Thick, oozy mud
- and a swirling, whirling snowstorm
Because everybody knows, that every good story must contain OBSTACLES!
And anyone that has read the story will remember the repeated refrain:
We can't go over it. We can't go under it. Oh no! We've got to go through it!
It struck me this morning, as I was reading the story for the gazillionth time, that a writer’s journey is very much like this…
As we attempt to write our stories, to dream up vivid characters, to create a solid story arc, to nail the perfect ending, to hook our reader from the very beginning – we come against MANY obstacles along the way.
It can be so hard to keep going when we feel stuck in the thick oozy mud, lost in a whirling snowstorm and totally unable to cross the deep cold river (or face a blinking cursor on an empty page…)
We journey on, through the ups and downs. We finish our stories. We do our best to query agents, to enter competitions, to send our stories out there.. only to be faced with knock-backs, closed doors and rejection letters. It can feel like an endless journey fraught with obstacle after obstacle, set-back after set-back.
But something within us keeps us going… The sense of adventure keeps calling us onward. The beauty of the journey – the high-point of connecting with one reader – helps us get back up again. The thought that the journey is leading us ‘to catch a big one’ – keeps us pressing on…
The thought that we are doing all we can to use our gift for the glory of God, makes it all worthwhile.
And we know instinctively that there are absolutely no shortcuts. There are no easy routes through. We know, along with all other writers, that:
We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!
So, at the start of 2022, let’s keep pressing forward. Let’s seize the day. Let’s pull our coats ever tighter around us and brace the wind, the rain, the snow! Let’s say together: “We’re not scared!” and enjoy this beautiful day, this beautiful opportunity that we’ve been given! Let’s enjoy the journey! You never know, we might even discover a bear at the end of it!