My Everest is: Books that save lives
When I was a child growing up on one of the battlefields of the War on Poverty, books saved my life. Not books about Dick and Jane, whose comfortable lives bore little resemblance to mine. I turned to books about pioneer children who faced hardship with courage and children in Victorian workhouses who dared to hope for a better life. They were my role models and my inspiration. I want to give the children of today what those books gave to me. I want to give them literary role models who demonstrate the courage, strength, and ingenuity they need to prevail over the Everests in their own lives. In choosing my subject matter, I turned to my own heritage--the children who worked in the cotton mills of the American South in the early 1900s. Children as young as 6 worked for 12 hours a day in clouds of cotton dust that damaged their lungs and with machines that left many of them maimed. Most received little or no education, which made escape from the mills nearly impossible for them or their own children. Despite it all, they managed to share the little they had with others, to laugh, play, make music, and hope for a better day. Their stories deserve to be told. My Everest is to write not just one children's book but a body of work--picture books, novels, poetry, and nonfiction--that honors the lives of those children and, even more important, gives hope and inspiration to the children of today who struggle under equally difficult circumstances. In preparing for this expedition, I have carefully mapped the terrain--studying research material about the textile industry in the early 1900s. I have trained with the best coaches--reading hundreds of award-winning children's books. I have assembled the equipment and supplies I need--plot, character, setting, dialogue, and view point. I've begun my ascent. The contest award will provide a financial ax for carving out time to write, but with or without it, I'll get there--one step, one word, one keystroke at a time.
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where am i?

This year I made a quantum leap in my productivity by scheduling a specific time to write on a regular basis instead of waiting for the time to present itself.

how am i stuck?

I'm easily discouraged by little I can accomplish in a single writing session, so I'm easily distracted by tasks with a faster pay-off.

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