Hang On

My older son was born with a desire to get off the ground.

IMG_6520coleropeFrom toddlerhood on, Cole has climbed. And climbed. And climbed higher.

When he was two, we transitioned him out of his crib in order to pass it on to his younger brother Chase, who spent the first couple months of his life sleeping in the pack-n-play. The boys are twenty-one months apart, so sharing furniture, beds, and toys was (is) a way of life.

The first night we moved the crib into Chase’s room, we put a gate in Cole’s bedroom doorway to block Cole in his room. My memories of that first night aren’t clear–probably wiped away from a lack of sleep.

But I do remember that one gate wasn’t enough to restrain our first-born.

Determined to teach Cole to stay in his new bed, we used two gates in his bedroom doorway the second night. We left a couple inches between them, and six-eight inches of daylight above the doubled-up gates. Either way, the gate-wall was at least six feet high.

Trev and I breathed a sigh of relief and settled in for a movie, or maybe an exciting evening of laundry and quiet. It didn’t last. The distinct pitter-patter-clunk-clunk-clunk then pitter-patter, pitter-patter of small feet carried from the hallway. Seconds later a grinning toddler rushed out of the hall and into our great room.

Cole had conquered his first warped (gate) wall at the age of 2 (leaving both gates intact).

He just turned fourteen, and still loves climbing. In fact, we discovered a local gym that offers parkour for kids and adults, and we go often, especially in the summer.

I don’t understand my son’s passion for climbing playground equipment, trees, gazebos, and buildings, but it’s probably the same thing that drives me to create characters and write stories.


During our last visit to the parkour place, Cole struggled to get up the biggest warped wall. We hadn’t made it to the parkour place often during the school year; instead he’d been doing different types of workouts at home.

But he set his mind to conquer the fourteen-foot, six-inch black wall and (after four tries), Cole finally made it. Once his fingers found and gripped the top, he hung there for a couple of seconds, relief loosening his taut frame.

IMG_6524cole3Once his grip was secure, the climb up proved easier than the journey to the top.

All the desire in the world will only get him so far up that daunting obstacle. Cole must prepare beforehand to experience success on the big wall. Had he not been working out and rope and tree climbing in our backyard, he never would’ve made it.

Writing World Parallels:

  1. To reach the top (multi-book publication & readers who beg for more stories), years of preparation are necessary. A burning desire to climb higher with stories is a great foundation, but it takes…
  2. Words. Lots of words. I’m currently writing my seventh manuscript. While a couple of those aren’t fully edited, clean stories, they’re written (birthed during NaNoWriMo). Once I learned the basic foundation of story, POV, entered a few contests, exchanged chapters with critique partners, attended writing conferences, pitched {poorly} to agents, and heard positive feedback from other (respected) writers, I then needed to…
  3. Study the market and learn it not only takes a unique story with strong, clean writing, but also a great hook. What’s the heart of your story? One of the hardest things to grasp and create is a gripping hook.

    What is a hook? It’s the tempting morsel of your story you hand out to readers that (hopefully) draws them closer, for more.

    Readers are like fish. Smart fish. Fish who know authors are out to get them, reel them in, and capture them for the rest of their seagoing lives. But, like any self-respecting fish, readers aren’t caught easily. They aren’t about to surrender themselves to the lure of your story unless you’ve presented them with an irresistible hook. – K.M. Weiland

    IMG_6529 (002)Cole4. I used to wish this journey to publication was shorter. Easier. Less traumatizing and skin-thickening and rejection-gathering. But the <long> period of preparation is the exact foundation we need to climb up the publishing wall and hit that red button of victory.

    Writers, hang on. Keep practicing. Don’t give up! 


12 thoughts on “Hang On

  1. Great post, Kerry. I loved learning about your son’s passion for climbing and being reminded again about how much effort you’ve put into your writing career. Best wishes for even more success in the year to come.

      1. Hey Kerry: I plan to attend this Thursday’s meeting. It’s been a whirlwind of a year and I’ve been helping my sister since her 43-year-old son died on June 2. Life is supposed to slow down as we age, but that’s not happening for me. Still serving on church staff and writing/editing for Focus. Hope to see you soon!

      2. Oh, I wish I could go this month. I made it last month, but I have a youth writer’s group I’m speaking to on Thursday. I’m so sorry about your nephew. 😦 I’m glad you’re getting in writing & editing with Focus. We should meet up for lunch one day. ❤

  2. Hi Kerry! Great post, as always! I just re-started my blog after not posting since early May. I am also writing a poetry collection and intend to go the traditional route! Done with self publishing but a great learning experience! Feel free to let people know my blog has come back to write! Thank you for your encouragement, love and prayers! So cool for me to know another famous author…..you! So proud of you! Love n prayers n blessings to you and your family! Your post here will inspire me to keep going!

  3. First off, I’m super glad that neither of my kids are climbers… yet. 😬

    And secondly, thank you for the reminder to hang on and keep climbing. I’m almost nine years into this full-time writer thing and I still have a long ways to go. The fact that I’m still going is insane. Great post, Kerry!

    1. Oh, just wait! You may still have a monkey! No, you’d probably know by now if they liked climbing. 🙂 Wow, nine years. I’m at about a decade. Sometimes I want to scream, looking back at my journey to publication, but then I grudgingly admit I needed every bump and waiting period and learning curve to climb. You’re getting close, friend!

  4. Kerry, my son Vincent also loves to climb and jump to and from imprudent heights! He has taken parkour classes, himself. I enjoyed the parallels that you drew between our sons’ love of reaching new heights and your love of reaching new literary heights. Thanks, as always, for your enjoyable and insightful stories.

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