What To Do When Children Are Surpassing You?

It was a Saturday afternoon as I was strolling through Costco. I was glancing at the various displays from giant packs of batteries, to fancy furniture. But as my family passed by the book section something caught my eye.

A table was set up. And at it sat someone with books in front of them.

A book signing? Really? In Costco of all places?

I stared for a moment, surprised. I was wondering who it could possibly be, and if I’d heard of them perchance. And then I finally looked at the face of the writer sitting at that small table in the busy Saturday rush of the store.

She had glasses. Straight brown hair around her face. A posture that indicated not too many books were getting picked up. But those things were not what I noticed most. No, the writer sitting there looked younger than me. In fact, she looked to be a child.

For a moment I thought there was a mistake. Maybe the writer had left their child there while they went to go to the bathroom…um…or…

I couldn’t come up with possibilities. I simply was puzzled by this little girl sitting at the table looking bored. And then I finally took a glance at the signs to see if I recognized the author.

I don’t remember her name, but the biggest words on the signs were: Twelve-year-old author.

I took a moment to simply take that little fact in before I began to bemoan my family with the horrors of being surpassed by children. I am twenty! I am in the prime of my life! And yet somehow I have yet to publish a novel and this little girl has (though admittedly it could have been self-published).

What do you do when life seems to be slipping away and suddenly children are rising up to take the spots on bookshelves that you have dreamed of for ages? Is there a good way to get over that horrifying blow that you are frankly running out of chances and other younger authors are taking them in your place?

I don’t have a true answer. I guess it just takes perseverance. Keep trying. Never give up. Even after twenty rejection letters. It may sound redundant and silly but that really has to be the key. If twelve-year-old girls can do it, why can’t you?

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4 Comments

Filed under Writing

4 responses to “What To Do When Children Are Surpassing You?

  1. I really enjoyed the flow of your post, I slowly felt the momentum build up when I was trying to figure out what was so significant about this author sitting at the table. I also think it’s interesting the way our mind subconsciously defines our own success in conjunction with the success of others. It seems like no matter how hard we try, we feel a slight sense on inferiority when those who we never imagine accomplish what we long for. I love the way you ended with a note of encouragement for your readers.

  2. That’s crazy! I wonder how she managed to get her book out there, and I wonder if it’s really any good or if people are just fascinated by it because it was written by a 12 year old? It is pretty crazy and humbling to think about how we as college students compare to this middle schooler…. but like you said, you’re 20! You have pleeeeeeenty of time to become famous and have your own book signing! Don’t worry about it. 🙂

  3. I agree with Sandra — I really liked how you described the author without first giving away her age. As always, I enjoyed the flow of your narration. On a side note, Costco is a very enlightening place. And if 12 is the new peak, then I’m a decade behind! Luckily, you’re only 8 years past your prime. Keep your head up.

  4. Ha! I saw that coming a mile away. Although, that’s really only because my grandma had to show me this article she found on a teenage girl, much like the one you saw who had self-published a Twilight knock-off. When I see stories like that, it’s easy it get that sinking feeling in my stomach that just screams, “You’re such a failure!” But then I take a deep breath, reason that they had to pay to have those copies made, the book probably isn’t any good anyway, and they’ll probably be selling them out of the trunk of their car for the rest of their lives. Then I feel better.

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