My Greatest Strength–Determination to Never Give Up #MFRWauthor

Have you ever thought about your greatest strength? What makes you…well…you? This is also a very hard question to answer. After a lot of introspection, I think my greatest strength is my determination to not fail.

If any of you have followed me for any time at all, you know I’m dyslexic. My learning disability was discovered when I was in third grade after a reading teacher noticed I tried to sound out words backwards and my eyes wandered all over the page. I spent the rest of my elementary grades in special education classes to learn to read.

In junior high, I was delegated into the lower tract and spent two miserable years with bullies who called me names and picked on me. For the most part, all of my friends were in the highest tract. Now when I look back, I think this was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was my need to prove these people I was nothing like them and my new found love for history (a subject I’d never had before seventh grade) that made me determined to succeed.

During the second half of seventh grade, a new spirit awakened in me. I studied in a way I never had and my hard work–and believe me it was hard–paid off. By the end of eighth grade, I had As in every subject with several of them being 100%. I was determined to prove to, not only my classmates that I would make it, but to myself that I’d get to where I want to be. I elected the college prep curriculum for high school and by the time I graduated, I was in the top quarter of my class.

I went to college and made the Dean’s List all but two or three of the nine semesters of my years at Penn State. But then life happened and with it a major setback. I couldn’t find a full time teaching job and my dreams were crushed. Not for long though, I changed gears and went back to school where I ended up graduating at the top of my class, simply because I wouldn’t accept anything less.

This spirit of never giving up and of unadulterated determination has severed me well during my writing career. I’ve nearly given up more than once, but this need to persevere despite the odds or how difficult it is has forced me to continue. My calling on this inner strength has helped me swim out of the deepest pools of despair and disappointment. I won’t deny it gets harder and harder, but I refuse to ever say “what if I hadn’t given up” because I will give it my all. I will tackle every obstacle with the determination that helped a girl who couldn’t read in the fourth grade, a teenager who hated to read until she discovered Civil War romance in ninth grade, to become a writer of published books. And hopefully this same stubbornness will help me become a best-selling author.
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  1. Meka James says:

    Overcoming learning challenges is hard. My middle son struggles and we see how hard it is for him despite how hard he tries. He is a hard worker though and that does help since he wants to do his best he never gives up on things. Your path wasn’t easy, but you made it through and that is very encouraging.

  2. Ed Hoornaert says:

    Thanks for sharing such a personal journey, Sara. If you weren’t as determined, you would never have gotten as far as you have. I suppose there may be a couple of folks for whom fiction careers come easily, but they’re a minuscule minority. The rest of us have to bull our way forward and never give up.

  3. Kudos to you!!! I also had a miserable time in junior high, but now I look back and realize it made me develop my thick skin and stick to my goals, no matter what criticism comes my way. It also made me compassionate for those at the bottom of the social pecking order; I HOPE I made a difference in one child’s life when I worked at the country club (defended her in front of ‘popular’ kids, and they paid attention, lol!), plus encouraged my own kids and their friends.

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