You can’t be afraid to slay the dragon.

This is what Mark Messier said about getting the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup. When I read this quote, I think of St. George and the dragon and how maybe it would be better for St. George not to slay the dragon – because if he did, he’d be out of a job.

I have this quote on my desk because it says something to me that all of us – as artists of any kind, as human beings – need to remember. We can’t be afraid of success. You know what I mean, you’ve been there.

I certainly have.

It’s scary, especially after working at something for years and years (like I have with writing), to get to a place where it’s possible to succeed. But because you get used to plodding along, using excuses like “That editor was having a bad day” or “It’s just not right for them” or “Maybe next time,” maybe you don’t take advantage of the opportunity to win. Maybe an agent or an editor says “Send me your manuscript” and you don’t do it. Maybe you see a contest that is exactly right for the idea you’re working on, but you don’t enter. Maybe a friend or an acquaintance says, “I’d like to read your manuscript and if I like it, I’ll send it to my agent (or editor)” and you don’t do it.

You don’t consciously say to yourself, I’m not doing this because I’m scared of success, but that’s often what it’s about.

I said to myself, I’m writing, that’s what this is all about. I don’t care if I never get published, I just love the writing. That was my way of avoiding success.

So every morning when I sit down at my computer, I look at Mark’s quote and I say to myself, get that manuscript out there. Finish that book. Try to write something you’ve always wanted to. Send the book to contests. Send it out for reviews. Just do it.

Because Mark said it to the Rangers when he got there from Edmonton and realized they were good enough to win the Cup, they just didn’t have the will. They hadn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1940 and they were used to losing. Mark told them they had to stop being scared and believe in themselves, in their abilities, in their talent, in their teammates. And then he went out and proved it to them.

And if the Rangers can do it after 54 years, so can you.

So don’t be afraid to slay your dragon, whatever it is. You can do it. Really.


12 responses to “Dragonslaying

  1. Great words of encouragement for a Monday, thanks Kate.

  2. Great reminder, although I must say, it’s not me any more. Mighta’ been at one time, but now… If anyone out there has serious publishing connections and wants to read my manuscript—a political thriller—just say the word and I’ll send it out. 🙂

  3. Thanks Raymond – with my “blog” as the next step – I thank you for your encouragement!

  4. This blog brings to mind the Nun who prayed to God to let her win the lottery so she could save the little school where she taught. She prayed each day but nothing happened, no winner. This went on for weeks. Finally, in frustration, with foreclosures right around the corner, the nun railed to God, “Why don’t you help me. I’ve devoted my life to your service, and now in my hour of need, you ignore me! All I ever asked is one thing, to win the lottery and you ignore me… Why?”
    Thunder rolled, Lightning flashed, the heavens opened and God spoke, “You’ve got to work with me, Sister! Buy a ticket!”

    You can’t win unless you buy a ticket! Take a chance! Keep on buying tickets until you win.

    Good advice for all.

    • HAHA! Great story, Wally!

      It’s true, Kate. Sometimes we hold ourselves back simply out of fear of change. But life is change, and you can’t chase your dreams if you’re stuck on a narrow, unyeilding path.

    • Wally, that’s a great story – and it’s true. You can’t win if you don’t roll the dice (or buy a lottery ticket). I keep this reminder because there are times when it feels impossible to win. But, like the Rangers, I just have to step up and believe.


  5. Lisa – you’re absolutely right. And sometimes you just have to ask your friends to drag you out of the muck – or, like Mark with the Rangers, have someone who believes FOR you when you can’t believe in yourself. Great friends do that –


  6. *laughs* I still remember watching those games and my complete hysterics when the Rangers won. It was simply amazing.

    I’ve been talking to a lot of friends and on my blog lately about self-sabotage in regards to fitness, but it’s true we tend to do it often with all areas of ours lives. One of my favorite quotes speaks to that – “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

    My answer is exactly what I’m doing right now.

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